Thursday, 13 December 2012

[archived]: Poems by Changming Yuan - © 2007

Then the Maple Tree

Some time then
The maple tree was
Between us

Some time then
The maple tree was
Beside us

Some time then
The maple tree will be
Between us, again
At the Ferry

from the front yard of a melodious morning
from the busy road of a sweet saturday
from the moist corner of a heavy march
and from the back lane of a pale winter
      we have come, here and now, all gathering
      in big crowds gathering in big crowds
      gathering in ever-bigger crowds gathering
for the boat to cross the wide wild waters
      before the fairy ferry is fated to fall
under our foul-covered shoes too earthly

Simply Because of You

You gave me a smile the other day
It attracts many fish swimming towards me
When I share it with a little lake

You sent me a message the other night
It makes some nameless plants burst into blossom
When I read it aloud in their presence

You told me the foreign town you are in
It becomes tightly connected to my homepage
Boldly marked on the screen of my heart

Natural Logic

The Nile flows as far as five thousand miles
Because its course never changes its destination

The Everest towers as high as nine thousand meters
Because it enjoys growing in solitude all the time

The Universe is more profound than the human mind
Because it never bothers to make any earthly noise

Another Snowflake

A tiny kiss of winter
      So soft and tender
Lightly falling upon
Your uncovered head
      Melting into teardrops
And running into your heart
All in white silences
Metabolism of Selfhood

as millions of my skin cells die every day
my micro-selves become invisible dust

as numerous speckles of dust return to earth
my macro-self grows bigger out of living flesh

In the Hotel Room of Faith

With winter-washed walls
In all directions
He sits alone
Under a spectral light
The heart of the night
As the surreal interface
Between his mind and dream
Becomes immensely vague

Yes, this is the nest for his soul
It is neither too large nor too small
The bed is also the right size
Where he can think about nothing
And look through the window
Just to see a shower passing by
All on their journey

The Operation

So seldom succeeds
In removing the infected tissue
Reeking of pus and blood
More often than not
It makes the wound fester even worse
When it functions in effect
To take out the ruptured
Piece or peace

The Fence

Like the teeth
      Of your grandfather
Cannot bite
      Even the softest days
Passing by

Fate Fossilized

Thanks to his hard bones
Quickly buried
      Deep in the soil
His sudden death
      Has been printed
On a rocky page
Covered thus with eternality
Heart Transplant

You have died with a living heart
I am still living with a dead heart
So long as we co-exist in peace
What difference does it make
Who lives within whose heart?

At the Lantern Festival

Before the first lantern is lit and hung up
The darkness of this world represents all the light of the day

After every lantern is lit and hung up
The light of this world stands for all the darkness of the night

It has been like this since long:
During every festival only half of the lanterns are actually lit

Spring Sunlight

On the lawns covered with chilly dreams
Like a huge heavenly herbivore creature
It wanders in ever fresh and warm leisure
With its transparent tongue reaching far out
As it licks at the snow left under the tree shade

From under the thick quilt of last winter
Hills wake, and all buildings loom up
Like its bulky body showing its strong figure
While the wind collides with the clouds
As if it were shaking down its fur like feathers

Vegetarian Will

All he wishes
Is to have this
Hardy heart of his
Transplanted to
A dying Douglas fir
Thus adding a bit of
Ever green to
A wild wild world


Some times the bed is simply too big
Other times the bed is way too small
However its size seems to be changing
They never change their shared bed
Sleeping Habit

After he came back from hospital
She began to sleep in a separate bed
Since he left for hospital (forever)
She has returned to their common bed
All because of the pain

Round Trip

On her way to the city
A total stranger to her
She only knew her own shadow well
As she picked every stone shining bright

On her way back from the city
A fair familiar friend to him now
She forgets her own maiden name
As she casts away all her diamonds darkened

Masking Up

to my surgeon in charge
my puffed piggy face
is just another common case
      of allergic reaction
to sensitive cefazolin
for my wife still with her appendix
      intact close to her idle womb
this face has all its wicked wrinkles
      ironed out, every caved-in surface
was evenly filled or dressed up
indeed, it looks younger, more attractive
      and even sexier, as if it had gone
through a perfect plastic surgery
but nobody except my old self
in this world of fret and frenzy
      suffering alone from the pink itchiness
as I long for the return of my own face
not handsome
but authentic enough
On the Peak

Dark green waves dancing
    Hippy-hoppy-happy hornpipes
        Up and down the slopes
As the drift and the dream
The weave and the wave
The fume and foam
Of the sea of trees
      Turn my mind into a drifting buoy
Father out, the great graceful breakers
      Moved like kings into court
Trailing the peacock-
      Patterned forest behind them
At my feet the mists stroked the grasses
        With soft little paws

Floating right amidst the green spirits
Can I see the true face of the closest tree?

First Snowy Night

my appendix just taken out
i was anchored on the bed
with the wakening pain
when a freshly old voice
came to report in my ward:
you’ve missed the first snowy night
of Vancouver, this year [of 2006]
yeah, though not really in my pale mind
as I see through the highrise window
a sky enframed in a world of glass
getting greyer and greyer
until every tiny corner of the night
is filled with soft spirits of winter

(isn’t it another tender duel
between white and black
or a harsh harmony slowly reached
between two deadly lovers?)

Sky Filled with Red Noise

Wrapped tight against light
    With thickening layers of
        Layers of transparent words
Our glamorous globe is decaying
Among netted privacy

Oh for a spell of a heavy rain
    Cleansing and cooling down
        This world warming with whims

Silly Simile

Just like the noon sun that can shrink
    The shadow of a bulky frankenstein
        Into a tiny dot, a late night moon
Can enlarge the shadow of a small soul
    Into a long and heavy curtain
To block the view of all the clowns
        Trying to put on a night show on the stage

Fat Facts about Wonder Whales: A Wild Wish

1. As the biggest animal in the world, you have the loudest voice in the living universe;
2. It is your roar rather than your song that can be heard even three thousand kilometers away;
3. The most devoted mammal, you never leave blue waters, except when trying to catch a dream above the sea;
4. With the biggest mouth in the animal world, you can swallow 50 tons of water, tears or sweat.
5. Your songs are made up of long low notes; you reserve your short and high notes for making an uproar;
6. Some of you can hold your breath well over an hour to dive a depth of 2 or 3 kilometers just to touch the sea floor;
7. With the heaviest brain among all creatures, are you destined to be the ultimate ruler of the living world?

Grace of Gold

1/ gold is valuable not really because of its bright beauty but because of its resistance to rust
2/ as the most malleable metal, gold of a small ping pong ball can cover the whole floor of a basketball court
3/ it is aqua reqia or royal water that can dissolve gold and even golden hearts
4/ gold is never a rare metal: 9 billion tons of gold is dissolved into the world’s oceans
5/ the biggest gold nugget is found not in a treasure house but under a rotten tree’s roots (71 kg; in Victoria, Australia, 1869)

Static Statistics Suggested

17: the number of muscles you use to smile
43: the number of muscles you use to frown
--why not smile more often?

50: your weight in kg on earth
1390:   your weight in kg on sun
--why try to lose or gain weight?

206: the number of bones in an adult’s body
350: the number of bones in an infant’s body
--is that why children are less stubborn?

8: the number of cents worth of gold in a human body
50: the number of tons of gold dissolved in one cubic kilometer of seawater
--is this the reason for all human poverty?

Reading the Opening of Genesis

1/ the biggest difference between reason and religion lies in the way the former tries to explain everything while the latter explains everything
2/ the narrator of the holy scripture is obviously more omniscient and more omnipotent than god himself, for he knows what god had said and done long before adam was created
3/ is faith really necessary to the mind as breath to the body?
4/ where was god before he created the heavens and the earth, and what had he been doing until then?
5/ he who has a god is really fortunately happy
6/ religion is attractive because humans need answers to the questions they cannot answer in their own voices

Qiu Shaoyun:  A Solder Story
Once upon a time, during the forgettable Korean War…

Neither his family background
Nor his educational level
Nor even his true name
Is meaningful here
But he was a soldier
Fresh from a remote farm
Lying flat on his belly
Burning himself second by second
To a slow and prolonged death
On a foreign busy slope
Soundless, motionless, as if feelingless
So his comrades in arms
In their ambush positions
Would not be killed by random enemy fire
While his sick mother
Called his name
In her wintry dream
His fiancée praying for his safe return
Under the oldest village tree

Yet he is no more a hero
Than a great general now

Tree Stumps

Like check stubs
These stumps are kept deep
In the earth’s heart
Until the account is closed
They will well remember
Every single withdrawal
Made by human extravagance

Walking in Different Shoes

Philosopher: left is a phenomenon
Right is the essence

Businessman: left is money
Right is risk

Poet: left is rhythm
Right is imagery

What do YOU see then?

It is your golden-rimmed lenses
Rather than your naked eyes
Or it is your naked eyes
Rather than your virgin mind
That look at yet without seeing
the morning glow
The shadows of maple trees
And the pecking crows
Outside of your rooms
All rented

When You Think, You Are

The red red rose is not my luv
So I first cut the rotten roots
Then the sick thorns and stems
Then the infected leaves
And then the fading petals
Until finally I can only keep your head
Deep in the pot of my soiled heart
Where you may remain eternally alive
As sheer consciousness

Growing Solitude

Up above
    on a hilltop
       stands a lonely being
Being alone

Time Is the Makeup Master of All

With your wind-like fingers
And colored cosmetics of sunlight
You make up all faces and facets
Before putting their bodies properly
Onto the front stage of life

Though you may not exist at all

China Charms: Visiting the Weisui Lake

The same kinds of pine trees
The bushes no less bushy or brilliant
The same lines of mountain ranges
As irregularly handsome
The waters also composed of h2o
Certainly just as clear and clean
With even more lively fishes swimming
In leisure, and in this unknown valley

How come it has not become a costly resort
Like the famous louise lake there
At the feet of rocky mountains, for instance?

China Charms: At Badalin, the Great Wall

Among thousands of climbers
Like so many fallen autumn leaves
Drifting up and down along an embedding stream
Names carved with keys and coins
Weathered over days, years and centuries
So many lives have been lost
As witnessed by fewer and fewer worn bricks
Breathless, I spotted a foreign black woman breathing hard
With a pair of shiny crutches
Standing against the darkening sky
How could you manage to come all the way here
By yourself? I wonder

Far And Near

You seem so near
As near as the red rose
Pressing against the window of my heart
When you drive along a foreign freeway
As the morning sun begins to shrink your shadow
On the other side of the world

You appear so far
As far as a muted star
Glimmering through the rift of my mind
When I clam you in tightly with my limbs and heart
As the setting moon prolongs my womanhood
At this private spot of honeysun

Evolving Human Communication

you wonder why you would wonder why you should wonder why you must wonder why you have to wonder why you wonder…

--hello, may I speak to ss?
--call me asap
--wrong number
--you are a man or a woman?
--(u r a human at all?)

Double Solitude

if i go hiking all by myself
i would be like a dying elephant
withdrawing from his travel group
to hide its own body in a distant limberlost

if i go to disappear in the heart of the forest
i would act like a living human being
trying to go hiking all by himself
along a seldom trodden trail

both with too much loneliness
A Tale of Two Rivers

the yangtse river
the yellow river
you both originated
from the forehead
of old mother Asia
as her two big drops
of tears rolled down
and were joined by
the milk from her breasts

Night Quiet

in the distance are heard some lonely footsteps
wandering beyond the boundary of wild dreams

a dehydrated lamp suffering alone from insomnia
listens attentively to crickets’ calls outside the walls

the moonlight crunches under the shoes of fall
birch leaves trembling violently like thin thoughts

only still life can still bear such solitude…

Elegy of Snow

once upon a time
christmas used to be all in white
although the winter was colder
and more or less longer

snow has long disappeared from here
since it melted into seawater
of tears and sweat
both so thickly salty

instead of piling chubby snowmen
and playing snow fights with our children
now we recall summer clouds, reed flowers
bursting cotton or rolling dandelions

they are no less fluffy or white than the snow
but in here we have white christmas no more

Beside the Ball of Limbo

Your themes are plein-air
entwined and

Sharpen my pen, Muse
with wit and will
so that
i can
this non-tangible tangle
of sad and stubborn

Passing the Construction Site

At a huge and busy construction site, people are moving and removing bricks under a scorching summer sun when a blind passer-by comes up trying to find his way out of the noisy place. Approaching the first worker he meets, the disabled man asks: what are you doing here?  don’t you see I am carrying these stupid bricks? A few steps more, the poor pedestrian asks a second worker the same question, and the answer he gets is: as you can easily see, I am trying to build a wall. Confused and confounded by the different answers to the same questions about the same situation, the unseeing outsider asks a third one, who replies, well, you see, I am constructing a home. At these words, the blind person finds his way out.

Bygones Is All Becoming

The scraping pain from the tenderest part of your heart bone
The prolonged echo of the nightingale’s calls from heaven
The morning glow between flirtatious mountain peaks
The very richest cuisine for a hungry Chinese mouth
The stifling smell of garbage during an endless strike
As well as the rapidly increasing or decreasing numbers of dollars
Blinking joyously on your pc screen
      The spreading of your name from tongue to tongue
Within the boundaries of the human world
And of course the orgasm at the ejaculation
On an ecstasy bed of midsummer’s night

Indeed, all is becoming bygones

China Charms: In Huanglongdong Cave

With thousands of stalagmites
Potent, tall, hard and wetly smooth
Pointing naked upwards or downwards
Each of them grows only one centimeter
In a circle of complete century
(Is this cave a secret basement
Where god stores immortality
Or an open museum of penises
Nature’s totems of life?)

China Charms: In Jinzhou Museum

1/ tripods
It was too difficult to make stone tripods
With nothing but stone axes or chisels
So our ancestors first tried to make one
Out of clay, then bronze and then iron
What kind of tripod can we construct now
Should we keep making tripods
With ever newer materials?

2/ jade cicadas
no, they are not cicadas fossilized
tiny, yet chubby with smooth skin
and full of translucent flesh
as so many twins born
over 4000 years ago
without laser technology, how did they
make so tiny a hole through the head
and thus fossilize its calls and songs?

3/ burial-urns
with a tripod for the ash
so directly connected to the dust on the ground
to give as much room as possible
for the living soul separated not afar
in the middle by a perforated plank
to allow the traffic or communication
between the ashed body and roaming soul
but who was the designer
for the little gate on the cover
as if in a bird cage?

Three trees

Into the backyard
Of my humble heart
I transplanted three nameless trees
One blossoms in spring
And bears fruit in summer
One wrestles with winds and rains
On each less bright day
But the third does nothing
Except standing idly there
Up towards a distant star

Last But Not Least

All my life is a preparation for this moment
So, please remove all these pipes and needles
      (Meant to nail and chain me in this earthy cell)
Feed me with no more food, drink or fluid
      (They are nothing less the poison to my mind)
Stop quilting me with any blankets or bed sheets
      (For my spirit is warm enough to rise like a balloon)
More important, keep talking or playing a yani to my ears
      (They are my final exit from this crowded room)

Ok, now, let it be right against light
Let me use my might to think bright
Shrinking all my shaded consciousness
Into a tiny transparent dot, and remind me
To become a god rather than a ghost


From the sky’s east side
Comes time’s high tide
Lashing the chest of night
Seeping into every site
      Of waterproof dreams
      Before rinsing the polluted
In this flood of light

All My World

As a salmon, I have dug a tunnel
Long and narrow, with my streamlined mouth
Under the broad water street

As a cuckoo, I have made some calls
Loud and short, with my blood-voiced throat
Among the mountain mists

As an aspen, I have outlived my body
Heart and soul, with my unheard song
Near the waterside of an unknown lake

This is your whole world:
An unseen spot of time
in an indefinite space


Circle within Circle

Year in, year out
He kept drawing circles
One after another
In an open circle
As if to seek the focal point
That is right there
Within his own hand


please remove all the iron in my blood and make it a nail so that I can drive it in a crack of time
Photo of Family and Friends

I      S
S      I
I spacespacespace      S
S i s      I
I s i      S
S i s      I
I s i      S
S i s      I
I s i      S
S i s      I
I s i      S
S I s      I
I s i      S
S I s      I
I longlonglonglong      S
S      I
I      S
S      I
Walls and Windows

All walls are unique human constructs that can protect us against rains and winds, but they also confine us to an enclosure that is located amidst loneliness, indifference and restrictions

O0Dor   (a logo poem)

1 0
0 1
1 0
0 1
1 0
0 1
1 0
0 1

Image on Paper

Is a picture
A poem
A photo
A sign
A piece of calligraphy
Or a doodle?

Return to the Sender

A red maple leaf perhaps
Sent by autumn
In an envelop of hope
Stamped with summer light
Undeliverable to


One would try to add a colon now and then
Another might insert a semi colon up and down
Still another could have used a period here and there
but he knows only when to cast a careless comma
as he writes, writes, and keeps writing
his entire life into an ever long-winded sentence

Battle of life: A Cartoon Poem

A glass bottle with a big belly but a narrow neck
Full of bow-colored and manna-like food
A hairy scary monkey hand grasping more than it could
Tightly stuck close to the bottleneck  

In the Prairies

There are
No pens
No fence
No railings
No windbreaks
No walls
And no boundaries
Except whirlwinds
Blowing wildly
Across the territory
As another little grass
Tries breaking the earth
Like a new syllable
Sprouting at the tongue tip

At Downtown Vancouver: A Flash Poem

I was waiting in my cozy compact on a rainy Saturday night for a long red light when I saw a human figure weeping and wailing at a public phone disconnected if seen from behind on the back of the bare booth, both broken.

Boomerang Back to Beijing

For 13 hours in a row
Long enough to fly to heaven
I put myself in the custody
Of an unknown god
Above thick rain clouds
Closer to bow-colored dreams
Floating fiercely around

The human voice behind
Belonging to a wingless angel
Constantly reminds me
Of my forgotten destiny
Far at the other end
Of the world below
My point of origin

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