Friday, February 20, 2015

The Year of the Ram 2015: A Poem to Celebrate Chinese New Year

you make a mistake and want to erase it
from the board.
you tire of dabbing the bottom of the paint cup.

you want a fresh start,
to break free from the same-old, same-old,
be brand new, but still be you.

China? they know how to work with
the same old thing,
they’ve have been at it for five thousand years.

so every Chinese New Year’s,
there are reasons we clean our houses
from top to bottom, sweep away
last year’s bad luck with a broom.

what better time to wear new clothes,
make up with friends you’ve had fights with,
paint the front door with a fresh coat of red,
spread out bright flowers and bowls of glowing fruit.

and most of all, spill by the hundreds to line streets for
parades of dragon puppets 50-people long,
looping and curving into a long-life ahead,

to see lions dance with roosters 
dance with monkeys,
and watch clowns mime, 
somersault and walk on stilts.

gongs and cymbals ring through icy air
warming the winter February here in Chinatown
into a new spring we can’t yet see, but can imagine.
even our ancestors celebrate,
and clap their hands from a faraway place.

there are reasons this happens over and over,
because no matter how old our culture grows,
each year is new to its people,
we are all young ones in this ancient world,

with hopes, ideas and heartbeats
that spark and pop
like a huge braid of firecrackers,

there are countless reasons to believe
that everything we are
will fill up the next year

to the brim.

~ Cynthia Gallaher 


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