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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, January 2024
What Love Should be, poems by Anna Yin.
What Love Should be
My heart has four rooms
In each I hold one lover
Spring Summer Autumn Winter
A door closes then opens
With songs both ancient and modern
I pray — my heart — the ocean
For us to step into
All the lovers and dreamers
In the past or in the future
Our rooms —no more separated
Let us be each other’s oracles
Hands hold and feet on the same ground
Our shined souls, listen and chime:
This is our oath, our freedom.
Love should not divide us
We belong to each other
The sky is the blue floor wider
In a united room called “heaven”
On My Mother Language
and the Other
They are my two lovers
Each takes a turn to speak
Sometime they encounter each other
And contest for the command
I love them both, Chinese and English
One is more censorious
The other more open-minded (or perhaps in a disguise)
In my dream,
I call for them but mistake one for the other
It is perfectly fine to love both
They assure me
And offer a magic wane:
My mature self in a mirror,
One coin with two sides
But it is such a challenge
To let them both equally
Enter my heart and stay
In the chambers
I wish I could remain calm
To embrace each pulse
Flowing their musical rhythms
With brave bizarre beckons
A ghazal for a birthday child
What could I give you a gift as your own?
How about happiness that you shall own?
Pray that your wings be solid and mighty,
sky without border to fly and to own.
Pray that your heart be sincere and tender,
each chamber filled with light that your own.
Pray that each morning you rise up with joy,
each trip far and near to love and to own.
Pray that each sundown you settle with peace,
each dream sweet and warm to hold and to own
Pray that your eyes be eagle-sharp and strong
Pray that your vision be fresh and your own
Pray that your young body be dragon-built
Pray that your gifts will be fully your own
The list can go on and on, on and on…
and certainly, I see you have your own
What to give you as gift to be your own?
Well, my child, just be your own, be your own…
© Anna Yin
Anna Yin was Mississauga’s Inaugural Poet Laureate (2015-17) and has authored five poetry collections and two books of translations including: 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 since 2011.