found within
your guts were

small stones for

empty skull
deep and wide

secrets storm—
war inside!

tell us, then
who wins when

drought demon
meets rain god?

dragon’s tail
waving through

splits milky
way in two


Inspired by: Li Wen Chang’s Shan Hai Ching, 2014, featuring symbols that represent Chinese gods from the classic 4th Century BC text.

Symbol: #26 of 45

Poetic Form: I chose the three-character line form, one of several that Chinese poets in ancient times used for poems with lines of fixed length. This form is best known from a children’s book written in three-character eight-line verse in rhymed couplets. Of course, these poems were written in characters, but each character translates roughly to one syllable. My poems are eight lines of three syllables each.

Process: I wound up writing two poems and combining them because I spelled the name of my character in symbol #26 two different ways when doing my research! Yinlong, featured in part a, is a dinosaur from the Jurassic period of central Asia; the name means “hidden dragon.” Yinglong, on the other hand, is the right one–the winged dragon from the Shan Hai Ching!

Most of my poems involve research and fact-finding, so I’ll do extended Google searches and grab any material that sparks my interest along the way. I mashed up basic facts about the dinosaur with translated citations from the original text.

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