Weyman Chan’s second poetry collection elaborates his singular and solitary work on the renaissance of the contemporary lyric form. Unmistakably present in these poems are the sensibilities of Li Po, wherein the powers of nature illuminating a meticulously built landscape articulate a poignant, harmonious but fleeting epiphany; Keats’ vision of beauty as an act of passion inscribed on a work of art for all time; and Ovid’s understanding that our engagement with the world always demands of us a metamorphosis, the inescapably wondrous child of a marriage of the self and the other.
The lyric voice of these poems, the sage of our hearts and minds, reveals a multiplicity of forms in shaded clearings between myth and mystery, and especially in the musicality encountered by the reader in the poet’s carefully crafted score of the written word. Kissed and séanced into being, these subtle and seamless poems cast long shadows on our worldly marketplace of war, our arenas of competition and the haunting absence of our spiritually dispossessed gods.
As Weyman Chan crafts words for his stratified layers of landscape across space and time, a path is made for the reader to follow. Beneath the narrative foliage of Chinese pre-history, family stories of love and survival, and wanderings from the compass point of the conventional, our sage “teaches all / and leaves none out”—what it takes to enter this new world is our willingness to travel with some unlikely spirit guides: a five-thousand-year-old, elixir-wearied Lunar rabbit; an old man who wears the sun’s countenance; a microscopist in search of constellations in the illusion of darkness beyond death.
This book is an intimate journey of rituals attempting to find their origin, where past and future are seen to conjoin to construct one biography in a fractured and disbelieving age.