Tuesday 5 May 2015

5 Poems by Yuan Changming


supposing Darwin was right
it did take as long as one million years
before apes became what we are, gradually
and passively, with the help of our environment
however, with our own intelligence
and technology, we are going
to evolve into iHooyeaus suddenly and
actively, in a matter of just one generation
or two, a new species that will consume
lunar energy instead of sun-based foods
each living in a unique virtual
reality, where multiplication is achieved
sexlessly via logic rather than through
love, where each individual lifetime is
expended within a tiny chip

so, are you happy to be the last humans
or the earliest iHooyeaus?

Dytiscus Larvae: Natural Drama 

One most ferocious robber in the pond
World, observes a zoologist, is a slim,
Streamlined insect called the Dytiscus larvae:
Lying in ambush on a water grass
He suddenly shoots at lightning speed
To his prey (or anything moving or smelling
Of ‘animal’ in any way, a fat tadpole, for
Instance), darts underneath it, then quickly
Jerks up his head, grabs it in his jaws
Injects his poisonous glandular secretion into it
Dissolves its entire inside into a liquid soup
And sucks as it swells up first, and then gradually
Shrinks to a limp bundle of skin until it finally falls
From his fatal kiss. Very few animals

According to the observer
Even when starved to death would attack
Let alone eat an equal-sized animal
Of their own species

But the Dytiscus does, just as man does  
Within or without a pond


If every human had a pair of wings
(Made of strong mussels and broad feathers
Rather than wax like Icarus’)
Who wouldn’t jump high or become eager to fly
Either towards the setting sun
Or against the rising wind?

Who wouldn’t migrate afar with sunshine
And glide most straight to a warmer spot
In the open space? Indeed

Who would continue to confine himself
Within the thick walls of a small rented room?

Who would willingly take a detour
Bump into a stranger, or stumble down
Along the way? More important

Who would remain fixed here
At the same corner all her life
Like a rotten stump, hopeless
Of a new green growth?

There’s No Life without an ‘If’ in It: 36 One-Word Idioms

No belief without a lie
No business without sin
No character without an act
No coffee without a fee
No courage without rage
No culture without a cult
No entrance without a trance
No epicenter without an epic
No Europe without a rope
No friendship without an end
No fundamentalism without mental fun
No heritage without a tag
No husband without an usb
No ghost without a host
No infancy without fancy
No inspiration without a ration
No manifestation without man
No millionaire without a lion
No nirvana without a van
No passage without a sage
No passion without an ass
No pharmacy without harm
No plant without a plan
No prevention without an event
No product without a duct
No recovery without something over
No sight without a sigh
No slaughter without laughter
No smile without a mile
No spring without a ring
No startle with art
No substance without a stance
No think without ink
No truth without a rut
No whole without a hole
No wife without an 'if'

On Mother's Day: for Liu Yu

Rather than composing poetry
To commemorate you after you are gone
I am now writing, dear Mom
To pay my highest tribute to you
As one of the hardest-fated on earth

Yes, among the many death experiences you’ve had
The most significant one for me (and my sons)
Was your sickness you suffered at two, which was so
Severe that your poor and ignorant foster mother
Could do nothing but put you on a flat basket
And return your living corpse to your bio-creator

But for your step father, who used his shamanic skills
To contain the evil spirit and drive it to an unknown
Corner, you would have died like a doomed sapling
(That’s why your name is changed to ‘Refound’)

So, stay well, Mom, and remain hardy for us!


Yuan Changming, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of 4 chapbooks including Mindscaping  [2014]), grew up in rural China, started to learn English at 19 and published several monographs on translation before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English from the U of Saskatchewan, Yuan currently co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver, Changming's poetry appears in 1009 literary journals/anthologies across 32 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry (2009,12,14), BestNewPoemsOnline and Threepenny Review.


  1. your poems listing out idioms is brilliant!

  2. your poem listing out idioms is brilliant!