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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sultry Night Tanka

my roommate
used to sing himself to sleep
with Chinese songs . . .
on this sultry night
his O Canada thunders

Atlas Poetica, 25, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Buzz of Love Tanka

I love you
but can’t be with you . . .
in a stand
of leafless sourwood trees
I still hear the buzz of love

Atlas Poetica, 25, 2016

Crust of Bread Tanka

sparrows pecking
at a crust of bread
on the sidewalk
an old man and his dog
cocooned together

NeverEnding Story, August 9, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Unseen Men Tanka

the sky
whitewashed by the sun
a young woman
yelling at unseen men
grabs at the air

Atlas Poetica, 25, 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

War Veteran Tanka

the wall clock
chimes, chimes, then stops . . .
in dim light
the Iraq War veteran’s mouth
turns into an O shape

Atlas Poetica, 25, 2016

No Means No Tanka

his lawyer
dissects her story
and memories . . .
outside the courthouse
women chanting, no means no

Atlas Poetica, 25, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Red Light Tanka

the red light
flashing in the cold air . . .
I am caught
in the rush-hour traffic
of his anti-Muslim talk

Atlas Poetica, 25, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Selected Tanka: Sleepless Winter Night Tanka

sleepless winter night...
smashing the attic window
with my bare hands
I pick up
scattered pieces of myself

Ribbons, 7:1, Spring 2011

Selected Tanka: Caged Eagle Tanka

the caged eagle
just those few cubic feet
of freedom...
I see in its eyes
a skyful of my dreams

Simply Haiku, 9:1, Spring 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Border Haiku

winter twilight
crossing the border
a child's shadow

4th Prize, 2016 New Zealand Poetry Society Haiku Competition

Judge's Comment: "winter twilight" is very much in the zeitgeist, the spirit of the time. The poem is literally, and metaphorically, dark. We are reminded of the plight of refugees fleeing a war zone, of a child slipping past the border guards on his/her mission for freedom. The poet has intentionally specified a child, drawing on the vulnerability of innocent young lives affected by the bombing of their homes by super powers, collateral damage in the hostilities that we read about in the media, that we see on the nightly television news. The poet specifies ‘crossing the border'. This haiku brings an immediacy to the realities of world conflict and if one more child is free we should, by inference, celebrate this. A thoughtful haiku.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Convention Floor Tanka

written in response to Hillary Clinton's presidential nomination

shards of glass
on the convention floor
a black woman
cleaning up the mess
for the minimum wage

NeverEnding Story, July 28, 2016