Nothing to Fear But Panic Itself

a response to Juel’s oil on canvas Panic Attack

in her yin and yang existence
      is she bursting
            from a field of flowers
            into a scorpion storm
      or does she escape
            from a scorpion swarm
            into floral bliss
      does she flee from
            or dive into
      and is she blonde or brunette
does the all-dreaming eye
      with its insect sting
      even know or care
            for her fate
or does she just swim, aimless
      from day into night
            into day
her panic itself, key
      to the great balancing act

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a teacher, writer, researcher, and student of Chinese language and culture. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cyborg Chimera and Under the Ash, and a travel guide to the city of Suzhou entitled Suzhou Basics. Her third volume of poetry, Voices of the Elders, is due out in early 2012, and her travel memoir The End of the Line is slated for release in late 2011. Her current projects include writing an updated guide to the city of Shanghai for Urbanatomy and translating Sheng Keyi’s novel 《北妹》 (Northern Girls) for Penguin Books.

Shelly’s poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions, including dark ’til dawn, Things That Disappear, and Studio White • Exhibition 2011. You can visit her website at

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nothing to Fear But Panic Itself

  1. float like a butterfly, sting like a scorpion

  2. 🙂 The painting this one responds to is a pretty evocative piece.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.