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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Selected Tanka Prose: Being-in-the-World

“What is human life?” I once asked my philosophy professor. I didn’t get a satisfactory answer then, and don’t have one even now.

day by day
I get up, eat, read, write
and sleep --
my mind grows grayer
with each night's dream

It is commonly believed that human life is like a blade of grass that sprouts in early spring, grows green and strong in summer, and then, as time slips by, withers in late autumn, and finally dies out in winter.

I stare
at the sun steadily
seeing Death
wave to me
I wave back and start writing

Atlas Poetica, 9, Summer 2011