a cup of water, suzhou, october 1945 *

a glass of water ©papa osmubal

a glass of water ©papa osmubal

a cup of water, suzhou, october 1945 *
peter bakowski

The cup of water
accepts
rain
the wind
a leaf leaving its mother.

It has heard
husbands and generals give orders,
grandparents talk of gods and ancestors,
children conversing with a friend or sorcerer
whom no adult can see.

Set
on bench or table
it hears
the swish of a broom,
a cat scratching at a closed door,
the clock complaining
that it’s only a clock,
a button torn from a lover’s robe
roll across a bedroom floor.

The cup of water is
raised to the lips of
a monk,
a fisherman,
a fortune teller,
an orphan.

The cup of water waits
to be refilled,
to be of use
or forgotten.

It waits for footsteps,
the nearness of a hand.


*This poem was commissioned by the Victorian Government as part of a gift to Jiangsu Province, China, honouring their sister-state friendship.

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