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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

At the Gun-Mouth of Time: A Haibun

Being here. Sitting at my desk. I see the maple tree in the front yard. It has lost all of its leaves, simply relinquishing the riches of the season without any grief; it lets go and goes deep into its roots for sleep and renewal for the upcoming year.

the sun setting
last photo of my youth
amid morning-glories

Sometimes I wonder if it is possible to reinvent one's self in middle age. Can I control resentment and regrets, master a new language, and express my thoughts and emotions fully in a borrowed tongue? If I can't, I will gradually lose who I was, become uncertain -- insecure about who I am and what I am going to do for the rest of my life.

first snowfall…
my borrowed tongue
searching for words

Does anything in nature despair besides man? Does a wounded animal with one foot caught in a trap despair? Or it is just too busy trying to survive, closed in on itself to a kind of still, intense, and seemingly endless waiting.

a lone star
in the moonless sky --
one howl, then many

Zen masters proclaim that is it possible to live a life moment by moment, taking notice of the change in each instant.

flake after flake
falls atop one another…
day’s end



published in Chrysanthemum, #10, October 2011