Platinum City - Poem by Yuan Hongri

Contemporary World Literature: Poetry from China

World Literature

Platinum City - Poem by Yuan HongriContemporary World Literature Poetry from China

A Poem by Mystic Poet Yuan Hongri

Translated by Manu Mangattu

About the Poet

Yuan-Hongri-Yuan Hongri (born 1962) is a renowned Chinese mystic, poet, and philosopher. His work has been published in the UK, USA, India, New Zealand, Canada, and Nigeria; his poems have appeared in Poet’s Espresso Review, Orbis, Tipton Poetry Journal, Harbinger Asylum, The Stray Branch, Acumen, Pinyon Review, Taj Mahal Review, Madswirl, Shot Glass Journal, Amethyst Review, Fine Lines, and other e-zines, anthologies, and journals. His best known works are “Platinum City” and “Golden Giant”. His works explore themes of prehistoric and future civilization.

Platinum City

Ah! Of iridescent gems of time

The heavenly road you paved light!

In a kingdom of stars,

I found my home.

In the golden cities,

I opened the gates of the city to the sun,

To behold the godly giants!

At the royal palace of the jewel

I read of prehistoric wonderful poems

The enormous, gorgeous ancient books!

Carved with the golden words

The wondrous strange mystery tales,

Made my eyes drunken!

I walked into the full new universes,

And saw the holy kingdoms:

Even before the earth was born

The erstwhile home of human history!

Across Time and Space in crystalline glitter

Stands this moment a platinum city –

The spaceships drifting leisurely,

Like the birds, resplendent in variegated hues.

In the crystal garden I saw

A crowd of youthful giants,

Their eyes were bright and glittering

In the aura of the body sparkle..

They sang happy songs

They danced a wonderful dance

Lanky boys and girls in pairs

As if to celebrate the splendid carnival!

I saw a circular edifice

High above the city

Giving out white-bright lightning

Raised ground to fly into the quiet space!

A frame of platinum edifice

Creating a beautiful pattern

The whole city is a circle

Arranged into a fine structure!

 Into a bright hall I went.

A strange instrument there I saw.

A huge screen hanging on the wall,

Displaying a golden space

Like bits of colorful crystal gemstones!

Resplendent with variegated colors of the city!

Those strange and beautiful high-rise buildings

A sight better than the myth of the world!

I saw lines of strange letters.

On one side of the screen flashed swiftly

Numerous young and strong giants

An effort to concentrate on the changing images

Their look is quiet and peaceful.

The learned flame flashes in their eyes.

In a flash of clothes

The next is a whole.

Their stature, unusually tall

Each one is well-nigh seven meters high.

Both men and women look dignified

Almost no age difference apparent

Their skin is white as snow

With a faint flashy shine

Bright eyes are as naive as an infant’s

Also kindled with a strange flame

They manipulate the magic of the instrument.

The pictures of the changing space

Their language is artless and plane.

As the bell is generally pleasant

As I survey the length and breadth of the bright hall

I feel a powerful energy

Body and mind suffused with bliss and delight.

As if I too am a giant.

I seem to understand their language.

They are exploring the mysteries of the universe.

The cities on a lot of planets

Peopled with their countless partners

Their mind they use to manipulate the instrument

Also can to transfer data be used

Even thousands of miles apart

Also to talk free to the heart

Many lines of text on the screen

Is but a message from afar

The whole universe is their home.

They build cities in space.

They use the spaceships

To transport you to far-distant other spaces

Into a lightning, a moment, and you

Vanish into thin air, without a trace.

I feel a new civilization.

They have magical eyes.

They seem to be able to see the future

And can enter diverse time-spaces.

Men and women are holy and loving

Superior to our world’s so-called love

They don’t seem to understand ageing

Neither do they know about war.

Time seems not to exist

Science is just a wonderful art

Their happiness comes from the creation of

A universe full of divine love

I saw a young giant

Opening the door of a platinum

A round, magnificent hall

Packed with rows of giant s of men and women

I saw a crystal stage.

Gyrating at the center of the hall

Where a dignified and beautiful girl

Was playing a huge musical instrument

A bunch of golden rays,

Shifting with all kinds of brilliant graphics

A mysterious and beautiful music

Like the Dragon leisurely crowing.

Thence I saw an enormous giant

Jump out of the remarkable dance onto the stage.

His hands held a huge ball

That flashed with many colorful drawing

I saw a group of young girls

Wearing a kind of white dresses

They seemed to fly lightly

Like the giant cranes.

The huge circular hall was resplendent

With clear, transparent decoration

Like a bizarre gem of a full set,

Scintillating brilliantly in the light

I saw a young singer

About the golden flame

The sound was strange and striking

Like singing, like chanting too.

Their music is at once mysterious and blissful

That shift randomly like the lightning

As if many planets of the universe

Shining bright and light?6?7 in space.

The crystal city, aloft in space

Looks resplendent, magnificent

Countless wonderful golden flowers

Bloom and blush in that flawless space.

I saw an image of a transparent smiling face,

As if it were a colorful garden

The sky shed the golden light

And turned it into a city of gold

I strode out of the circular hall

Came to a wide street with a smooth

Pavement covered with precious stones

And in line with the platinum edifice

There are no terrestrial trees here,

But they are in full bloom with a lot of exotic flowers.

Sparkling with rich incense,

Shaping a garden at the center of the street

Some strange flowers were there.

The branches as transparent crystal

Flashing all kinds of brilliant colors;

And bunches of round golden fruit

I saw a huge statue.

It was like a spaceship.

Clustered around by shining stars,

High above the center of the street

I saw the column of a dazzling fountain

In a huge circle in the square;

The elegantly modelled statues

Portraying the holy giants

The soaring magnificent edifices

Ran round the circle square

There were some garden villas

There was a platinum steeple.

I saw a wide river

Girdling this huge city

The bottom flashed with transparent gold dust,

Amidst which were scattered brilliant gems.

The planning of tall trees on shore

And a long crystal corridor

A big multi-colored bird

Three five one group floated on the surface of the water.

I saw a vast forest

The swaying tree, a tree of gold

The trees with towering spires

And as some platinum Pavilion

I saw some giants along the walk,

Some male and female bodybuilders

At the water’s brink or in the forest

Like birds carefree and relaxed.

The wonderful space was as bright as crystal

Embraced this platinum city;

A giant, white and bright ball

Flashing boundless light into the air

It resembled the huge suns

And like the man-made planets

The whole city was shining too,

Weaving a rare breed of magic

A strange speeding train circled

About the city back and forth;

There seemed to be a kind of track in the sky

Like a shiny silver curve.

They seated body white buildings

As if it was a dreamlike maze

This huge city was unusually quiet,

Could not even hear the sound of the wind

I bade goodbye to the platinum city.

Near a golden space

Stands another city here

A huge city of gold

The building here is also huge.

But it’s another beautiful shape.

The whole city glittering

Golden edifice as beautiful as sculpture

Here there live some other giants.

As if from another nation

They have boundless wisdom.

Like a golden, holy civilization.


Chinese poet-philosopher Hongri Yuan’s Platinum City poem is his vision while meditating in 1991 and written in 1998. It is his view of a civilization from the ancient past, its connection with ancient human life and the projection that with more awareness humans could become a universal civilization. From his consideration of ancient times wherein humans were giant-like and more idealized and gods idealized beings, he suggests that this view offers us a glimpse of what mankind may become with elimination of boundaries of nation, race and religion.  Yuan believes that concepts of good vs. evil and beauty vs. ugliness will dissipate and humans can achieve a more universal civilization and homeland in the universe.  Further, Yuan notes that prior times don’t disappear but remain locked within Space, and discovery of more such civilizations can only provide humans with keys to our advancement in the future.


About the Translator

MANU MANGATTUManu Mangattu Assistant Professor, Department of English, St George College Aruvithura, India, is poet, editor, director and rank-holder. He has published 7 books, 73 research articles and 36 conference papers apart from 14 edited volumes with ISBN. He serves as chief editor/editor for various international journals. He has done UGC funded projects and a SWAYAM-MOOC course. Besides translations from Chinese and Sanskrit, he writes poetry in English as well as in Indian languages. He was named “Comrade to Poetry China” in 2016. A visiting faculty at various universities and a quintessential bohemian-vagabond, he conducts poetry readings, workshops and lectures when inspired. After an apprenticeship in Shakespeare under Dr. Stephen Greenblatt, he currently guides 23 research scholars and mentors NET English aspirants. He can be reached at email: