Chun Yu

A DROP

I drop it
like a drop of water
into the ocean.

Will it be counted
will it count?

This only drop I have
in the year 2020
a year of too many
difficulties to count
is a drop in which
my future lies with
a million uncertainties and
a million fears and hopes
just like every other drop
in the ocean of ballots
dropped by each American
as winter arrives in
a year of too many
heartbreaks to count.

The ocean is splitting
in raging storms
and each side says
our boat will be
crushed and sunk
if the other side wins.

I drop it—
my ballot of 2020
like a drop of water
into the raging ocean
and hope
it will be counted
and it will count
as a drop
which floats the boat
carrying us all.

 

SEEKING SAND DOLLARS
—Ocean Beach

This beach
named “Ocean”
on the other shore
I crossed the sea and ocean
to land on
is the edge of the world
stretching endlessly
in America.

I heard that the waves
sometimes sprinkled
sand dollars
on her Golden Coast.

Even with the shells
sporadic and scarce
and shell pickers
numerous and eager
I neither full of hope
nor without hope
also lean over
to search.

Yet in the ocean storms
violent and capricious
the sand dollars
delicate and exquisite
may already have been crushed
drifting and scattering in gloom
unable to become whole again.

As my heart drained of spirit
my eyes exhausted of strength
inadvertently looking up
toward the vast water
I see the splashing fountain and
giant black back of a whale
emerging—
like hope
burdened with weight
but full of power
once arising
the whole ocean
will surge with it.

尋貝
—Ocean Beach

這彼岸的沙灘
我漂洋過海的
棲落之地
以海洋為名
是伸展無際的
美洲天涯

聽說那大海
有時會拋出
沙錢貝
灑落在她的
黃金海岸

儘管零星渺茫
拾貝者眾多
我並不滿懷希望
卻也不無希望地
俯身尋覓

而海上風暴無常
玲瓏的沙錢貝
或許早已被擊碎
黯然飄散
無法重圓

當我耗盡了
心神與眼力
無意中抬頭
望向那茫茫大海
卻看見飛濺的噴泉
鯨魚巨大的黑色脊背
在海上浮現—
如同希望
身背重負
卻充滿力量
一旦升起
整個海洋
都為之涌動

(first published in 纽约未名诗歌 nyweimingshige)


0-12CHUN YU 俞淳 is a bilingual poet, graphic novelist, and scientist. She is the author of the award-winning memoir in free verse Little Green: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Simon & Schuster) and a graphic novel in progress Emperor Poets (Macmillan). Her poetry has been published in the award-winning collection Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (Koa Books) and the poetry anthology Open Doors (Chaparral Canyon Press). Chun has also been published in the Boston Herald, Xinhua Daily, Konch, Poem of the Day (San Francisco Public Library), Orion and others. She is a recipient of a San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grant for her bilingual poetry and an Individual Artist Grant for her graphic novel project on Chinese-American immigration experiences. She is a recipient of Yerba Buena Center for Arts’ YBCA 100 of 2020 award. Her project, Two Languages / One Community, with poet Michael Warr, brings Chinese-American and African-American communities together through poetry and storytelling. Chun holds a BS and MS (Peking University) and a PhD (Rutgers University) in chemistry. She was a postdoctoral fellow in a Harvard-MIT joint program. 

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