Changming Yuan: Chan Poems

Changming Yuan: Chan Poems

 

Natural Confrontations   

 

1/ Ant

 
Stretching its hair-like limbs
As far as it can
The ant embracing
The tallest Douglas tree
In the forest
Attempts to shake off
All its leaves
Branches, and even
To uproot it

 
2/ Corn

 

With a small body
Of teeth, you have bitten off
Every golden minute
From the warm day
Hoping to collect and store
All the sunlight
Of the passing season  

 

3/ Vortex

 
Turning, twirling
In ever smaller circles
A vortex in the stream
Seems to be sucking in
All the waters on earth
Like the black hole
Trying to swallow
The whole universe

 

 

Mind Mudra: A Chan Poem

 

Legs crossed
Sitting straight
Still in chan meditation
Upon a lotus flower
Newly blossoming on my inner pond
I perceive myself transforming
Slowly but steadily
From a monstrous yellow-skinned frog
Into an ever bigger, brighter Buddha
Until my whole being inside out
Bursts into trillions of individual cells
Each being an other self of mine
Like a star beyond the skyline
Blinking, whispering
As if all chanting
In a universal prayer
For harmony   

 

 

Fortune Forecasting: A Recursive Poem

 – Believe it or not, the ancient Chinese 5-Agent Principle accounts for us all.

 

1/ Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3)

-helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth
with her transparent tenderness
coded with colorless violence
she is always ready to support
or sink the powerful boat
                        sailing south

 
2/ Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5)
-helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal
rings in rings have been opened or broken
like echoes that roll from home to home
each containing fragments of green
trying to tell their tales
                  from the forest’s depths

 
3/ Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7)
-helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water
your soft power bursting from your ribcage
as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be
when you fly your lipless kisses
you reach out your hearts
                        until they are all broken

 
4/ Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9)
-helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood
i think not; therefore, I am not
what I am, but I have a color
the skin my heart wears inside out
tattooed intricately
            with footprints of history

 
5/ Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1)
-helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire
he used to be totally dull-colored
because he came from the earth’s inside
now he has become a super-conductor
for cold words, hot pictures and light itself
            all being transmitted through his throat
            
            

–by Changming Yuan

 

Copyright© 2012, by Changming Yuan. All Rights Reserved.

 

Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in rural China, holds a PhD in English, and currently works as a private tutor in Vancouver; his poetry has appeared in nearly 510 literary publications across 20 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Kanto, Poetry Salzburg Review, SAND and Taj Mahal Review.

 

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