Robbi Nester


                                        Jeanne Bessette

                                      Jeanne Bessette

Orthography

 

Morning on the train.

In the seat across from me 

a woman reads a book.

Waterfalls of Chinese script 

descend the page; 

a willow stutters into bloom.

The text might tell of anything—

how to build a house, prepare a feast.

It might be a novel, a history.

Detached from meaning,

the words appear more artful 

for their position on the page,

jade filigree in vertical columns, 

each word paralleling the others,

in narrow rows like swimmers, 

men climbing hand over hand 

down to the bottom of each page. 

In contrast, our yeoman English letters, 

marching in their muddy boots, 

could be carved from wood, 

stout tools, not ornaments. 

Our script adopts the farmer’s 

practical pattern, plowing 

each row straight, until 

an orchard of print

stands ready for harvest.


 

Robbi Nester is the author of three books of poems: a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and two collections--A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014) and Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017).  She has also edited two anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an ekphrastic e-anthology, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees--celebrating the photography of Beth Moon (accessible at http://poemeleon.org/over-the-moon-birds-beasts-and).