Poems by Changming Yuan

My Crow: A Recursive Poem

Spotting a shadow
Above the horizon
In my inner ocean
The snowy crow
Mistook it for the land
And has never returned
To my little ark
Still struggling
Against sweeping waves

12:12 PM 12 December

Do not worry
Do not panic, pal
Right before the milky way collides
With andromeda galaxy
They will surely return here
In time, to collect all the valuables
Of this unique planet, (quite like old Adam)
Such as Shakespeare’s folios
Picasso or Qi Baishi’s paintings
Each Nobel Prize winner’s eggs or perms
Every American president’s signatures
As well as your great poem or patent
And other worthiest human artifacts
Tangible or otherwise, transporting them
Into another universe, where They will surely
Create and recreate an other intelligent race, raising them
Teaching them how to appreciate Earthlings’ fame and power, where
They will surely be created like Jesuses, Allahs or Buddhas
What I am trying to say, Pal, is just rest assured

Double Hallucination

1/ Photism

Although born with a weak vision
I always enjoy watching the stars
Bluish or silver
Getting filtered
One after another
Out of the cosmos
And seeing them
Falling right
Into the boldest pages
Of history

2/ Phonism

Even in the dead
Heart of night
I often hear
A short blunt saw
Working aloud
As if to fell down
The old tall oak tree
Standing high against the sky
On an unknown hilltop
Beyond the map
Of my mind
Are you listening to what you have heard
Or can you hear what you are listening to?

Tomb Visiting: For Yuan Hongqi

Last year, before burying your ashes
Right beside Grandma’s grave site
(To guard her Buddhaship, as you had
Wished), I opened your urn for a peek
And found your biggest bone chip
Glistening against the January wind
As pink as a piece of charcoal
Now, too far to attend your anniversary
Like every other good Confucian son
Burning joss sticks and fake money
Lighting a huge pile of firecrackers
Before your tombstone, on Big Wok Peak
But I did make three loud kowtows
Towards the east, and in so doing
I saw a little rosy cloud drifting around
Like an inflated bird beating its wings
Along the horizon, amid evening glows
And wondered whether that’s your spirit
Still lingering between earth and heaven
What was it tightly holding in its beak:
A heirloom, or simply our family name?

Seven Theses

The ultimate answers to all miracles and mysteries lie more in the way religions are created than in the religions themselves.

Humans are not the only intelligent beings in the universe, not even on the earth.

Our holiest cause is to learn to feel and remain happy without the interference of faith.

Fashion, fame and wealth are nothing but dirty handkerchiefs of human vanity.

I am appalled at human stupidity: why do we all have to be deplorable slaves of our own foolish and excessive desires?

All conflicts originate from the incompatibility between psychological ephemerality and physical constancy.

Science and technology, like wealth, is actually unnecessary to human civilization in the strict sense of the word: while the former serves as nothing but an ever renewable form of self-entertainment, the latter as sheer luxuries.


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