The Water Radical
Poetry by Gordon Osing
The author spent three years in China and Asia. This volume of poetry is inspired by his time there and the journals that he wrote during his travels.
My Chinese Orange
To stay the arid hysterias of a dusty land three in the porcelain bowl on white lace on the lacquered table will do. Dry green as a boa in wet leaves, rich, dull, rough, imperfect rounds, most sadly green, the laughing farmer put them in his scale, ran out the weighted string along his measured stick half way to the end, until both sides stay put, and that was that, a sale and something said in vicious piety to the others. One buck (so to speak) exactly, he must have said.
And such a succulent sweet sun the knife displayed; the biting waters ran down, filling the tongue. I have two still, that fill my room the way eyes do, and a lighted lamp, and a pleasured will. I'll quarter the green peels, the protective skins, and splay the flesh and feast each time the first time again, let it splash all the way from citrus mind to bellystem, one gamboge liquid segment of a world at a time. (Why be the burro, frozen, tethered three feet from the spring.)
Think of the one with whom you could not exist on words only, your heart breaking into clarity for the love of that one. My oranges have no part of such promise, or hope, or dry grief, are bought off the scale by anyone's hour of servitude to all three.
If you want to step into an Asia where the ancient and contemporary startle each other, read The Water Radical. Gordon Osing observes, questions, celebrates, and gives voice to pathsweepers, dead poets, even the silence in a ruined temple. He is a guide you can trust.
. óNancy Willard
The Water Radical will come to rank with the best of the travel journals, verse or prose. Itís captivating, and its resolutions are marvelous.