Monday, July 28, 2014

Music...and other poems by Changming Yuan

Apologies for the late posting as we were offline for most of the weekend, but I think that you will enjoy Changming Yuan's poems this morning.  His first poem "Music" reminded me of the yoga studio that I visited Saturday and Sunday morning.   

This is not one of the classes I attended, but Vanessa T.'s photo gives you a sense of what the studio is like.

Samuel A.'s photo is very evocative as well.


Ancient Indian legend has it
That the origin of music
Was an om, supposedly the very
First and the most primitive note
(Whose frequency can cause resonance
If you adapt yours to it)
While most educated people today would say
It is the big bang
That has been pushing its sound waves
Farther and farther
Beyond the boundaries of the universe

A fundamental feature
That can offer profound pleasure to any human
Ears anywhere anytime
Is this silence, a blank absence
Where the yin and yang reach
A higher balance within
A meditating mind

A sound of silence
A note whose frequency resonates with your inner being

"The Cosmic Music" reminds me a little of a fragment from Whitman.  Whitman may be on my mind as I was reading a cultural biography this weekend *and* my friends & teachers Michael Oliver & Elizabeth Bruce had been staging Song of Myself: The Whitman Project at D.C. Fringe & Bloom Bar.  The picture below is from the guide for the play, a one-man show by Michael.  Here is a link to an excerpt from a preview of his performance:

The performance is actually a preview at Bloom Bars.  During the Fringe Festival itself, the performance was more elaborate, with a film and music.  The stage was an art gallery with brighter lighting.

The Cosmic Music

With your heart’s ear can you clearly hear
The sound from an unknown planet far beyond our galaxy
A few tender grasses whose deafening snoring has awakened a whole new world
Where the souls of our relatives are traveling all in a hurry

As if to attend a spring gathering?

Rhapsody of Night Sky

A cosmic mirror
      Smashed into small
And bright dots of light
Most of them become
So stained with time
Until darkness grows
      Thick enough to glue
Earth with heaven
      With debris possessed
Still glistening high above
Among hardening silences

Intermezzo of the Flute

I saw a flute in Henan,
And slim it was, at an archeological site.
It made the noisy quietude
Overwhelm that muted site.

The quietude agitating underground,
And spread around, no longer quiet.
The flute was slim upon the sound
And long and of a melody in the air.

It was carved out of a whole eagle bone,
With a stone chisel by the same hands
That played a song, its pitch rose
As high as the eagle could fly.

Fluted descants were delicious,
But those un-fluted are even more so;
Hark, even after eight thousand years
They still echo from soul to soul

I want to include a few YouTube videos, starting with Ahmad Jamal's Blue Moon and Saturday Morning.  I think that his music fits very nicely with Changming Yuan's poetry.

Years ago I heard Natraj at the late lamented Willow in Somerville, MA.  This group performs jazz on Indian instruments.

I will conclude with some performances by Herbie Mann, the jazz flutist.

Changming Yuan, an 8-time Pushcart nominee, grew up in a remote village, began to learn English at 19, and published several monographs before leaving China. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently tutors and co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Since mid-2005, Yuan’s poetry has appeared in nearly 900 literary publications across 30 countries, which include Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry (2009;12;14), BestNewPoemsOnline and Threepenny Review

Links to his websites, including the journal Poetry Pacific are below:

For more of Changming's poetry, see the previous entry in The Song Is...:

You may also enjoy Changming's poems and photographs at The Peregrine Muse:

There is still time to enter the contest!

For the other contest poems that I have published, see the link for Dr. Michael Anthony Ingram's "Billie in the Morning":

At that entry, scroll down to the bottom for the other poems (Joan McNerney's "Jazz," Avis D. Matthews' "Metaphorical," H.R. Holt's "Mehliana exorcism," Ed Schelb's "Blue Logic," and several ingenuous poems by the dynamic Felino A. Soriano).

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