Anna Yin – Listening to Leonard Cohen

Yin LE P&W June 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2023

Listening to Leonard Cohen, poems by Anna Yin.

Listening to Leonard Cohen

In some summer nights
I listen to your low soothing voice
as if a secret river whispers and confides.
There are charming currents and surprising turns
as honey sunlight pours through ragged seaweed—
the blind journey led by Suzanne, then hearts broken,
now all I see golden and purple blowing in the wind…

In such lonely longing nights
I play familiar songs for myself—
a girl from China not named the same.
I would make your tea perfectly sweet and bright;
I would show you where sunflowers grow high—
even if my heart too would be broken.
But the morning dewdrops roll down before my touch,
now I count how many roses closed in a void…

In some summer nights
I listen to your meandering river whispering…
In some summer nights
I seek the stars in the distance emerging…

For Don Gutteridge

The ink in your pen
seems never dry:
one after another,
poems flow through long
longing sentences,
filling your solitary rooms
as unforgettable songs.

Light shifts the silence
between day and night,
dream and dialogue –
you wait for your
loved ones’ echoes.

Let me record the rhythms
in your mind and your pages:
they are your heartbeats,
your lifeline from many years ago,
a simple and joyful “Yes”, and
they continue to this day
and forever.

The Blue Dolphin

The three names I gave to him
he chose Dolphin
not knowing the other two
are dearest to me

Panda is my son’s favourite
Sailor meant my first boyfriend
Dolphin is new, a warm healer,
I found from wikipedia, in ancient time
once saved a poet whom I never read

So it could be my fate, I
never supposed to be a poet, now
am a die-hard one…
In my dream, I swam like a fish
and left a fish tail in my poem

So that is it, that will be…
In the open ocean
I let him sing blue dolphin songs
and swim with his dreams into the dawn

Blue Songs

He says he wants to save me
He offers taking me to the bay
The night is long
The river sings with Mr. Cohen’s song

Sorry, Mr. Cohen, Sorry, Mr. Dolphin…
I only see the blue, blue, half moon
I fill in my pillow with a long-due poem

The passion flower is pretty, pretty, pretty,
but I fear it may fade away, away, away
The passion fruit is sweet, sweet, sweet,
but life is heavy to sail away, away, away

Sorry, Mr. Cohen, Sorry, Mr. Dolphin
The night is long
The river sings with a blue song
I will wait nine moons for my turn
I won’t bath in the hot sun and burn

© Anna Yin

Anna Yin was born in China and immigrated to Canada in 1999.  She was Mississauga’s Inaugural Poet Laureate (2015-17) and Ontario representative for the League of Canadian Poets (2013-16). She has authored five poetry collections and one collection of translations:  Mirrors and Windows (Guernica Editions 2021). Anna won the 2005 Ted Plantos Memorial Award, two MARTYs, two scholarships from USA and grants from Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts. Her poems/translations have appeared at Queen’s Quarterly, ARC Poetry, New York Times, China Daily, CBC Radio, Literary Review of Canada etc. She read on Parliament Hill, at Austin International Poetry Festival, Edmonton Poetry Festival and universities in China, Canada and USA etc. She has designed and taught Poetry Alive educational programs since 2011 along with her daily IT job.  In 2020, she started her own small press: for her translating, editing and publishing services.

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