Li-Young Lee Poems
- I Ask My Mother To Sing She begins, and my grandmother joins ...
- From Blossoms From blossoms comes this brown paper bag of ...
- A Story Sad is the man who is asked for a story and can't ...
- The Gift To pull the metal splinter from my palm my father ...
- The City In Which I Loved You And when, in the city in which ...
- Eating Alone I've pulled the last of the year's young onions....
- Early In The Morning While the long grain is softening in ...
Li-Young Lee (born August 19, 1957) is an American poet. He was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, to Chinese parents. His maternal grandfather was Yuan Shikai, China's first Republican President, who attempted to make himself emperor. Lee's father, who was a personal physician to Mao Zedong while in China, relocated his family to Indonesia, where he helped found Gamaliel University. His father was exiled and spent 19 months in an Indonesian prison camp in Macau. In 1959 the Lee family fled the country to escape anti-Chinese sentiment and after a five-year trek through Hong Kong and Japan, they settled in the United States in 1964. Li-Young Lee attended the University of Pittsburgh and the ... more »
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I Ask My Mother To Sing
She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.
I've never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.
But I love to hear it sung;
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more,
Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her song.