Poet and cosmologist Yun Wang grew up in rural southwest China. She began writing poetry when she was 12, and majored in Physics at Tsinghua University when she was 16. She came to the U.S. for graduate school in Physics in 1985. She is the author of two poetry books, The Book of Totality, (Salmon Poetry Press, 2015) and The Book of Jade, Winner of the 15th Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, (Story Line Press, 2002), two poetry chapbooks, Horse by the Mountain Stream, (Word Palace Press, 2016,)  The Carp, (Bull Thistle Press, 1994), and a book of poetry translations, Dreaming of Fallen Blossoms: Tune Poems of Su Dong-Po, (White Pine Press, forthcoming 2018). Wang’s poems have been published in numerous literary journals, including “The Kenyon Review”, “Cimarron Review”, “Salamander Magazine”, “Green Mountains Review”, and “International Quarterly.”  Her translations of classical Chinese poetry have been published in “Poetry Canada Review”, “Willow Springs”, “Connotation Press”, and elsewhere. Wang is a Senior Research Scientist at California Institute of Technology. She is the author of the cosmology graduate textbook, Dark Energy, (Wiley/VCH, 2010). She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012.

Three Poems from "Horse by the Mountain Stream"

Sam's Questions

Why does a monkey toss nuts
onto the stone riverbank?
Where did songbirds learn to sing?
How did music begin?

Why does “ma” mean “mother”
in every human language?
Why was a princess called Tiger Lily?
How are words made?

Where did the world come from?
How did leaves begin to eat sunlight?
What would someone see
from the dark side of the moon?


Face on Mars

The path was there before anyone
human trod it

A random formation in nature

On the lofty cross the white-gowned angel
lifted her hells

At your finger’s touch
the wreath of daisies
turns to ashes
shadow of a candlestick

Your eyes wake from darkness

You were told it was all in you
deep at the bottom
nothing but revelation

How many times have you died
and lived to see
the angel shedding whiteness
the tomb of millennia open



Rocks bounce backlit waterdrops
sparkling gnats of time
Ferns line up luminous banners

The temple of ancient pine grove
hushes thoughts

My son closes his eyes to listen
to the waterfall’s song
brightens it with his presence


Yung Wang



© 2017 Yun Wang


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