Yuan Changming – Four Poems

poetYuan Changming, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of 5 chapbooks (including Kinship [2015] and The Origin of Letters [2015]), began to learn English at 19 and published monographs on translation before moving out of China. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver and has poetry appearing in 1059 literary publications across 36 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine and Threepenny Review.


Pendulum

Hung never too high
From the frictionless pivot of nature
Fate is a weight
That keeps swinging
From yin to yang
Or the other way half around

Between day and night
Between ups and downs


Cityscaping

Golden teeth glistening
In the mouth of the city
Silver clouds colliding
At the tongue tip of day

Bite off all darkness
They whisper
And chew the season well.


The 25th Letter

with your yellowish skin
you enjoy meditating within the shape of
a wishbone, inside the broken wing
of an oriental bird strayed, or
in a larger sense, you look like
the surfacing tail of a pacific whale
who yells low, but whose voice reaches afar
far beyond a whole continent, to a remote village
near the yellow river, where you used to sunbathe
rice stems, reed leaves, cotton skeletons
with a fork made of a single horn-shaped twig
when you were a barefooted country boy
on the other side of this new world

is this why you are so obsessed
with the horn-like letter?


Seasonal Secrets

Summer:

in her beehive-like room
so small that a yawning stretch
would readily awaken
the whole apartment building
she draws a picture on the wall
of a tremendous tree
that keeps growing
until it shoots up
from the cemented roof

Autumn:

not unlike a giddy goat
wandering among the ruins
of a long lost civilization
you keep searching
in the central park
a way out of the tall weeds
as nature makes new york
into a mummy blue

Winter:

after the storm
all dust hung up
in the crowded air
with his human face
frozen into a dot of dust
and a rising speckle of dust
melted into his face
to avoid this cold climate
of his antarctic dream
he relocated his naked soul
at the dawn of summer

Spring:

like a raindrop
on a small lotus leaf
unable to find the spot
to settle itself down
in an early autumn shower
my little canoe drifts around
near the horizon
beyond the bare bay

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