Changming Yuan

A few evenings ago, a monk in orangeCame to pat on my left shoulderIdentifying me in a muted group ofStranger pilgrims journeying to nowhereAs the one having a doomed heart
On that clear moon-cleansed night, my heartWas beating like a horse wildly running aroundAs he assured me I could definitely liveFor at least another five yearsBut no more than nine or ten
The next morning, I conveyed this truthTo my wife, who readily shrug it offAs just another quasi dream of mine
But I took it as an oracle or miracleBecause right then I became a Buddha

Keeping Hands Full You are always grasping, my friendSays my therapistYou must learn to let go:Whenever your hands are not fullYou want to get hold of somethingOr indeed anythingNow a bird in your left handAnd a bunch of flowers in your rightThat’s why you are unhappy all this timeBecause you do not have more handsTo grasp more thingsLike green backs, purple ribbonstall titles, soft sex and charming childrenIf you empty your left hand to catch the ribbonsYou became unhappy about the departure of the birdIf you put down the flowers to take the greenbacksYou feel unlucky about the loss of beautyBut if you let goJust let goWhatever you are graspingYou can get happiness whenever you canSince your hands are free

Secret Spirit
for years I sought light in darknesswith my eyes open wide as my mouthI called, I sang, I prayed, I pleadedfor rays that might come down from above
now I seek darkness in light insteadwith my ears closed tight as my eyesyet I cannot find a shred of my soul'sshadow, even in a midnight dream

Changming Yuan, 3-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman who published several monographs before emigrating out of China, currently teaches English in Vancouver and has poetry appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cortland Review, Exquisite Corpse, RHINO and nearly 400 others worldwide. <>