new zealand electronic poetry centre


Yang Lian

online works


Museum windows carved with the names of different oceans

no ocean like this absolute standstill
words    paralysed on windows
a different storm which you read
carved deep in the stone wall
the only time the museum collects is fragile as the glass
you stand there    have sailed many years from sea to sea
you see trees drowned again by the sky
green    silent menace
let a seaís name command all its dead
no one can reach an unnamed sea
let a living skull lay bare its thought to the spring
the tombstoneís statement shines absolutely clear

standing by a different shore you have been stripped bare
the sea rushes all around    all plump carnivorous leaves
are cards    sharks migrate among the specimens
pale teeth that scratch living souls are everywhere underwater
water-drops have absolute hunger and thirst
when utterly deprived    a fantasy piano is shattered
that watching so transparent    its ending is an eye
the lying voice of glass    only makes an ear more piercing
what you touch is simply the waves of your own fingerprints
throttled by the same madness on another side of the window

the moonís pale yellow skull    makes time sharpen its knife
on the museumís face moonlight carves what it long since destroyed
the heavy canopies of every ocean
using you to take root    to let spring pour in is a pouring out
death like a seed much greener than you
in unchanging time    footprints on the sea have all along been in pain
unknown what name forced the funeral to be infinite
a window forever shut
holds the ocean outside a bottle    all that spills is light
the storm condenses after death into phosphorescence on your body
absolutely    extinguished before you come back


© Yang Lian

Last updated 13 October, 2001