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February 2017

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Judy Hardin Cheung was born, raised and still lives in Sonoma County, California. She is retired teacher who began teaching kindergarten in Methodist Sunday School at age 13, for 4 ½ years taught 7th grade English, reading and social studies in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and taught developmentally disabled people for 30 years at Sonoma Developmental Center. She then retired to be secretary and administrator of Chinese language classes for the Redwood Empire Chinese Association, president of Poets of the Vineyard, vice president of Artists Embassy International and secretary of United Poets Laureate International. This year, 2016, Judy is also the president of the 24th World Congress of Poets in Sonoma County, California.

Judy’s current life is filled with people, organizations and working towards the understanding and acceptance of all people as we live with each other around the world. We no longer live in the comfort of isolated communities, ignorant and out of touch with the world. We live in a world of email and FaceBook zapping our words and images around the world in less than a second. Our neighbors, friends and families are now scattered all over the Earth. In-laws no longer necessarily look like our grandparents. The lives of our grandparents are read about in awe as our children study history books. Even we, as older adults, are looked at with disbelief when our computer skills are compatible with Windows 3 instead of Windows 10. We are all teetering on top of a precarious position as we try to balance our cycles and transitions on our ever changing, bumpy road of life.

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Lotus in the Depth

Diving deep, deep within myself,

deeper than the circling predators,

deeper than the strands of kelp,

there is, in the thickest, blackest murk,

a lotus growing from within

radiating light through surrounding darkness

glowing with vibrancy

the essential force and source

of life.

From this lotus, I gather energy

to re-emerge through the dangers,

following strands of kelp

to ascend back into the light

to live my life knowing

there is a solution

deep within myself.

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Traversing the Unknown

           (for all of us making transitions)

Life has been wrenched inside out.

Passions snap in the winds

as the heart is confusingly swathed

in voluminous robes of emotions.

Tornadoes spin chaos.

Ghost hover with incompatible feelings of

comfort / accusations,

security / being pushed.

An unwilling plunge over the brink

spreads veils of illusions

to act as parachute

until a new foothold can be found.

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Perceiving a Quantum Universe

I do not see as others see.

Although I have glasses, my vision is different.

Like a fly, I perceive multiplicities in singularities.

Vastly varied perceptions show me equal realities.

I have learned religious, political and economic divisions.

Yet, through my different lenses, I see “them,”

“the others,” as friends, not enemies.

I see barriers to join people together,

not to keep them apart.

We create our self identity as we grow.

Despite disasters and unbelievably good fortune,

we are created, and more so, create our self

into what we are and will be.

As we age, we regret the loss of youthfulness,

bemoan that we are no longer able,

wish we were more useful, wanted,

less filled with aches and pains

and deteriorating body parts.

We question which reality is real,

that which I had or that which I have,

orthink I have, or believe I do not have,

or that which I might have soon.

Like the vision of a fly, all perceived realities are real.

And like a fly, my thousands of perceived truths

are only a tiny building block of a quark

within the infinite realities spinning

within the multiplicities of our universes.

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When I Fell

                 The tightrope is taught.

                 The distance is far.

                 I will take the next step

                 with arms outspread

                 in case i have to fly.

A perilous step plunged me into darkness.

I walked the tightrope of life, but fell into a put so far that

I can not bear the words of hope shouted at me from above.

I cannot find anything to grasp as I flail in this morass.

So I cling to myself, but still I fall.

I reject the world that put me here.

I reject the words that meaninglessly tell me to improve.

I reject the bigots who prey on me (and pray on me)

Telling me to do better when they, themselves, are so lost

In their own unknowing sanctimoniousness

That I can not listen to their words gushing with bile.

Eaten away by the acid of well-wishing words

I struggle on, and on, finding my own form of happiness

in the intensity of my dissatisfaction.

If I listen and comply, I fear I will lose my real self

when they pull me into being someone I am not.

I am not connected to them as I am told I am. I am not.

An invisible wall stops my motion.

Ropes dangle, entangle, strangle me.

Unwillingly, I am pulled up to where

the murk that surrounds me is thinner,

warmer, lighter, unwanted.

Others keep pulling. Hands and ropes strangle me

until i stop struggling and accept the aid

to pull myself up screaming, yelling, protesting

until once again, i find myself upon a narrow strand.

                 The tightrope is taught.

                 The distance is far.

                 I will take the next step

                 with arms outspread

                 in case i have to fly.

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touching quiet stream

flowering cherry branches

inscribespring haiku

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I Give You My Heart

I give you my heart—beating, throbbing

lace-strewn and wild, passionately dancing

with skirt and mantillas flinging wide with

anticipation of you seeing me

seeing you

I give you my heart

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Proclamations and Protestations

                    Two Views of Poetry

Poets have a choice to write their poem

by proclaiming beauty describing

a path to achieving positive goals,

or to declaim the wants and degradations

of an unsympathetic, warring world.

The audience who listens to the poems

also have a choice

to listen to the songs of joy and ascendance

which come from the mouths of proclaimers

or to stand behind the dissidents

and receive what is offered

from that end.

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On Leaving a Peopled Dream

I am wakening from a dream

emerging into light.

The darkness behind me

is still peopled

with the ghosts of my experiences.

I can be afraid of them,

orwelcome them into the day.

I can reject them,

or be happy they are with me

and still care.

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