Thursday, 13 December 2012

[archived]: Poems by Changming Yuan - © 2005

Musings over the Moon

1.what a splendid silver plate
holding so many gold dreams

2. you cover your face with cloudy gossamers
not really because you are too shy or timid

3. this world can never go without light
so you come even before the sun exits

4. when darkness rules over the earth
only you remain close to human life

5. you always keep a cold and hard distance
tho your tender fingers caress every soul

6. you give no warmth in winter
but you offer light at midnight

7. unlike flirting stars whose affection is never stable
you are always loyal to those truly in love with you

8. you know all the secrets of the moonless night
yet you never use them to blackmail the sunlight

9. you quietly withdraw from the scene in the morning
only to let the sun receive tribute from all worshippers

Reflections on the Road

1. the road is narrow because few have traveled along
the road that has few travelers is not always narrow

2. broad ways lead only to the foot of a tall mountain
it is thin trails that lead travelers to various peaks

3. there had been no roads in this world to begin with
they came into being after people began to travel

4. there are thousands of roads available to all
but you can choose only one to travel along

5. like bars falling down from the heavens
roads have chained the world into history

6. roads have neither starting or ending points
except stops and stations along either sides

7. there are no roads just as straight on earth
as those followed only by the human heart

8. no footprints can be found on broad highways
only on paths are they marked like milestones

9. while the straightest road can disappear
your steps will lead to your destinations

First From Behind the Bamboo Curtain

Look at this foreign moon above thee
Fuller or rounder it does seem to be
Than what thou used to have and see
Back in thy home and far beyond the sea

But can thou note even in her true glee
This moon is less bright and less free
Not that she is strongly attached to her he
But that she finds no love in thee and me
A Sonnet of Solitude

All along my rough, rough path
I am tired of running, running alone
Without either a break or a hearth
To nowhere but just my gravestone
Which only I know here and now
Is still lying afloat on the vast see
Of nothingness of oblivion of how
My travel has long been and will be
But ready to be devoured by a wave
When finally I drag myself to the beach
And have my first and last sight of a grave
Being the only meaningful I am to reach
Oh already tired I am very much so
How much farther could I farther go?

The Lonely Climber: A Seed Poem

you are tired, terribly tired
    tired of climbing alone
upon an unknown mt quazilla
your sons refused to join you
    feeling uncomfortable in your presence
your wife laughed at your childish idea
    preferring not to share your eccentricity
your fellow travelers are relaxing in cozy cabins
    enjoying a moment of borrowed privacy
indifferent to your intent or interest
you threw your clothes and sweat
    onto the dusk dyed trailside
ready to present your naked soul to nature
happening  to see a multicolored stone  
    you wonder if it was dropped by the philosopher
    or left over by nu wa while mending the sky
encountering a curious and cautious deer
    you sing above the top of your voice
    your favourate songs of the past with tears
as if to blast your whole being against clouds
but the echo scares her away
reminding you of your lonely tiredness
hoping to get my own vision of the valley
i keep climbing, climbing and climbing
each time i manage to come upon a little slope
i found another edge higher ahead
    i stopped, hesitated and looked back
more times than i can remember
i know there is nothing for me on the peak
    except a few nameless wild flowers
or some new branches of an ancient tree
but i keep climbing, climbing and climbing
    pushed by the inertion of life
it is not a problem of climbing or not climbing
    nor a choice between two different roads
he will eventually lose sight of human footprint
but there will be a trail once he is there
all he wants to do is to forget the human fact
he cannot really escape but leave it behind
down at the foot of the mountain
for now

(aug.6, 2004)

In Stanley Park

tender, timid tulips
drinking the steamy sea smell so loud
even the haughty and moody hemlock firs
becoming muted, lost in their red
brownish memories of the native Rockies

(aug. 10, 2004)

I Love You, Dear Death

ever since pangu
    separating the sky from the earth
all my poor fellow humans
have been hating
hiding from, or
fighting face to face with you
although in vain

but i love you, dear death
    not because you are the more fair, and sincere
than any lover willing to declare
    nor because you are the ultimate home
to any wandering soul seeking a dome
    nor because you could even give one's name
a guaranteed immortal fame

i do not know how to count
    the countless ways i love you
yet i have flirted with your shadow
    hundreds of times in private
when i found it unbearable
   every cutting pain in my body
when i was simply sick of the fact
   life is full of the foul, or
when i lost the meaning and direction
   of my dull and humble life
i love you, dear death
    because only you can liberate my soul
from the stuffy prisonhouse and give me
    the fresh air in the outside world

(aug.10, 2004)

Dead Is Hero

it took more than eighteen centuries
    and a great philosopher to declare
god was dead
now even a sophomore in the street
     can casually claim
hero is dead as well
does this mean man has reduced
     to an antihero, a commoner
who will live of, by, and for his sole self?

(aug.13, 2004)

At the Station

we are all waiting
    although not for the same bus
as shadows getting darker and longer
    our faces becoming fuller of fear
yet more familiar to one another
still, there is no bus coming

the route may have been changed
    probably an accident has occurred
        i will miss my job interview
            damn it, dogshit, ...
still, there is no bus coming

someone finally left in a taxi
a couple is walking away
several more are agitating
but i continue to stand still, waiting
still, there is no bus coming

no one likes wasting time on waiting
but i enjoy keeping hope still alive
even when there will be no more bus coming

(aug.15, 2004)

The Roses 

a splendid present
from someone special
this pot of flowers
looking so drippingly fresh
full of dreamy tenderness
ever attractive to wild bees
flying against my window glass

watering with my wishes and worship
i fell in love with her vey soul
adding colors, grace and pride
to my dull and drab dwelling
even my wife becoming jealous
of my care and devotion

until my sharp-eyed little son told me
the flowers are a famous fake
so i threw it into a box marked free
during my neighbor's garage sale

(aug.25, 2004)


each time i travel
i bring this little book
like a magic messenger
sending me to the blue dreamland
after a long tiring day
between the sleepy pages
lying a maple leaf
a pretty piece of peace
a native nugget of nature
reminding of my chosen garden
home to lively plants
   of all colors and textures

(aug.26, 2004)

Snail and grass

Without this big mountain
On my humble back
I could also travel
With grace and glory
like a crane or giraffe
on a greener lawn

beside the side walk
a little nameless grass
manages to stand up
each time after it is
trodden down under
a dirty and heavy shoe

Deep in the Mountain

hand in hand with a fluffy fog
walking alone upon a wordless mountain
    is a rare luxurious thing to do in life
i cannot help hopping, jumping, singing
    shouting and wallowing in the grass
with the blue sky surging high above
nature has turned me into a wanton
full of wild wonder and deep awe
forgetting where is my home at all

as i occasionally look up ahead
the mountain seems never to stop changing
    from a bald hump to a shadowy castle
surely i can not see its true face
either because it has none to start with
or because i am too deep in its arms

(aug.20, 2004)

Money, for a Decent Human Life without You

a beautiful beam bride
a loyal but spoiled pet
a moody morbid master
a dull and dumb number
you are all this and more

a magic finger playing
    upon every nerve ending
an endless thread woven
    into the fabric of every feeling
you are all this, but above all

with a green back, a bleeding face
    a coffin-like shadow. a totally tattooed body
you are the most vicious monster
    man created in his own image
to drive himself to hell
    just as god created man
to expel him from heaven

(aug.21, 2004)

A Fable

once there stood still
a tremendous oak tree
    trying to enjoy dreaming her own dream
in her humble but hilarious way
suddenly a wild west wind
    starting to blow her back bent
like a madly mating moose
    never letting his sexual desire rest
unable to stand straight up
she shrugs off her broken branches

(aug.23, 2004)

The Fraser River

unlike the far more famous nile
    surging ahead with sweat of old africa
or the much mightier huanghe
    bursting with torrential tears of all china
from glamorous glaciers deep in the rockies
  you are perfectly pure to breasfeed my vancouver
  the super sweetheart of north america

(aug.30, 2004)

Life of Paradoxes

this is a bewildered
and bashful bat
seeing with its ears
flying without feathers
biting, chewing, and sucking
instead of beaking or pecking
    dreaming on its back
more than on its belly
although a perfectly normal mammal
he has been trying hard
to make a bird's living

never wanting to deceive
nor attention to receive
forgetting all human associations
i wonder one thing about this bat
are you a little comic error of nature
or rather a tragic wonder of life?

(sept.2, 2004)

The Cup of Life

never full
this cup of life
its taste changed completely
with only one droplet of dreamwater
staring at it square
holding it tight against light
not a single drop spilt
but all the colors missed
along my way here
rich and brilliant

(sept.2, 2004)

Global Warning

it is not so much
    carbon doxide from metal pipes
as more and more
    fret, frenzy and friction
that burst out into the sky
    making the whole world
dangerously warmer

(sept.19, 2004)

Theory of Relativity

i have been the very center
   of the universe so infinite
       ts frontier is not farther
than where am i

(sept. 21, 2004)


this is an ancient secrete recipe
promethus stole from the olympias
where it is particularly popular:
a whole open mind
a good natured heart
in addition to
a weak wish
for what you do not have
& a strong sense of satisfaction
with what you already have

(sept.16, 2004)

The Dream

like a superstitious stream
    not too wildly wide
but you cannot simply cross it
      without a raft or a canoe
    nor too dangerously deep
but you may easily get drowned
if unable to keep afloating on the water
    nor too radically rapid
but the current is often swift enough
to carry you far away to nowhere

(sept.17, 2-004)

The Angler

your hooked-heart thrown into the lake
your nerves becoming tight and straight
splashing from above the water
you get a sunpainted serenity
or a lively moonlit mist
for your soul to bathe
in a juicy hour

(sept.17, 2004)

Writing a Poem

put your sensitivity
    into the jug of life
soak it really deep
    under the spring water
    of your imagination
let the sunshine
    do the whole work
you do not need
   to go to the city of phoenix
    for a cup of suntea
the most natural and nutritious drink
    to a thirsty soul

(sept.4, 2004)

Freedom vs Power

each time i come to stand on the beach
my mind eager to break from my body
flapping its wishful wings
chasing the silver seagull
gliding high above in the beaming blue sky
like a pair of ice dancers
as i enjoy this truly rare moment
of total freedom borrowed from a bird
i overhear the wind whispering at my ears:
being able to do what you prefer to
    is a persistently pursued privilege on earth
but being able not to do what you would rather not
    is the ultimate savings deposited in heaven

(aug.31, 2004)

Being a Balloon

i could be high up in the smiling sky
sailing with all the blue leisure i like
until the sun blows me onto the other shore
although i can never fly like a powered eagle

but tightly tied to a twisted spring twig
budding with a whole cluster of green dreams
i can only hope to burst not too soon
unless the rope is cut or the twig broken

(sept.13, 2004)

What Am I

in a degitalized world
    i have lost all my fashionable clothes
except as a 100% naked number
    dull, dumb but beautifully deformed
often wondering among piles of statistics
    which set of numbers is my true self
my dl, my sin, my pin, or #?

(sept.15, 2004)

Personal Salvation

my sister lives on round rice
my brother prefers brown bread
my friend fond of fast food
i often wonder and even envy
    how they can live on ready-made

i’ve tried to adapt to the local staple
but my stomach is simply too fastidious
probably belonging to the unlucky few
i have to constantly change my lifefood
    or i might have died of hunger long ago

in my little field of famine resistant crops
i’ve grown green grasses of my own choices
they offer no fancy smell or taste
but they are organic sustenance to my soul
    and so i have survived so far

(aug.16, 2004)

The Bridge Rock in Mt Columbia

among the mighty massive roars
full of wild wonders and deep awe
    i come to worship this bridge-like rock
    carved with icy chisels of glacier water
powerfully pounding
constantly cutting

a masterpiece out of the primitive
    with no sense of design or purpose
    nor intended expression of any feelings
    nor embodiment of scientific principles
totally ignorant of my humble presence
under my feet is a wooden bridge
    simple, but solid as a superb set
of symmetries, a perfect human artifact
    where i stop and then step down
to overhear God's whispers
(aug.17, 2004)

Canadian Winter

unlike the proud Prometheus
you stole from an unknown paradise
the white seeds of pure peace
sowing them tender and graceful
with softly solid stillness

in a dry and dreaming land
are you blessings bountiful from high above
or just muted wishes deep in our hearts?

(aug. 18, 2004)


fresh, fertile, fateful
full of unpolluting power
the mind of a newborn
    is the bible of life

like that of aristotle
    it may reprocess
all earthly knowledge
similar to li bai's
    it could translate a frail raindrop
into an empowered poem
as miraculous as shakespeare's
    it would put the whole human world
onto a single small stage
different from marx's
    capable of turning the half of the earth
upside down
even sharper than einstein's
   likely to penetrate
the deepest depth of the universe
or written in water
    the words might dry up under the sun
before the child becomes
the father of man

(sept.10, 2004)

In the Forest of Life

like an open cage
like a free hotel
my balcony has become a home
    to many wild city birds
pigeons philosophizing in private
seagulls stalking with arrogance
crows beaking at unseen seeds
sparrows quarreling non-stop
    on the branched-out railings
    behind the dusk dyed wall
sometimes all alone
more often in company
looking out of my wingless window
i find myself to be one of them
coming to perch here by chance
but ready to flee by need

(sept.11, 2004)

Day in Day out

each time the clock agitates
there are tens of thousands
    that let out loud cries
about the boiling pain of being borne
just as so many others
who cannot help cold-sweating
    with the fever and fret
of a commonly unknown disease
unlike you and me

each time the sun rises
there are tens of thousands
    who will never get up
to greet the morning glow
just as so many others
who can no longer go to bed
    to continue their rosy dreams
under the moon-painted roof
like you and me

each time the dew drops
there are tens of thousands
    whose backs bend a bit more
pushed down by an unspotted hand
just as so many others
    whose countless troubles and traumas
make them tremble with despair
yearning for a sunny spell
you and me

(sept.12, 2004)

Siamese Stanzas: Relativism

deep in an undiscovered mine under the forked footsteps
the diamond feels sad of numerous mountain climbers
about its light being buried the rock is shining with smile
as I stand
at the very center
of a whole universe
so infinite
its frontiers are
no farther than
my closest neighbors
if an


several sunsets ago
when I was looking for something
I found a collage
made with foil, crayon and megabites
carefully kept between the pages
of our favoured family book
reminding my little allen
where he an locate
this chip of childhood
when he grows up
and feels like looking back for moment

surely, his collage is very different
from what I used to make
when I was his age
in a nameless village never mapped
surreptitiously, I buried a handful
of soil, seeds and stalks
deep under an unknown tree
hoping someday a big miracle
or a small wonderwork
would somehow be hatched out

I awaited, for many years
before my son was finally begotten

Half Truths about Hotels

1. Earth is the only all-star hotel we can find on our journey to the other world.
2. The most luxurious presidential suite is but another prison house for the privileged.
3. With or without a view, one hotel room is just as shabby a shelter for the soul as another.
4. A heart unoccupied is a hotel for rent, while a house for sale is never a home.
5. Some suites are more desirable simply because they have more doors than walls.
6. Every hotel is a blue cage hung high up in the tree of time.
7. All hotels are God’s rental properties on earth.
8. In the closet of every hotel room hides some luggage packed into the traveler’s heart.
9. The hotel is more attractive than the home to the immigrant because one does not need to worry about mortgage or maintenance.
10. What really accounts for your sojourn in the hotel is the way you check out rather than the way you check in.

The Meditating Mind

Be a bare buoy
Between and
Beyond …

the mortgagor

he has plenty of words
with which to build a huge house
yet he has neither wit nor worth
powerful enough to stir the hardened heart
of his ever friendly account manager
who would readily offer generous loans
only to those who can prove
they actually have enough cash
to buy more than ten houses

with his net assets writ in water yet
where can he find a willing creditor?  

China Charms: Tao Yuanming’s Song

In the twilight, amidst a few clusters of wild chrysanthemums, a man in his early thirties is playing a delicate instrument looking like a zither. Chanting, crying and smiling, he is so lost that he seems to have poured all his being into this single song of his. Among his audiences are a couple of humans obviously charmed by his music, for all their spirits appear to be dancing to its rhythm. Amazed by this autumn scene, I approach them and, to my little surprise, I find the singer’s instrument to be nothing more than a solid chunk of wood, with no string at all.

Note: Tao Yuanming (365-427), first and greatest nature poet in the long history of Chinese literature, resigned from his government post and became a peasant simply because he found it unbearable to “bow [to others] for the sake of five dou of rice [for his salary].”


you do not want to stay
at your bursting origin
and become vaporized
within the stagnant pool

you prefer to roll ahead
flowing at will with full freedom
no matter whether it means
you have to exile
or to be exiled
by your dear root source

you often hit rocks
tumble over boulders
or straddle ridges
yet you know it is exactly they
that give you a crystal voice                                

Pippa’s Lament

a newly liberated butterfly
beating her wings against the freshness of flowers
--no eye sees

a speckled-faced village boy
shouting loud at his dirt-free future in his dream
--no ear hears

a thick summer sunbeam
warming a flat stone in the heart of the forest
--no finger feels

a rich and brilliant dish
lying on the big table in an empty monstrous house
--no tongue tastes

a blood-stained sea breeze
blowing afar from an island beyond the horizon
--no nose smells

no one knows god is not in heaven
nor is all well with this worthy world

The Maozhu Grower

Weeding, watering, fertilizing
      Constantly toiling and moiling
That is everything
      He has been doing
Ever since he planted his maozhu
An obscure chinese bamboo breed
      Though it has repeatedly refused
To show to the staring eye
      Any sign of green growth
      For up to five long long years

He never expects to sit someday
            Under its shade slaked deep in summer
      Nor has he ever halted to hope
      After a rainy night his only child might
Shoot out of earth ninety feet tall
Within just a few thick weeks of all

To the Homeless

neither the first fallen
from the overcrowded tree
as spring's sole prophet
nor the last against night
hanging on like a soldier
bayoneting with the whole winter
you are nothing more or less
than an introvert leaf
stalking in summer's shadow

face faded, body forlorn
you are a lonely being, being alone
wandering around in a whirlwind
rolling over the bumpy roof
passing by the wet threshold
or sleeping beside the road sign
you never care when to disappear
or where you have come from
except your dreams frosted
in a forged fog

before the unseeing eyes
betwixt the city's pitiful noises
you seem a sad withered soul
dyed with heavy dusk
waiting to witness
the ever hardening of autumn
but right now who knows
deep in you unwalled heart
you are flirting with the freedom
found only in a permanent house?

Rhapsody of Night Sky

A cosmic mirror
      Smashed into small
And bright dots of light
Most of them become
So stained with time
Until darkness grows
      Thick enough to glue
Earth with heaven
      With debris possessed
Still glistening high above
Among hardening silences

Here at the Seashore

All roads and trails
Have come to a hasty end
All hills and mountains
Have sunk into the bottom
And all trees and flowers
Have retreated themselves
Except a solitary seagull
      Soaring high above
His blue call resonates
      With the foamy song of the sea

Rain and Poetry

it is raining
      raining again
in vancouver

i am trying
      trying again
to write poetry

raining / writing
writing / raining
until somehow
they are related
      within my room
just rented

Grammatical Groundwork

in the overly exploited mine of vocabulary
      he digs deep into the ores hard and shiny

at the heavily guarded garden of syntax
      he keeps pruning his trees dripping with green

among the wildly running crowds of syllables
      he skillfully cowboys his colts cute and lively

The Portrait of a Young Mountain

when I first see you
you are nothing more or less
than a muted mountain
      massive, mighty and monumental
a solid thesis statement
made by mother nature

then you seem to grow
      slimmer or slenderer
than your true shape
as I try to translate
both your body and spirit
      into an antithesis of artwork
with my brushes and palette

to authenticate your whole being
i look at you once again
      and find you no darker or brighter
than what you exactly were:
      a muted mountain

a simple synthesis
of you and me

The Land Paintings at Nasca

long lost on the barren sandy land
few folks have ever seen you as figures
drawn with bare hands of aliens perhaps
or even forgotten gods from another world

nothing but simple run-on sentences
rambling from somewhere to somewhere else
unedited, unmodified and unfootnoted
just light lines scratched on brown ground
like an ancient labyrinth suddenly flattened
framed with all metaphoric possibilities

too vague and sketchy to make any sense
for the lazy and myopic minds of men
casually walking in your blind spots
unless they can see you from high above
where they might wonder how and why

you have too few viewers privileged
to make you a familiar human scene

During their Dialogues

Behind the words they exchange
Hides a wild snow-covered animal

It seems like a sleek but wounded panther
Squatting under the thick bushes of syllables

Stop and listen with their cagey minds
They can smell its bleeding sighs

But neither of them has seen its true face
As it occasionally appears and disappears

The Jug of Life

never full
this cup of life
its taste changed completely
with only one droplet of dreamwater

staring at it square
holding it tight against light
not a single drop spilt
but all the colors missed
      along my way here
rich and brilliant

In the Library

amidst the stony silences
      so dense and heavy
even time seems
to have dozed off
i hold my sneeze
      until a stranger neighbor
happens to drop
      onto the unfootnoted floor
a thick book of human history (?)
filled with echoless voices

Passing by God’s Residence

beyond the fence with barbed wire
i saw the windows all like portholes
half closed for blind bats or flying moths
while the only door is widely open
for any creature larger than a cat

i smelt a loud light from the kitchen
appealing to both my sense and soul
when a heavenly voice called loudly:
come on in, i will give you
whatever you have desired
yet as i approached the huge house
i could not help wondering:
how can my human body manages
to crawl through the door designed for dogs?


as more fireplaces begin to burn
electricity instead of wood
fewer chimneys are left over
as throats to be cleared
allowing us to cough out
all stained stuffs such as
      black hatred
      foul words
      poisonous curses
      and evil plans
on a lightless night
weaved with winter winds

our houses becoming tidier
the air seems much clearer
but our climate is getting
warmer and warmer
as we keep installing
more modern conveniences
in the rooms of our minds

Two Street Trees

so very close
you grow together
your green arms
      branching almost into
each other’s hearts
      both beside the fast lane
      among tied silences
but like two stubborn rails
never interlinking
no matter how far
you have traveled along
your mouthless trunks
      always remain separate
although in between
      there is no wall
no fence for defense
not even a yellow leaf

Double Conquering

just like the unknown birds
whose little flapping wings
stroke into blue beating
our forefathers’ featherless minds
fluttering high and afar
until we have started to conquer
the crystal worlds in the outer space

can we hope to do the same
to our inner space ever forbidden
with the unmeaning manifestation
of nature, such as another creature
or perhaps some nameless plant?                                      

To the Unknown Musician at A Subway Station

at this serene spot of dark time
right at the corner of the eye
of all the pell-mell
the sound and fury
of a busy crazy city
you remain courageously composed
totally lost in the ecstasy
of your own voiceless song
for the compartmentalized drama of life
rolling on the railway of human inertia

no passengers know who you are
few even bother to stop and tell
if you are playing a chopin or yanni
or one of your improvisations
nor do you care who your audiences are
(if there are any at all)
or if anyone has the right ears
or the right mind
for the melody of your whole being

but among the tens of thousands
of nameless and faceless passers-by
I for one feel your fingers
playing with so much power
on the strings of my heart
my soul begins to cry
with deeply felt joy and wonder
as you are turning
(although without intention)
one of my life’s dullest episodes
into a most poetic moment

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