Staying True: Four Poems by Changming Yuan

“Hooking,” “Reforming,” “Word’s Wisdom” and “… Needs a Smile”




Just how, you were thrown into the water

Under the current and close to a snag


You can’t feel the sun light

Without being reflected


When a fish swims by here

You run into a nasty urchin, tantalizing


As we are all being tantalized

For a tiny catch






Can’t you de-louse a rat?

Doesn’t matter. Neither can I

But we can untie our own hairstyle

Putting a little makeup if we want to

Or going for some plastic surgery


Better to cut off our whiskers

Or tails, biting pebbles

Instead of cloth or wood

Even to replace our hearts

With a cat’s




Word’s Wisdom


Life contains many

A hidden if, as does a wife

Or rife


Once f – is absent

What remains is but a lie




… Needs a Smile


So it invented flowers

To bloom in every season, and


Rivers to irrigate the dry fields

Beyond the barren banks


Changming Yuan, nine-time Pushcart and one-time Best of the Net nominee, started to learn English at age 19 and published monographs on translation before moving out of China. Currently, Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1249 others worldwide.


Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.

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