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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What's in a Name?, A Tanka Prose

Jean-Martin Aussant, founder of the left-wing sovereigntist Option Nationale party...waking up Friday morning with his children in Edinburgh.
“Scotland is really beautiful, papa!” they remarked.
He corrected them: “We are in the United Kingdom.”
-- “Quebec sovereigntists take lessons from failed Scottish referendum,” Toronto Star


listening to the words
Independence Referendum
that have aged
since my last trip home... half moon
over the Taiwan Strait

Living on Ilha Formosa, we are haunted by a war of names,
fighting for the Republic of China/Taiwan.
We Chinese, we Taiwanese, will never end our civil war --
a bloody bloodless civil bore.

No Kamikazes crashing, no Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. murdered.
To Uncle Sam and Brother Momotaro, we are the good soldiers.
Lacking the ghosts of history, we are haunted by names.


Note: In 1544, a Portuguese ship sighted the main island of Taiwan and named it "Ilha Formosa," which means “Beautiful Island.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

Journeys, A Haiku Sequence

for the country of my birth

Sintra at dawn
a carriage horse
clip-clop, clip-clops ...

Lisbon heat
taxis rattle and screech
through cobbled lanes

Belem in twilight
her sailor song tinged
with love and regret

Ilha Formosa ...
sailors and I cry out
in a fleeting dream

Cattails, 3, 2014

Note: In 1544, a Portuguese ship sighted the main island of Taiwan and named it "Ilha Formosa," which means “Beautiful Island.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Peking Duck Haiku

evening breeze
the taste of Peking Duck
on her fingers

Cattails, 3, 2014

(Note: Peking duck, a dish that has been prepared since the imperial era, is considered a national dish of China)

Tit-for-Tat Tanka

my bony hand
writes tanka by itself
despite
the tit-for-tat
between heart and mind

Gusts, 20, Fall/Winter 2014