Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Slow Descent Tanka

the slow descent
into noisy silence
on New Year's Eve
a spasm of depression
grabs me by the throat

hedgerow, 64, Feb 12 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Without the Middle

A Tanka Sequence

on a blade of grass
at twilight
this lingering fear,
I want a divorce

surge of the wind ...
her voice hardens
into its rigid strength,
I love you, Eric,
but I can't stand you anymore

all those nights
her moist smile nuzzled
the nape of my neck ...
now in the dim light
one wedding pillow left

a white trail
left in the winter sky
by her plane --
I still wait for the turn
and wave of her hand

Third Prize, Haiku Canada Tanka Story Contest, 2016

Judge's Comment by Angela Leuck (Haiku Canada Review, 10:1, February 2016, p. 47): The story is enhanced by effective and contrasting imagery: the poet refers to delicate, transitory phenomenon like "dewdrops" and a plane's "white trail," while the wife's steely determination to leave is indicated by the use of strong words like "blade," "hardens" and 'rigid strength." The poet also evokes endings through reference to the day's end: "twilight" and "dim light."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Selected Tanka: Time Tanka

casting no glances
at me
Time is a hectic traveler --
I've greyed
inside out

Honorable Mention, 2009 Saigyo Awards for Tanka

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Dragonfly's Wings Haiku

emerald flicker                       
of a dragonfly's wings            
first day of school    

Highly Commended, 2015 Iris Haiku Contest

Croatian Translation

smaragdno treperenje
krila vilina konjica
prvi dan škole

Selected Tanka: Singing Skylark

as I approach
half of her stiffens
and half melts away --
every now and then
I hear a skylark singing

Magnapoets, 4, July 2009

Monday, February 8, 2016

Selected Tanka: Darkness Tanka

drifting in a dream
turned into a bird
flying over the Pacific --
I open my eyes
upon darkness again

Ribbons, 5:2, Summer 2009

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Selected Kyoka: Meditation Kyoka

while shoveling my driveway --
snow is just snow
yet sometimes not snow
but in the end snow

Ribbons, 5: 1, Spring 2009

Note: Ls 3-5 allude  to a Buddhist saying originally formulated by Qingyuan Weixin, later translated by D.T. Suzuki in his Essays in Zen Buddhism, one of the first books to popularize Buddhism in Europe and the US. Qingyuan writes:

Before I had studied Chan (Zen) for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Selected Haiku: Swirling Bats Haiku

bats swirling
across the prairie --
ink-stained desk

3LIGHTS, Winter 2010 
Anthologized in New Resonance 7: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku and featured in "Per Diem" of The Haiku Foundation website (June 5, 2012)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Selected Short Poem: Thinking of Li Po Under a Moonlit Night

for Li Po (also known as Li Bai, 701-762) who is known for his poem, "Drinking Alone by Moonlight" and called the God of Poetry, but who only called himself the god of wine.

Bending my mind,
I dig all my English words
out of a moonlit night --
a Chinese coolie laboring
in a foreign mine.

Gazing at the moon,
I think of Li Po
and drink a full cup ...
This winter has come
to me and me alone.

Word Catalyst, 9:2, May 2009

Note: In celebration of the upcoming 7th anniversary of being a published writer of Japanese short form poetry, I am pleased to announce a new publishing project, Selected Short Poems by Chen-ou Liu.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Selected Senryu: Coffin Senryu

mourners weeping,
yet a picture smiles
above the coffin

Prune Juice, 3, Winter 2010

Note: In celebration of the upcoming 7th anniversary of being a published writer of Japanese short form poetry, I am pleased to announce a new publishing project, Selected Senryu by Chen-ou Liu.