By the lonely wall of sunset and the blue voids

Of nothing but nothingness ahead

(Flying chain of flowers, floating peach petals),

Many break the agreements they’ve made.

Our troubles do not start with birth.

Not one famous battle sent its fighters back from the dead.


No statesman, just an idler, the air grows cold

As ashes of gold in a chestnut flame.

Our leaders are as harsh as those before them.

If one carries a burden on his back

And nonetheless rides in a carriage,

He thereby encourages robbers to draw near.


My pants become soaked with truth

Among the flowers that have forgotten

Everything they wanted to say.

Duration is not ours to know.

Gong of light shivers through the empty wood.

The oriole’s song hasn’t changed, only my heart.



15 October 2011




Spoken word version from Venerable Madtown Hall, copyright © 2013 by Jim Cohn.

Video clip from The Making of Venerable Madtown Hall, copyright © 2013 by Jim Cohn.