Thursday 5 February 2015

5 Poems by Yuan Changming

At the Threshold

From the darkest moment
Of last winter to the heaviest fog
Of this summer, I fumbled all my way
To this spot, where I stood, hesitating
As I tried to pull the structure
(Actually meant to be pushed?)
And push it while might mean
To be pulled. Confused and
Confounded, I slid it, folded it
Turned it, tampered with it
Through trial and error, but still
Failed to move the blockade

Sesame, open! –
Am I facing a fake door
Or just bad design?

Seasonal Change

The whole spring
Is finally
To green, budding right 
From inside a single heart
After 10-million-minute white wait of winter


Hidden deeply somewhere
In your inner space
Is a black hole
That keeps sucking in
All the light
From both within
And without your
Whole selfhood, until
You’re infused
With darkness, with all the 
Negative influences flowing
Violently through your body
Trembling, vibrating with hell

As most recent research reveals, there is actually
No black hole in the outer space

One Tree That Makes a Whole Forest

Instead of reaching deep
Into the ground, you hung all your roots
On your twigs in the wild open, trying
To absorb both air and light directly
As well as darkness and cold
Ready to connect to soil and water
Growing from a single tree into a huge forest

That’s the secret of banyan
The secret about growth

Farewell Talk:  For Liu Yu and Yuan Hongqi

Well… Old Liu, I have said all
That I have …to say, just as I’ve done
All that I can …do

Sure, Old Man, so you can die
A happy death now, and I will
Follow to accompany you shortly

What a comfort! We have two …filial sons
To …outlive us, and three great grandsons
To carry our …bloodline on

Indeed, they bring true honor to the family
Name: one is a pioneering engineer
In Silicon Valley, another is doing his PhD
In New York, and the youngest has published
A poetry book in Vancouver though still a teenager

But both of us …grew up in poor Chinese villages
You …barely finished your elementary school
While I had only two …years of education

Really, this contrast alone makes us all happy
And proud enough, just as our elder son called
To stress this from Canada yesterday evening

Well, fare…well, I am going first; once… I find the
Way to the Pureland, I will …return to take you…

But don’t be in such a hurry yet, Old Man
For I wish to take care of our two ageing sons
For a few more years. Hey, nihao Nurse


Yuan Changming, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of 4 chapbooks (including Mindscaping [2014]), grew up in a remote village, began to learn the English alphabet at 19, and published several monographs on English-Chinese translation before leaving China. With a PhD in English from the University of Saskatchewan, Yuan currently tutors and co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. His poetry appears in Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry (2009, 2012, 2014), BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review, Threepenny Review and 989 others across 31 countries.

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