2014 Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lone Angel Tanka

lone angel
dancing on the head
of a pin
I think; therefore
the Buddha exists

Bright Stars, IV, 2014


1 Ls 1-3 refer to the following question: "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

[This question] has been used many times as a dismissal of medieval angelology in particular, and of scholasticism in general... In modern usage, this question also serves as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value, or questions whose answers hold no intellectual consequence -- excerpted from the Wikipedia entry, How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

2 Ls 4-5 make a parodic allusion to  René Descartes' philosophical proposition, "I think, therefore I am."

Winter Solstice Tanka

winter solstice...
in dreams we begin
cheek to cheek
but end nose to nose
feeling the heat of our breath

Bright Stars, IV, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dog and Eagle Tanka

on a morning stroll
with my old dog...
against a clouded sky
the silhouette of an eagle

Bright Stars, IV, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Winter Tanka

three winters gone ...
my ex silhouetted
with another man
in the window
of my mind

Bright Stars, IV, 2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cancer Tanka

do you think
my cancer will get cancer...?

the smug look
on his skinny face
keeps me drunk on writing

Bright Stars, IV, 2014

First Hailstorm Tanka

first hailstorm...
her parting words
like shrapnel
peppers my mind
tearing old scabs

Bright Stars, IV, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Haiku Set about Racism

for Abraham Joshua Heschel who proclaims that Racism is man's gravest threat to man.

those slanted eyes
in the room silence
like thunder

racism talk
what does white
smell like?

Note:  The phrase, "slanted eyes," is a racist slur that refers to a person of Asian descent, especially of Chinese descent.