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All for the Love of Zodiac Animals: A Bilinguacultural Poem


Astronomical Clock

It all began with an animal race Emperor Jade called to amuse himself and his earthly subjects...

鼠 Rat:            yes, i admit betraying the cat as my only close friend

                       but i won the race, with my head rather than my legs


牛 Ox:             to honor my contract with the yellow sun

                        i eat green grass, yet give red meat to man


虎 Tiger:         as the only feared king of the thick jungle

                        i am afraid and tired of my own timidity


兔 Rabbi:        with my cagey ears held so high

                        i will not miss a sound of peace


龙 Dragon:      although my portraits hung lively above the clouds

                         no human eyes have ever seen my authentic being


蛇 Snake:        the moment i sloughed off my old slim self

                        i forgot ever seducing any manhood in heaven


马 Horse:        my body looks more masculine than a strong man

                        and my heart feels more feminine than a tender girl


羊 Goat:          when i bleat towards the passers-by

                        i never mean to speak in another voice


猴 Monkey:     each time i try to find any lice in the corner of my mind

                        i act like the humans outside the fence with barbed wire


鸡 Rooster:     with my wings plumed with the feathers of night

                        i cannot fly but to crow loudly towards dawn


狗 Dog:           given my canine camaraderie and pack mentality

                        i feel at home before, among or behind soldiers


猪 Pig:             i spend all my lifetime wisely

                        to guard this single moment

Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from Credits include 11 Pushcart nominations, 10 chapbooks and appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others across 46 countries. Recently, Yuan served on the jury for Canada's 44th National Magazine Awards (English poetry category).

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