Four Poems | by Yuan Changming

This Thought

This is the thought that is
Sailing along the horizon

This is the thought ready to fall
Finally from the leaf-tip at dawn

This is the thought looming afar
Beyond the stark mountains

This is the thought newly taken
Out of the water by the swordsmith

This is the thought with a bloated shape
Wrapping the whole world up in the mind

This is the thought running amuck
Naked, never able to find a shelter

This is the thought driving the wheels
Of history, back and forth, without stop

In the Year of the Rooster

This is not really Chinese zodiac
But born in a year of the rooster last century
I was fated to crow aloud, as if to summon
The first morning glows above the

Rice-fields, pecking here and there
For a seed or a pebble bit around
My grandma’s straw-roofed
Cottage, ready to put up a chicken fight

With my fleshy crown standing up straight
But never able to fly higher than a broken
Fence, since my body was winged
With more fat than feathers

Only after I died did I manage to travel afar
To an exotic land, where my naked being
Was minced and served as a minor course
In a recyclable plate as in this last stanza

Daoist Harmony between Man and Nature

One Way // One Innerself

Two opposites // body vs soul

Four seasons // four limbs

Five elements // five senses

Seven days // seven emotions (sins?)

Twelve months // twelve energy channels

Twenty four hours (or solar) // twenty four spine vertebrae

Thirty hundred sixty five days // so many meridian points

All so exactly correlated, corresponding, cooperative
To be balanced as if between yin and yang…


Few are really aware of
Such universes
Existing beyond our own

Even fewer of so many other versions
Of selfhood living
In each of them, let alone
This simple secret:

At the depth of consciousness
Lives a quantum
Or soul as we prefer to call it
A particle, demon and/or angel dancing

The same dance afar, far apart
In an entanglement



Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan and hosts Happy Yangsheng in Vancouver; credits include ten Pushcart and three Best of the Net nominations,  Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1,399 others across 41 countries.


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