Visual Poem by Yi Feng
Sometimes, I see the female symbol ♀ as representing a little mirror—a superficial reflection—and one of the most famous questions: “Mirror, mirror, who is the most beautiful woman in the world” will come into my mind. But in this visual poem, I would like it to be a lake, a river, or a blue ocean, which represents thriving life and love, and nurtures humans and the world. When I see a male symbol ♂, I sometimes see it as a charged arrow/error, a weapon, and something violent and powerful. It also represents Mars, a red planet, but in fact extremely cold in temperature. In “Hourglass—’It Is Time!’ Or Something Else”, I mostly use fire to fill in the shape of the male symbol and make water overflow out of the female symbol, because I want to show the common perceptions of genders in today’s world, like water and fire. However, since both elements are so essential to our nature, as time goes on and the sandglass turns over, words in this visual poem are reversed, or crossed over, and I hope that the world would follow suit in change. All genders can be empowered, and no one gender has a weapon. Learn with each other and keep a good balance. It is time that we stop any one gender’s hegemony and correct all these errors in the world. As I insert some Chinese characters into this poem in English, I would also like to think that cultural conflicts resemble genders conflicts, to a large extent. I hope that this little visual poem can show the subtle relationship between humans and nature, and the way of coexistence of different cultures.
Yi Feng is a scholar, poet, translator and associate professor at Northeastern University, China. She was a visiting scholar at University of Pennsylvania in 2016.