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

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trip of No Return: A Tanka Sequence

In Search of Lost Time
on the plane
she asks
if the past ever passes

we sit
side by side on the balcony
eating gelato
the June moon
comes out and turns red

taking photos of her
pushing the Leaning Tower
of Pisa
those three words
slip out of my mouth

tourists crowd
around Leda and the Swan
I wonder
if our first kiss
was a real one

a homeless man
playing the blues harp
on the steps
in Piazza di Spagna...
a summer cloud passes

at the moonlit Colosseum
she slips
her hand out of mine
and starts monologuing

Duomo at dusk...
is its shadow
broad enough to cover
the space
between her heart and mine

running outside
into the Venice night air
with the burden
of soaked memories...
I feel the length of longing

standing alone
before a wooden Jesus
in a side chapel
does Adam remember
the dust of his clay

broken shadows
in the moonlit garden
I alone
murmur in my mother tongue
on this dreamless night

published in Atlas Poetica, #10, Fall 2011