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

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Last Drawing Tanka

reading between the lives and writing between the lines, XXXIII

my friend stares
at her son's last drawing:
on a bald head
Zoloft, Prozac, Lithium ...
and a cracked heart


the triage line
snakes around hallway corners
a grey-haired nurse
mumbles ... then collapses
in a sobbing heap


All the Words in Battledress

some hundred miles
from his home stuffed with books
in Kherson
my friend writes poetry by screams 
-- the last stage of lyricism

more war poems
sent by the Ukrainian poet ...
in smoky twilight
the head of I  being cut off
the roof of M falling through

Note: L5 of the first tanka alludes to the following remark:

Miles away from poetry, we still participate in it by that sudden need to scream—the last stage of lyricism. 

-- Romanian philosopher and essayist Emil Cioran, whose work has been known for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, style, and aphorisms

And CBC News, Nov.26Hundreds flee Ukraine's Kherson to escape 'real hell' of Russian shelling: Kilometre-long line of vehicles on Kherson's outskirts as civilians leave recaptured city

The exodus from Kherson came as Ukraine solemnly remembered a Stalin-era famine and sought to ensure that Russia's war in Ukraine doesn't deprive others worldwide of its vital food exports.