Chengdu Pastoral

By Rachel E. Hicks

Chengdu, Sichuan

I’m in love with early morning,               but not here:
the thin, breakable blue skim of sky              I glimpse
between the spears ofcement palisade              over my head
transports me to that other extreme:              that same brittle blue breaking
over the Cotswolds,               solitary bundles of sheep
herding wisps of fog haltingly                 up the limestone slopes
toward the slow simmer                  of dawn, all soundless
and hushed.  I see it, hear it:    a distant cowbell,
(not the harsh warble of the baozi vendor     heating propane
on his bicycle’s trailer on the sidewalk),            a cable-knitted figure
emerging with unhurried purpose from                     the kitchen door
of the farmhouse, pauses,       lifts his head and his mug, breathes.
The steaming buns plop                     into my plastic bag

and the vendor grins at me.  Zao!      Morning!  Yes, I am early;
it is early morning.   And there is                   blue in the sky
today.  Even here.

2 replies on “Chengdu Pastoral”

I loved your sweet poem about Chengdu. Your exquisite details brought back my memories of it–I was there a year ago. Thank you for bringing it to life!

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