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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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SELF-MEDITATING:  A PUTI* POEM

 

Close your eyes and imagine

Sitting under a tall pipal**

On a vast stretch of prairie

Where you slowly and progressively

Transform your entire selfhood

Into the little marigold in front of you

Then, the running stream water

The gliding bird

The drifting cloud

The morning light

The summer sky

Where you are the universe

Where the universe is you


                              —─Changming Yuan


SORGHUM

 

Clusters of baby bees

Attracted to the head of every sugar cane

All busy sucking the sweet from mother earth

Or collecting sunlight for a rainy day

 

Far beyond the fields of late summer

They stand tall above evening arrays 

As if to salute the new crescent moon

Like red reeds, with red seeds


                              —─Changming Yuan

 

 

SNORTING:  A PARALLEL POEM

 

Flying between sea and sky

Between day and night

Amid heavenly or oceanic blue

I lost all my references

To any timed space

Or a localized time

Except the non-stop snorting

Of a stranger neighbour

 

Then, beyond the snorts rising here

And more glooming there

I see tigers, lions, leopards

Together with many hanger-throated gods

Darting out of every passenger’s heart

Running amuck around us

As if released from a huge cage

As if in a dreamland


                           —─Changming Yuan



WE ARE ALL BEING WATCHED

 

Hanging above the horizon

Or, below the thin borderline

Between light and darkness

Are billions of weathered skulls

That used to have godly or human bodies  

Like many lanterns, stars

Simply too far to be noticed 

 

Each emitting no more light

Nor darkness

Nor any vision held there

But each is full of holes

Like many eyes, minds

That used to contain thought  

 

They are all looking down upon us

Speechless


                           —─Changming Yuan


 


STEEPER SEESAWS:  ANOTHER PARALLEL POEM

 

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


                                                                    —─Changming Yuan




Footnotes:


*Puti: the Chinese translation of pipal or Bodhi tree, a term closely related to Chan (known as Zen in Japanese), a distinctive Buddhist school originated in ancient China soon after Buddhism was introduced to the country.

**Pipal: a sacred fig under which Siddhārtha Gautamaa, the spiritual teacher from ancient India who founded Buddhism, is believed to have achieved ultimate enlightenment after sitting and meditating there for 49 days.