by katha pollitt
thanks for subtalk for showing this
At the foot of a rock, bamboo and orchids
small furled flowers that had themselves aloof
from the mist that is everywhere.
you have left newspapers, indolent
quarrels over sunday morning coffee
to come to the museum with your lover
and admire these swirls
swept onto the paper by an old monk
in less than ten minutes six hundred years ago
depicting the orchid,
which signifies the virtues of the noble man:
retinence, calm, clarity of mind.