Poetry » Changming Yuan »


To begin with
The hieroglyphical origin of
My identity was simply no body
But a common reed
Bowing its head to the rising sun
On the barren bank of the Nile

Slim, tall, hollow-hearted
Standing against tropical heat
Until one day ‘I’ was used
As a human symbol, an open vowel
Referring to the speaker
And since then I have become
One of the most frequently spelt letters
In the linguistic order of the day
Always capitalized
To embody my dignity
Though I am nothing
But a common reed
That could have been made into a flute

Wintry Stanzas


Standing alone
At this coldest spot of the doorway
You pause, wondering which door to
Knock at, which to
Push or pull
So you can go inside
A warm room where you know
You cannot stay for the whole year
Nor would you come out of the same door
But which to enter:
The narrow door with a wide exit
Or the wide one with a narrow exit?


Rolling, flowing, dripping
From the palest memories of last year
The melting snow stops moving
But hung everywhere
Like crystals
Against the freezing fits of frantic winds

With the moon always broken
In this shortest month of the pearl
No love can be purified
No couple can enjoy a full honeymoon


As the sun sinks deeper every day
Into the other side of the world
The shadow is getting longer, darker
Making our lives slant more and more
Towards night, when nature
Tries to balance yin and yang
By covering each dark corner
With white snowflakes
Ever so softly, quietly

As each twig frowns hard at twilight
Why not give it smile and thus
Book a space in heaven?