The Ring
for E. S. and W. S.

“my precious,”
—Gollum, in The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien


I only knew but one tall dude who had a ring
with magic powers. He had one large, silver ring.
Although still visible when he put on his ring,
it gave him strength. I know, because he used the ring
on me. I was at peace, not thinking of a ring,
when he burst in all tough and macho with his ring.
He pushed me down and shoved me flat with his round ring,
and slammed me hard again, again! with that damn ring.
I fought. It hurt. Oh, then my ears began to ring.
But he continued on—two fighters in a ring.
It left a scar. I would not soon forget that ring,
oh, even now some decades past, remembering.


An Early Audience: After Wang Wei

The red-capped Cock-Man now announces dawn’s consort.
The Keeper of the Robes brings forth furs of jade-cloud.
Nine doors of heav’n reveal the palace and its court.
The coats of many countries bow to the Pearl Crown.
Bright gold is dropped into the giant’s carven palms.
Incense wreathes round the Master’s trailing, dragon robe.
The crowd withdraws. His rainbow-coloured edict falls
in slinking, plinking beads o’er Phoenix Lake’s abode.


Bruce Dale Wise is a poet living on the West Coast of the United States.

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