Overlooking dark Taihu Lake:
one long silent bridge of lights.
Only waves and wind are awake.
No animals,
no people,
no birds.
I'll fish for words
(hidden out far in foreign water).
I think I'll sail out there without
my tourist boat license.


A small red flag waving
seems an early morning worker
on the fishing boat
newly docked out of the dark.
From our high window
six pillars of an old pagoda
seem to sway like
slow postures of early risers.
New place, new time...
how to distinquish what really happens
from how it appears?


It has long been forgotten when,
(and taken for granted)
that one morning, a golden surplus
was delivered to Suzhou.
Rolling (in nuggets) wildly down lanes,
it sunk into gardens,
and was eventually absorbed as a heightened general glow.

That's why now each spring,
colorfully clothed villagers set up tables
close together, on every turn, in front of their houses,
piled high with identical overflowing baskets.
confident in the unlimited

Now the conversations on the touring boats get louder.
They've moved the tables into the inside decks during the night.
Leisurely peeling, we float together off the Suzhou coast...
luscious, sweet,
exposing our dark, gem–like seeds.


What is stirring deep in Taihu Lake, that the slightest movement
evokes such a response?

Flowing swiftly, the surface
moves like a river;
the breeze of fond farewells
of hands newly held,
adds even more waves
to the inevitable streaming
from here to there.


Let's write a poem

inches above tracks
(to save the stop and go)
...any difference
at 300 miles per hour?

We'll save the time we saved
(tenderly unravelling time's steaming hot neatly wrapped dumpling)
for later!


"5 Shanghai Dumplings" were written during the Fifth Shanghai Conference on Combinatorics, Shanghai& Taihu Lake, China, 5/2005

copyright 2005, Kathleen Mary Wilson

Go back to China index
Go to Shanghaiku, 2002