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

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Buckingham Palace Tanka

Winter of Discontent, I
written in response to the "fastest selling non-fiction book of all time," [Royal i.e. Expensive yet Useless] Spare, which "captures the [normally] ugly sides of royal life."

Buckingham Palace
in the misty twilight
the motto
engraved on Royal hearts:
[n]ever complain, [n]ever explain

FYI: This tanka, the first of my new writing project, could be read as a sequel to the last tanka of my 9-tanka sequence, "Imperial leftovers: Seeing Is Believing," a poem written in response to the New Yorker's September 10 2022 question: Would Britain be better off without the monarchy ?

Its last tanka is as follows:

new royal
favorites and suchlike 
jostle for spots 
on Buckingham Palace's balcony ...
kids in a bakery window

... There were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK [fifth richest country in the world] in 2020-21. That's 27 per cent of children, or eight in a classroom of 30 ...

AddedWinter of Dis/Content, II

inspired by "Prince" Harry [Royal/Expensive Spare]'s "inglorious episode" with an older woman, who treated him “not unlike a young stallion."

after a quick ride
this red-haired woman
smacks my rump ...
in the muddy field 
a part of me released


winds whip up snow squalls --
the man with a British accent
yells at my friend
a fifth-generation CBC
Go back to where you came from

FYI: CBC, Canadian-born Chinese, along with its American counterpart, ABC, is commonly used in North American diaspora/immigration literature.

Added: written for the 21st anniversary of the reopening of the notorious prison at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay

row upon row of men
in orange jumpsuits with black hoods
Joe Biden: No Gitmo

FYI: Democracy Now, Jan. 12: Protesters Demand Closure of Guantánamo Prison on 21st Anniversary 

In an open letter to President Biden, the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights and over 150 other groups wrote, “The Guantánamo detention facility was designed specifically to evade legal constraints, and Bush administration officials incubated torture there. … Guantánamo continues to cause escalating and profound damage to the aging and increasingly ill men still detained indefinitely there, most without charge and none having received a fair trial.”