Poems by Feng Yan




Seeing the mist again

I did not hear my childhood nickname
When smoke rose from kitchen chimney
Beside lake in foreign land
Willow trees embankment, sun setting

Birds song heard as curling smoke was rising
Smoke floating, drifting, as if from depths of my heart
Going near and far, then lost without trace.

My steps cannot catch dispersing smoke
Only my eyes can follow
It is like dawn waiting for birds to wake.
Secretly I call my nickname
But cannot go back to my childhood


Girl’s Face and Peach Flowers

In spring, leave door ajar, let wind come through gap
Sunlight gives the scholar first awakening of love’s a door

Peach blossom, brief encounter with spring
Bees and butterflies drawn to wherever my feet step
Peach blossom become token of girl seeking love
Waiting for flowers to blossom, declaration of Nirvana

Untouchable dreams flourish from tiny buds
Floating petals in gentle breezes
Three seasons wistfully waiting for flowers to bloom.

Laughter of children playing under fruit trees
Creating gentle rain of petals falling.


Daughter of red wine

Daughter’s first cry, father’s heart overwhelmed
Rice, grain by grain, panned and soaked
Father uses hands rubbing warmth from glutinous rice
Then buried deep, under Osmanthus fragrant tree
Love, love deeply felt, fermented within airtight jar
Two feet below fragrance of circle of trees
Tamp daughter inch long height.

Love in father’s eyes seeing daughter grow
The love measured by beat of his heart.

Daughter marries, altar girl dressed in red by father
Fragrance sweet-smelling daughter
Pleasing the father’s heart.
Married couple pick up glasses
Offer toast of love to tearful father
Grey-headed man drinks to his daughter’s happiness.



Rubbing fingers against bumps and depressions
On stone tablets, oracle bones, bronze vessels
Ink Yin Halo black, traversed, cross-sectional history
Traceability, one story comes to life.

Spinning to dance on paper, all in one
Running like moving fingertips
Reincarnation, in meditative way
Hard to soft, piece of rice paper has ups and downs.

Faces emerge from thin paper
One turn and truth is revealed



At the Metropolitan Museum in foreign land
Tang-ga, past five hundred times looking back
Made in China, dazzling, shedding tears, heart moved.

Go through Tanggula Mountain to Potala Palace
An encyclopedia of Tibetan culture, codes from past of Tang Dynasty
Political economy, astronomical architecture, layer after layer
Thin oxygen making it hard to breathe, impossible to run
Lack of culture in the body can cause physical suffocation
History reincarnation of an encounter across the ocean
Bewitched the dazzled.

Galleries around Jokhang Temple
Light color, soul background, body heavy color
Pen nib gently touches outline of line after line
Shining light, the millennium I passed bye.


Hug me in my dream

In my memory,
Your lips mother never touched my dimpled face
You told me
Love does not show that way
I felt loneliness without your embracing love.

On Mother’s Day
I loved you only for your red roses
But you whispered to me
Between you and me only remembered flowers
Bloomed and faded
Do not leave red rose memories
Missing them bleeds the heart.

I bought a red rose in every year for Mother’s Day
When that special festival came, those dark red flowers bloomed
You never knew
Bloomed, faded as my willpower and persistence
I had been delayed in the U.S.A.
Stared at my mother through video
She looked at me, so serene
As if what occurred never happened between us
I reminded her she must stay for me, she promised
I would reach her bedside
Then she went to paradise
And failed to keep her promise
Even though I could fly I arrived too late
When we were getting together at that last moment.

How many times in my dreams
Mother looked at me silently
Did not say a word
Grieving my heart, sorrowing the mind
Tears at every Mother’s Day.
Hug me, Mother
I miss you so much
Tears stain this poem
Please hug me, even if only in my dreams
Two shadows hugs, happiness and joy
Please hug me in my dream again
On Mother’s Day


About the Author

Feng Yan, Liaoning Vocational College of Light Industry, English teacher & associate professor, 2012-2013 visiting scholar of Western Oregon University. Her poems, essays, novels and translated poems have been published in Selected PoemsPoetry MonthlyChina Economic and Social Forum, etc. Research interests: English language and literature, translation, etc. Translated poetry anthology include Seeds And It’s Flowering Past & Time Weighs Heavy and so on.