Tuesday 5 May 2020

5 Poems by Yuan Changming

I am a cage, in search of a bird. -- Kafka

Wherever my mind flies, it’s still
Confined tightly
To this world, this very cage of
      Sensory & imaginative cells

In other words, I is the cage, while the whole
Universe am a bird

All Voiced Equal

Given the Top Four Most Common English Verbs

To be [or not to be
Whatever or whoever you are]
To have [or not to have]
Whoever or whatever you may wish]
To do [or not to do]
Anything or nothing you would prefer, &]
To say [or not to say]
Nothing or anything you may intend to]
We are all rendered equal as we cross
Every borderline, filling in every gap
In action as in thought
                                     [Or otherwise]

Crows Are Being Born Again

                           It is an undeniable fact now:
They have arisen from the bare ground

Like the phoenix flapping its wings out of its
Legendary ashes, where are they going?
Nowhere but high up into a virtual space, a world
That, like history book, is full of black headlines

Big names, & bold details. All transmitted
Into numb numbers. Even the most unidentifiable
Has become a comet shooting above its dark caws.
Taken for an angel winged with the rainbows
Of tomorrow, while all cranes and swans are lost
                  In their dances to the tune of death

East Etymology: Introduction to Chinese Characters 

臭:stinking results from just one bit of too much self-conceit

黨:party in politics means to uphold the principle of darkness

认:knowing someone involves paying attention to whatever s/he says

值:worth is determined by how straight a person stands

债:debt must be paid because it’s a human responsibility

武:military forces are used only to stop war and maintain peace

吻:kiss is an act of not only the mouth but also the heart


When I was a dream child, I dreamed of all that was dreamable, including a remarkable ancestor in particular, whom I could brag about to my playmates. However, as I grew older, I learned that my grandfather had left us nothing but an unknown family name, while my father was no more outstanding than any other in the street. So, I began to dream about attaining enough fame, wealth and/or power to become someone in my own right.

Alas, despite a thousand weeks of psychological and physiological hardships in the past, I have come only to prove myself as ordinary as my father and grandfather, whom I have been striving so hard to emulate and, to my greater dismay, that my sons are even lesser.

Now I still dream from time to time. In the most memorable one, I come to good terms with my mediocrity. After all, being no body is a standard form of human being, perhaps no less than a form of nirvana.


Yuan Changming started to learn the English alphabet at age 19 and published several monographs on translation before leaving his native country. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Writing credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Jodi Stutz Poetry Award, Semifinal Judgeship for 2020 Canadian Poetry Recitation Contest (Poetry in Voice), eight chapbooks (most recently East Idioms [cyberwit, 2020]), Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-2017), BestNewPoemsOnline and publications in 1,676 other literary outlets across 45 countries.

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