Friday, May 12, 2006


When I was attending BYU, I took 3½ years of Mandarin ( three years of language and a semester of calligraphy ).

I loved it.

Loved loved loved.

During my first year, I did something quite daring: I signed-up for the year-end speech contest... and instead of reading a passage or something other from some well-known author, I decided to write my own.

I've always loved poetry, and I've written a great deal of it in my life ( though most of it during my youth ), and the idea of writing a poem and *performing* it was more than I could resist.

I prayed over it, and thought over it... wrote and re-wrote it... And then finally performed it.

Prior to the performance, one of the judges pulled me aside and told me how much he loved the poem, and that he would like to have it published back in China ( presumably in some collection of English-speaker-authored poetry ). He then gave me a suggestion on the last line which I smiled at ( then dismissed... I liked it as-is... I'm stubborn that way ).

After the contest, I put the poem aside. My life had become VERY BUSY, and I forgot about the poem for a while. When I went to look for it, I couldn't find it. Every year or so, I'd think about the poem and dig through all of my old paperwork — to no avail.

Fast forward 12 years... I'm returning from church the week before last, and I walk into my store room. I just stand there and look at all the boxes of books waiting for my shelves to be built ( I do this a lot... not having my books out on shelves is really hard on me ). And I think to myself, spying a box filled with old Franklin planners, "I wish I knew whatever happened to that poem". I go to the box, pull out a binder with 1994's archives, and let it fall open.

And there she is.

My poem.

God heard my prayer, and gave me a gift... Even now, my eyes well-up with tears to think of God's tender mercies.

It's such a small thing, really... to Him. But it was a perfect gift for me. I can't really ever repay Him... but I think all He really wants is my honest gratitude. And what better way to thank Him, than to share His twice-over gift with others. So it is with joy that I finally present my little poem about fireflies and August skies...


停! 聽星星唱。

I hope you like it.

In passing, though, I should mention that after 12 years, my Mandarin has faltered a bit, and I had to turn to my dear friend Cam, whose Mandarin is impeccable. He helped me publish it here by providing the pinyin. Thanks Cam! You're a super-star!

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