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

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Selected Haibun: Breath

for Martin Heidegger

slanted sunlight
through the window
reading jisei

My father doesn't talk about death because he cares more about leaving behind a good reputation. My mother is skilled at evading death-talk because she is afraid of severing the ties with her loved ones. My older brother doesn’t care about death because he thinks he is strong enough to face all challenges head on and head strong. My younger brother doesn’t mention death at all because he is busy enjoying life, here and now. I often think about death

first sunrise…
pulling out a patch
of gray hair

Contemporary Haibun Online, 8:1, April 2012

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Selected Haibun: Shadows

Pallbearers carry her small casket through the back door and into the garden, through a field of tall grass and into the cemetery.

dust to dust…
an eagle’s shadow
circles us

A Hundred Gourds, 1:3, June 2012

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Selected Haibun: I Become the One Who Forgets His Dream Song

for John Berryman

solstice ...
counting snowflakes
on the window

There are two voices fighting for the control of my mind. One says, “Just keep writing,” and I ask, “writing for whom?” The other whispers in the dark, “for the dead whom you did love.”

first light ...
my copy of The Middle Way

I start to spin the poems of darkness out of falling snow.

Contemporary Haibun Online, 8:1, April 2012
Anthologized in Contemporary Haibun, 14, 2013

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Selected Haibun: The Last Gaze

Slanting through the attic window, a ray of sunlight touches my coffee-stained desk.

I look out at the maple branches swaying in the breeze. From nowhere, I feel the stab of a memory -- you waving me goodbye.

mid-autumn moon...
the sound of the wind

Kokako 16, April 2012

Selected Tanka: Summer Stars tanka

summer stars
hang nearly within reach
her parting words
whisper through the grass
that pillows our heads

Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, 2012

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Selected Tanka: Distant Howl Tanka

distant howl …
in what remains of this spring night
I hear
the echo of footsteps
inside my mind

Every Day Poets,  April 16, 2012

Monday, March 13, 2017

Selected Haiku: Thoughts of Returning Home Haiku

plum blossoms ...
I shake off all thoughts
of returning home

Editor’s Choice Haiku, Acorn, #28, Spring 2012

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Routine Crises

I key in the headline Dozens dead after boat capsizes. Phones ring, and laptops chatter with stories from around the world. Adrenaline pumps through my body like a tidal wave.

fading tracks
on an Aegean shore
at twilight
which of them belong to those
who drowned in cold water

I glance at the oversized clock on the rear wall of the newsroom. Its hands march closer and closer toward the deadline. And the refugee story waits to be replaced . . . with the latest news from the front lines of yet another war-torn country.

Make or Break

We each sink into our own thoughts.  I sit at one end, she at the other end of the table we assembled many years ago. Like our life, the table is now scratched and worn. A siren wails in the distance. I look up and see a lone winter star blinking through the window. It's past midnight, and the question between us remains unanswered.

divorce talk
our dog sits quietly
with her back to me

Haibun Today, 11:1, March 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Selected Haibun: I Remember

those days when we were like sheep herded into church by missionaries and told to keep our heads down, backs straight, and hands folded.

"Our Father in heaven,… Give us this day our daily bread… deliver us from evil."

Christmas Eve --
I turn my back on Jesus
to face the moon

Multiverses, 1, Spring 2012