Yellow-Veined Baby Grand Magnolia Leaf falls
by me at Jane Lane, Rengstorff Ave, Mountain View

Yellow-Veined Leaf Sings

"Hello"— the yellow-veined leaf falls
on the bench where I wait for
Bus #40 each day at the corner of
Jane Lane, Rengstorff Ave, Mountain View.

I sandwich this surprise treasure
as keepsake in a book and learn
it's from a Baby Grand Magnolia near
the bench where leaves are dark green.

This ovate leaf with acute tip
is a mighty river branching out
into rivulets, brooks, and streams—
now it asks me to guess its name.

I hear no Lorelei singing on the Rhine,
nor loud chanting along the Ganges,
nor cormorant fishing in the Li River,
nor waltz tunes swaying in the Danube.

But music is stirring in this leaf
sounding like Smetana's Moldau
the Vltava starting as two small streams
one warm, one cold, in the Bohemian Forest

merging as one giant rapid running
through Prague's eighteen bridges,
its "wild water" passing woods and
meadows ending up north in the Elbe.

James Joyce cites thousands of rivers
in Finnegans Wake, and this leaf sings its
first line— "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's
from swerve of shore to bend of bay"

        Peter Y. Chou
        Mountain View, 10-3-2017