Reading Brenda's White Dress, I come across
Chekhov's desire for a special ring with
the inscription "Nothing Passes Away"

and think of Gyges passing through chasm
of earth with his ring of invisibility
resonating between black holes and white,

dreaming of Kekule's benzene ring—
the fire-serpent biting its own tail,
Uroborus of beginnings and endings.

A black hawk carves Zen circles above
the Bayshore Meadows as I watch a lake
garden with ripples of wind-raked rings

and that scene in Way Down East returns,
how Lillian Gish's wedding ring slipped off
her finger rolling to her true love's feet

how that scene almost replayed itself
when she invited me to her wedding
at a time when I cared only for rings

of 108 Buddha prayer beads—
the product of 9 planetary rings
and 12 constellations of the Zodiac,

how I was drawn to the rings of Saturn—
anagram for Sun-art, and Shiva's dance
in the cosmic fire-ring of space-time.

Once a king who had everything, wanted
a ring to remind himself of joy when
he's sad, and of sadness when he's joyous.

The palace sages pondered for a week,
the presented him a gold ring inscribed
"And This Too Shall Pass."

— Peter Y. Chou
    Squaw Valley, 7-10-1990
    Poetry Workshop with Brenda Hillman