Changming Yuan

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Which Is the Mirror for Which

The word ‘mirror’ is a mirror for the mirror
Just as a cave is a mirror for bats, the paintingArtwork by Gene McCormick
A mirror for colors, shapes and lines, the cloud
A mirror for the sky or heaven, the bark
A mirror for the wind, the lake a mirror
For the mountain, the call a mirror
For the cuckoo, and the screen
A mirror for the human mind

When the thought is smashed into cutting pieces
There will be more mirrors for facts, for history


Philosophy, among myriads of
Constructs in metaphysics
Objects in nature, or
Phenomena in history
Is, according to old Hegel

Like the god in the temple
Like the killing field
Like flowers and fruit
Like Minerva’s owl
Like digestion
Like physiography, the same one motto, or
Like the animals listening to music, which may
Become real when expressing itself
Or expressed through the rational alone
More exactly, like a drop of summer rain
The yin seeking balance with the yang
Within a pumpkin, the words squeezed
Out of your ball pen, the emptiness in
A meditating mind, and that is all
There is, or there is not to it


Changming Yuan, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China and currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan and operates PP Press. With a PhD in English,Yuan has poetry appearing in Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 819 other literary journals/anthologies across 28 countries.