Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TIME AND THE PERFUME RIVER, by KAREN SWENSON



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TIME AND THE PERFUME RIVER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Small buddhas smile above their blooms
Last Line: Along the curves of the perfume.
Subject(s): Death; Vietnam; Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975; War; Dead, The


Small Buddhas smile above their blooms
on gilded family altars, glide
along the curves of the Perfume,

that river named before the dooms
of war ripped Hue's old gilded hide
and Buddhas' smiles above their blooms.

The river waves are slapping tunes.
Greens sputtering in a wok provide,
along the curves of the Perfume,

the smoke of incense. Children's spumes
of laughter rock small boats whose guide
is Buddha's smile above his blooms.

Those years death rode the river's flume,
his rotting incense justified
along the curves of the Perfume

by leaders' greed for power's boom.
War's drowned now in the river's tide
where Buddhas smile above their blooms
along the curves of the Perfume.





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