changming yuan              

Cyclic Creation


Just as an egg

Hatched out a chicken

Well before a chicken

Laid down an egg

So He created man

In His image

Long after man invented God

After his likeness



Natural Confrontations (2)


1/  Dawn


If each night rises

Outside each day

There lies a mighty mountain

Where darkness runs wild


You want to climb

Along this trail of light

And hunt for the rising darkness

Even without an arrow


2/ Seabird


As if straight from heaven

A young snowy seagull charges down

Trying to pick up the entire ocean

With its bold beak

Just when the tsunami raises

All its fierce fists

To protect against earth’s agitation

In foamy darkness

When no one seems to stand

On the beach, watching

3/ Plum Blossom


Without a single leaf

Green or yellow

To support it as a foil 

But on a skeletal twig

Glazed with dark elegies  

A bud is blooming, bold and blatant

Like drops of blood

As if to show off, to challenge

The entire season

When whims and wishes

Are all frozen like the landscape





Human Culture: A Parallel Poem


when i wake up

      and open my eyes

i see all my dreams

      bounced back from the frames


when i take a shower

      and start to sing

i taste my song tart

      behind the blurring curtain


when i strive to step

      out of my humble house

i feel fences quarreling hard

      in the whole neighborhood


when i visit around and

      do some blind sightseeing

i smell blood stained

      along the castle foot


finally i flee from this world

      and hide myself far away

i still seem to hear

      the glaring cries from the great wall


delicately hung is this earth

            a bluish cage in the universe



Steeper See-Saw: For John Hollander


The higher the income, the lower the morals

The taller the building, the shorter the attention span

The bigger the house, the smaller the family


The more wealth, the less joy

The more conveniences, the less leisure

The more knowledge, the less judgment


The more medicine, the less health

The more protection, the less security

The faster the transportation, the slower the communication


The closer the network, the looser the relationships

The cleaner the environment, the dirtier the mind

The wider the highway, the narrower the perspective



The Second Departing: For William Butler Yeats


Going, going away in an ever retreating bay

The ebb starts below a quickened sun setting

People swarm here, watching, picking, fighting

Over the fishes, shrimps, crabs, shells, weeds

All left stranded, struggling for waters on the beach

They do not care if darkness stalks right behind

Their shadows, rolling like a tide upon their souls

They care only about the benefits they can gather

The sea produce they can trade with one another


Surely some ignorance is still in proper place

Surely the second departing is taking place

The Second Departing! The very idea stirs in the minds

A whole flock of crows beating their darkening wings

Flapping into the narrow skies of the prolonged history

It’s these crows, these very unidentifiable black birds

That are driving the light beyond the horizon, inner or outer

(Where they have found God as a redundant re-creation

When they believe they are the right gods for themselves)


Directory of Destinies

 - 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 forests 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 earths inside

now he has become a super-conductor

for cold words, hot pictures and light itself

            all being transmitted through his throat 

30 Monolines

                                    Man becomes established at the age of thirty -- Confucius


1. The meaning of life, if any at all, is to create a meaning for life.        

2. This is a graying age, where white is turning black while black white.

3. There is light in every dream we have in darkness.     

4. However pitch-dark the entire night is, it can never turn a single snowflake black.

5. There is no distinguishing between black and white, for the color of life is grey to begin with.

6. A house for sale is never a home, while a heart unoccupied is a hotel for rent.

7. Freedom is the thin distance between the fleeing mouse and the chasing cat.

8. Love may be 99% honey and 1% money, while marriage is definitely otherwise.

9. Pleasant or painful, all experiences are as good as cash saved for a long rainy day.

10. Birth throws us out into different times whereas death recalls us back into the same place.

11. No rules are created for their creators.

12. In this age of information, we are all fish swimming freely before the net is towed onto the boat.

13. The more high technologies, the more low minds.

14. Many still very much alive are already stone dead; many already stone dead are still very much alive.

15. On the stage of life, we may not be able to choose the play, but we can choose the roles to play.

16. Comedy can come without romance or finance, but tragedy has to do with either or both.

17. Growth is painful because it means a series of deaths of our pasts, while death can be pleasant because it may result from a series of births of our presents.

18. Misfortune is a peculiar privilege.

19. In memories, roses always look fresher, while thorns less sharp.

20. What we see or read has always been so edited that the truth remains only in the mind of history unwritten.

21. God died long ago; heroes have all disappeared; and here is man left standing alone.

22. The bird flies as high as heaven, but it has to return to the earth to make a nest.

23. Remaining an outsider can give you a sense of superiority, transcendence and peacefulness.

24. Time is the most meticulous makeup master of all.

25. Only those determined to reform others can hope to be reformed.

26. Parting is painful; even more so is having no one to part from.

27. He is happy who is not afraid not to be rich, sexual, famous or powerful.

28. Do some deep thinking about nothing every day, and you will stay healthy, wealthy and wise

29. We all have some questions for heaven, but heaven always remains silent.

30. Like a silkworm, I have contributed all my silk to the human world. If it does not care, why should I?                                                             

Biographical information:

Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in rural China and published several monographs before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan teaches in Vancouver and has poetry appear in nearly 500 literary publications across 19 countries, includingAsia Literary Review, Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cortland Review, Exquisite Corpse, Mad Hatters' Review, Redactions and RHINO.