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Breath & Shadow

Fall 2012 - Vol. 9, Issue 4

"Light vs. Shadow: A Recursive Poem"

written by

Changming Yuan

Was it the shadow?

Was it the shadow beyond?

Was it the shadow beyond the shadow?

Still fell the thick night,

When the heart blocked the light.


Yes, it is light!

It is light within!

It is light within light!

Loud sweeps the morning glow,

Where the mind has no shadow.



if only there were still 10 suns hanging in the sky

as in the ancient Chinese mythological universe

if only all stars were close, close enough to us

like millions of broken mirrors put back together around us

if, if only every light on earth were much brighter

or, simply if our eyes were just a bit more insightful

there would be no shadows moving before or behind us

there would be no darkness within or without our minds



1. Do not be carried away with so much sunshine

for shadow is right behind your feet


2. Do not be afraid of shadow in front of you

for the sun is arising just behind your back


3. Stand still for a moment or two

and you can tell shadow from light or vice versa


4. Keep walking in your chosen direction

and you will find your way out of the shadows

Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in a remote Chinese village and published several monographs before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan teaches independently in Vancouver and has poetry appear in nearly 470 literary publications across 19 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Poetry Kanto, Poetry Salzburg, SAND, and Taj Mahal Review.

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