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

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Slabs of Concrete Tanka

written in response to BBC News, Feb. 8: "Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll rises to more than 11,000"

snow mixed with drizzle ...
a dust-covered man
holds the hand
of his daughter dying slowly
under slabs of concrete

FYI: The New York Times, Feb. 6: "Here’s how to contribute to organizations that are aiding the rescue and recovery efforts in Turkey and Syria."

Updated on Feb. 11: The tanka is expanded into the following 3-tanka sequence:

Breaking in the News

snow mixed with drizzle ...
a dust-covered man holds the hand
of his daughter
who is dying slowly
under slabs of concrete

I don't know
I don't know how to feel
just empty ...
the reporter's dogged gaze
in the dusty twilight

a midnight scream
penetrates into the sky
frosty moonlight
on a row of apartments
that collapsed like pancakes

FYI: Many buildings have failed in a “pancake mode” of structural collapse due to inadequate seismic reinforcement. For more, see The conversation:Academic rigour, Journalistic flair, Feb. 6: "Earthquake footage shows Turkey’s buildings collapsing like pancakes. An expert explains why"


a black shawl
over her shoulders
she paces endlessly
back and forth through the hallway
muttering, where's my home?

AddedThis Brave New World, LXIX

by bullshit, liar, and peals
of laughter
the President's speech and silence
about the State of Dis/Union

FYI: It was considered a travesty when Republican Joe Wilson shouted, "you lie,"  at President Barack Obama during the 2009 State of Union Address. Back then, Wilson was Formally rebuked by the WHOLE House. 

And this time around, Republican lawmakers shouted both “liar” and “bullshit” at parts of President Joe Biden’s speech, and no one appeared shocked. After the speech, Republican Andy Ogles of Tennessee defended yelling out “it’s your fault” as Biden described the fentanyl crisis, telling reporters it was “a visceral response.”