“Altar (#3)” from “Broken Chord Sequence”

By Marilyn Chin b. 1955 Marilyn Chin
Why cry over dried flowers?
They’re meant to be straw.
Why cry over miniature roses?
They’re meant to be small.
Why cry over Buddha’s hand citron?
Why cry over the hidden flower?
Why cry over Mother’s burnt forehead?
Her votive deathglow, her finest hour.

“Altar (#3)” from “Broken Chord Sequence,” from Rhapsody in Plain Yellow by Marilyn Chin. Copyright © 2002 by Marilyn Chin. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Source: Rhapsody in Plain Yellow (W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2002)

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Poet Marilyn Chin b. 1955


Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Religion, Buddhism

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 Marilyn  Chin


Poet Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Oregon, in the U.S. Northwest. A noted anthologist, translator and educator as well as a poet and novelist, Chin’s work distills her experiences both as an Asian American and as a politically attuned woman. Her poetry is noted for its direct and often confrontational attitude. “The pains of cultural assimilation infuse her…poems,” wrote Contemporary Women Poets essayist . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, Religion, Buddhism


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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