Yuan Changming



Yuan Changming grew up in rural China, began to learn English at 19, and published monographs on translation before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1109 others across 37 countries.


Greenish Wish

You wish to be a Douglas fir
Tall, straight, almost immortal
But you stand like a Peking willow
Prone to cankers, full of twisted twigs

Worse still, you are not so resistant
As the authentic willow that can bend gracefully
Shake off all its unwanted leaves in autumn
When there is a wind blowing even from nowhere

No matter how much sunshine you receive
During the summer, you have nothing but scars
To show off against winter storms
The scars that you can never shake off


White Crow

Instead of pecking around on the ground
For grain or gold to satisfy your hunger
You keep flying all day long, trying
To fetch feathers stuck in muddy history
Twigs far beyond Adam’s continent, and
Rice stems from summer fields, with which
You long to build a permanent nest
High on the top of the tallest Douglas fir
Where you can live closest to heaven

Will you be shot down on you way
To divinity?


Water Vision

Above the water
The swan looks so elegant
Pure and noble

Beneath the surface
Its feet are paddling hard
Like an ugly duck

But invisible as they are
You can also imagine them
Like the wings of a blue eagle

The wings that are flapping
Fiercely against currents
Ready to fly into the depth of season

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