Chen-ou Liu's 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.”