Independence Monument, Phnom Penh

A Toast for Men Yun-Ch’ing
By Tu Fu (712–770)
Translated By Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell

Illimitable happiness,
But grief for our white heads.
We love the long watches of the night, the red candle.
It would be difficult to have too much of meeting,
Let us not be in hurry to talk of separation.
But because the Heaven River will sink,
We had better empty the wine-cups.
To-morrow, at bright dawn, the world’s business will entangle us.
We brush away our tears,
We go—East and West.

Source: Poetry Foundation


Off the Road, Bokor Mountain

“I want to travel far & then return.
The wind blows as if I were eighty-five,
maybe eighty-seven.”

Keumgang-Gul/Diamnond Cave, Ko Un


October Lite

October Lite
(for Maros)

Many years later I still get a glimpse
of that thing you threw
off Sotheros Road, riding behind a motodop,
a post-mortem of the morning after…
That which was wrapped tight in paper,
balled as your signature guts,
chucked on a gutter or grassland
like some detritus of a conquest.
The road has long removed
any of this kind of memento;
The moloch of commerce has gone
big time around here
with more edifices and orifices
in a sprawl of greed and lust.
Whatever, you had your share then.
Your absence now in Phnom Penh
doesn’t really hold for any length
of time. All that was spent, those days
and nights, desire and hex, will never be undone.


A Most Welcome Guest

A visitor came to the office in the afternoon and created quite a fuss among the staff. Just rescued from an unscrupulous trader/poacher, this baby sun bear will be sent back to the wild after receiving proper care from handlers of the wildlife rescue center.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia