poetry

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Emei City

Lost homes – a poem by Yuan Yang

 

 

The summer soon gone,

I was walking in my first hometown.

 

The guardsmen at the district gate

watched me like a stray white cat:

 

unthreatening.

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Mahjong

A poem by Eleanor Goodman

 

Men don’t play these wild games of mahjong.

A search for sanctuary

brings the women to the fourteenth floor

where communal breezes

 

come from the hall

and the open doors are draped

with torn sheets for the July

heat to escape. 

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Poem: Names

A sense of where you belong – by Yuan Yang

 

When I was four and went to school

in Manchester, the kids would ask:

“What’s your name? Where you from?”

and I would say, “Ni shuo shen me?”

Which is Mandarin for the kind

of bewilderment you have as a kid

from inner-mountain-basin China

who has just come through Heathrow.

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On the Silk Road

Poetry for along the way – by Susie Gordon

THIS POEM FIRST APPEARED IN UNITED VERSES

 

Over plains and hills we came

for miles. Miles and months we trod west

in a camel train, carrying silks and furs,

jade and ivory, wood and metal

from Chang’an. Turkan, Altai, Tashkent, Palmyre:

miles of tundra, desert, forest, lush brown foothills -

obsidian sky;

each night a caravanserai.

 

In Damasc by the mosque my father heard it said

there was a lodging ten miles out of town

with a bath-house tiled in topaz, day beds thrown with fleeces,

and a poet who spoke and sang of truths, of secrets.

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Provincial rhapsody

A tour of Chinese regional stereotypes – doggerel by Kaiser Kuo

 

In Dongbei, whence the Manchus came, the men do like their liquor.

While effusive with their friendship, with their enmity they’re quicker

Though they’re honest and straightforward, at the slightest provocation

They’ll show why they’ve been slandered as the Klingons of this nation.

 

The leggy Dongbei ladies for their beauty are renowned,

(I attest that in my travels, few more fetching have I found.)

But they suffer from one drawback, and it’s very sad to tell –

When they open up their mouths to speak, they break that magic spell.

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