Tanka by Chen-ou Liu in Canada (1)

 In September, 2010,  I received an e-mail from Chen-ou Liu.

Dear Mr. Hidenori Hiruta
I came across your website while looking for the haiku written in different languages.  I was amazed by your efforts in spreading a love for Japanese short form poetry.  I wish you success in all your endeavors.
And I would like to submit the following poems for your consideration for publication on the Akita International HST Network. I shall be pleased if you translate some that appeal you much.
Warm Regards
Chen-ou Liu



First of all, I would like to refer to a brief bio of Chen-ou Liu:
Chen-ou Liu was born in Taiwan and emigrated to Canada in 2002. He lives in Ajax, a suburb of Toronto, where he has been struggling with a life in transition and translation.


Chen-ou is a contributing writer for Rust+Moth and Haijinx. His poetry has been published and anthologized worldwide. His tanka have been honored with awards, including the Saigyo Awards for Tanka 2009 (honorable mention) and the 2009 San Francisco International Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and Rengay Competition (tanka third place).
For more information about Chen-ou’s writing career, please read An Interview with Chen-ou Liu by Robert D. Wilson  

 (accessed at http://simplyhaiku.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/interview-with-chen/).

 And read more of his poetry at his website,

 Poetry in the Moment (http://chenouliu.blogspot.com/).

All the best,
Chen-ou Li

Next I present some of his tanka with my Japanese translations.



bare trees
stand along the road
in a row
seeing me off
to another world




the threads
of a thousand poems
dangle on
the tip of a crescent moon
over my attic   



that first gulp of air
and last breath —
a transitional flow
of yin and yang




a blue bird
darts into blossoms and out
I wander and yearn
my hometown an ocean away




standing alone
by the main entrance
of the airport
I ponder the verb wait
transitive or intransitive




my world
is coiled on rolls of film
and projected nightly
on the screen of my mind —
when is the reel world not real?




Baker’s Bliss
sets out its morning bread
on the racks
I am drunk
on the spring breeze




will be the same
for tomorrow never changes —
the kite of my days
cut from the string of Life




if I put
a gun in my mouth
and splatter
my brain on cherry blossoms…
a timeless jisei?




my days
aren’t graphed in ideograms
but lined up
like the English alphabet —
Chinese in the promised land




in the mirror
a stranger
stares back at me
a man with no eyes




living alone
in a world of one color
devours each hour
then neglects the rest




I close
the valves of my heart
to the world of red dust
solitude and I
are now of the same race


(Note: Red dust is a Buddhist set-phrase for the world and its passions)
I sincerely hope that you will be absorbed in tanka world of Chen–ou Liu.


The next posting ‘Haiku by Kaa. Na. Kalyanasundaram in India (1) ’  appears on November 6.


― Hidenori  Hiruta 


5 thoughts on “Tanka by Chen-ou Liu in Canada (1)

  1. These are two of my favourites,

    in the mirror
    a stranger
    stares back at me
    a man with no eyes

    and this says so much about you as a poet:

    the threads
    of a thousand poems
    dangles on
    the tip of a crescent moon
    over my attic

    Two from me:

    before falling in love
    with my wife
    again and again
    the cries of swifts

    Alan Summers

    lifting me away
    from the computer
    to my kitchen window
    the early morning honks
    of canada geese

    Alan Summers

  2. Alan,

    Glad you like my tanka.

    The aural images of your tanka are impressive. The use of repletion in the first tanka is emotionally effective, and I can fully relate to the second tanka.

    Thanks for sharing.


  3. Hi, Chen-ou,

    My name is Tad Wojnicki, and I’m a college prof from USA, teaching English in yr home country of Taiwan. I’m also Editor of a new haiku periodical named, Haiku Pix Review. Please, visit: http://www.haikupix.com/

    I love yr tanka published by Hiruta-San, and I’d like to invite u to submit yr haiku/tanka to my attention: haiku@haikupix.com/

    Thx for sharing yr lovely work,

  4. Ted,

    Glad you like my tanka.

    I’m honored by your invitation. I’ll submit my work later this week to your journal.



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