The Position That Rhymes (By Yan Li) - Poem by Denis Mair
by Yan Li
(translated by Denis Mair)
All who come into this world have errands
Entrusted to them by immortals.
All the riddles of incarnation
Need karmic ties to be solved one by one.
As for you,
I sense incense floating from afar
To enwreath you in this Oriental guise.
A karmic tie to you in memory
Was my errand from immortal Guanyin.
Incense with its pale-blue smoke taught me
By sense of smell to judge sublime from wretched.
Back then I knew nothing of America the beautiful,
But I knew the Guanyin statue in our house
Watched over the beautiful hopes of humankind.
My Grandmother lit incense on those Shanghai mornings
So I could keep the scent of peace in memory.
Now along my road of striving
I find you here in the road
Dare I let you symbolize the errand
I have received from Guanyin,
And make this our special secret?
In a classroom in America
I recite poems rendered into English
And realize as they run off unbridled
They don't care which language plays the tune,
And surely you aren't sitting here by accident
Because right here in front of me
Is the position that rhymes with my poems.
(Written at the Iowa Intl. Writers Program)
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about The Position That Rhymes (By Yan Li) by Denis Mair
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
- Still I RiseMaya Angelou
- The Road Not TakenRobert Frost
- If You Forget MePablo Neruda
- DreamsLangston Hughes
- Annabel LeeEdgar Allan Poe
- IfRudyard Kipling
- Stopping By Woods On A Snowy EveningRobert Frost
- Do Not Stand At My Grave And WeepMary Elizabeth Frye
- I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love YouPablo Neruda
- TelevisionRoald Dahl