Taiwanese Literature Festival
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08 August 2018
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Poems from Taiwan

 

1. Poems by Lee Kuei-shien

 

 

Lee Kuei-shien 李魁賢 (b. 1937) has retired from the chairman of National Culture and Arts Foundation. At present he is the Vice President of Movimiento Poetas del Mundo. His works include “Collected Poems” in six volumes, “Collected Essays” in ten volumes, “Translated Poems” in eight volumes, ”Anthology of European Poetry” in 25 volumes, ”Elite Poetry Series” in 30 volumes etc. His book “The Hour of Twilight” has been translated into English, Mongol, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, French, Korean, Bengali, Albanian, Turkish, Macedonian and Serbian languages.

 

 

    Taiwan Island 島嶼台灣

 

You emerge as an island

from the waves of white satin

 

The dense forest of black hair

drifts with longing nostalgia

The beach of soft white sands

is imprinted with numerous kisses of shells

 

Taking a birds-eye view from the sky

the beauty of your texture is so attractive

that I am landing onto your body thirstily

 

You are a mermaid

in the Pacific Ocean

the landmark of my eternal home country

 

 

    My Taiwan, My Hope 我的台灣 我的希望

 

I hear your sound from the morning birds singing.

I feel your passion from the noon sunshine.

I watch your magnificence from sunset glow.

Oh, Taiwan, my home, my love.

 

The coasts have your curve.

The waves have your surge.

The clouds have your elegance.

The flowers have your gesture.

The leaves have your evergreen.

The woods have your burliness.

The bedrocks have your sturdiness.

The mountains have your loftiness.

The streams have your meander.

The rocks have your grandeur.

The roads have your roughness.

 Oh, Taiwan, my land, my dream.

 

In your lung there is my breath.

In your history there is my life.

In your being there is my consciousness.

Oh, Taiwan, my country, my hope.

 

 

    Shaheed Minar* 孟加拉紀念碑

 

In front of the Martyr Monument

the youths sing in praise of peace and

the children paint their vision in competition.

Our tour guide Khan surprises to find

the design of  228 badge on my bonnet,**

the sad memorable happenings in different states.

Half century after the liberation of Bangladesh

the butcher committed crime in murdering Moslems***

is eventually sentenced to death.

The belated justice represents

a substantial justice in Bangladesh.

In my home country Taiwan

how to write the justice still unknown.

On Martyr Monument Square

sun shines brilliantly

distributed all over bright earth

over the smiling faces of Bengali people.

 

*The Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) is a national monument in

  Dhaka, established to commemorate those killed by then East 

  Pakistan government, in the event of Bengali Language Movement

  demonstrations of 1952.

**228 Incident, also known as February 28 Massacre, was an anti-

    government uprising in Taiwan, happened on Feb. 28, 1947.

**On 28 February 2013, the tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain

   Sayeedi to death by hanging for two charges among the eight

   committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

 

 

2. Poems by Li Yu-fang

 

 

LI Yu-fang 利玉芳 (b.1952) won a number of honors including the Wu Zuo-lieu literary prize in 1986, Chen Hsiu-shi poetry Award in 1993, Rong-hou Taiwanese Poet Prize in 2016 and Hakka Achievement prize in 2017 . Her publications of poetry include “The Taste of Living”, “Sunflower”, “The Morning to drink Roselle Tea”, “Collected poems by Li Yu-fang in Taiwanese Poets Series” and “Lantern Flower”, as well as a Chinese-English-Japanese trilingual “Cat”. She participated 2014 International poetry meeting in Chile, 2016 and 2017 Formosa International Poetry Festival in Tamsui, Taiwan, and 2017 Capulí Vallejo y Su Tierra in Peru.

 

 

    The Voyage of Island  島嶼的航行            

 

1﹒

The ship left Taiwan in favorable wind

You therefore entered one colony island

 

Your identity was recognized immediately

Rendered you a free movement

 

In the future

Living in this established town

The sovereignty still attributed to it.

 

You grouped the sea birds

Did not throw the net

Never worry about reaping the fish

 

 

2.

Against the wind, the ship continued to accomplish its voyage

Suddenly encounter the undercurrent

The ship vibrated heavily and made you dizzy at times

 

if it were not the sunset

Towing the glamour long tail of golden pheasant

To split the heaven and sea

 

The fully disputed colors and boundaries

You assumed you saw a heat and red fire tong in stove

Take out the roasted sweet potato

 

 

    The Dream is Still Fresh- Meet Mackay  夢境猶新–遇見馬偕

 

Stumbled the footsteps, I am late

Slanting the body and struggle forward

Climb to the slope of Mackay Street

 

Hurry up for Mackay

The frangipani is blooming in the old church

The rain falls on my head while in the lane of Mackay

 

The bronze statue of Mackay guards the street

Look far ahead of Tamsui

Whom you are waiting for?

 

It reminds me of a dream long ago

You bore a wood gun, led the young men of Pin Pu

Leaving Tamsui for a jungle

 

Your helmet was intertwined by Chinese Fevervine

When you discovered Yi Lang

You glorified the Lord loudly: you found Kavalan

 

You gave the poor hunting meat

Bestow the wild and steep hill paraffin

Your eye sight is like fish swimming in Tamsui

You wiped the hesitated mind of the women

Educate them to read, to know dignity and fight for woman’s right

 

The wandering footsteps visited Aletheia Missionary Hall

To meet Dr. Mackay

Your figure has become the chapter of history

The helmet you wore are still distributing the fragrance of vine

My dream is still fresh

 

 

 

3. Poems by Hsieh, Pi-Hsiu

 

    

Hsieh Pi-hsiu 謝碧修 (b.1952) graduated from Department of Social Sciences, National Air University and now lives in Kaohsiung. After retirement from the bank in 2006, she has been engaging in Non-Profit Organization social service work so far. She won Landscape Poetry Prize in 1978 and “Light in Darkness” Poetry Prize for Literature in 2003. At present, she is a member of Li (Bamboo Hat) poetry Society and Taiwan Modern Poetry Association. Her books include “Collected poems of Hsieh Pi-hsiu” (2007) and “The Sparks in the Life” (2016)

 

 

    Matters of the Lily’s Heart 百合心事

 

I am a Taiwanese lily

Named ‘Formosa’

March

Is my blooming season

 

I love freedom

I walk around Taiwan welcoming spring

On the harsh high mountains

In the low-lying swamps

More ebullient personality

Can be tempered

 

Soft and silent me

In the white little atrium of the heart

With only small yearnings

Once I blossom

There be fresh air

There be cool and clean streamwater

There be bright and brilliant sunshine

                                     Translated by Jand Deasy

 

 

 

    Birds and Water 鳥與水

 

To a group of amputees and visually impaired friends

Water to the birds

Just as dancing to me

 

We come from different directions

solely fond of this watery area

living in the green field among dark gray

The cleanness of water soothes me

and the intense vibration of water challenges me

 

In this sky space

I extend my wings

due to nourishing with water

flying more beautiful and powerful

Life

 

Dancing to me

Just as the water to the birds

                                     Translated by Jand Deasy

 

 

            

    Life of Bamboo Chair 竹椅人生

 

Please be seated

Let’s brew up a pot of tea

And listen to me carefully

The texture of chair weaves one’s life

 

I have good DNA

Endurance, toughness

Can carry the various weights

Enter a luxury house

Experience the joy when married

Turn into a humble house

Taste the sweetness and bitterness of life

At the temple yard of the countryside

To run through the minds of grand parents

In the park of urban city

To take the bitterness of the tramp

 

I am tight-lipped

And was finally attached as a picture

 

When you look quietly at the painting

You still can recall silently

Your own story

                               Translated by Catherine Yen

 

 

  

4. Poems by Tsai Jung-yung

  

 

Tsai Jung-yung 蔡榮勇 (b. 1955) is currently an editing member of Li Poetry Society, a director in Taiwan Modern Poets’Association, a director and editing member of the children’s literature magazine “Serissa Fetida”, and a member of PPDM.  He participated International Poetry Festivals held respectively in Mongolia, Cuba and Chile.

 

 

    Taiwan Is Not a Noun 台灣不是名詞

 

Taiwan is not a noun

For you to call over

And him to beckon back

Taiwan is my mother

 

Taiwan is a verb

You diligently work

He sincerely strives

Taiwan is my mother

 

Taiwan is not an adjective

You say Republic of China

He says Taiwan

Taiwan is my mother

 

Taiwan is a sentence

One which you write for a lifetime

He needs to be written with a grateful heart

Taiwan is my mother

                                 (Translated by Jane Deasy)

 

 

    Spring’s Footsteps 春天的腳步

 

From Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan

In a Delta plane to Chile

In search of poets footprints

Along the rivers of each country’s poets

Strolling along the rivers

Picking up along the way, accidently

Lost verses

 

Consoled

The heart

From where no new buds sprouted in a while

 

 

    Standing Up, Taiwan Wakes Up 起來,台灣醒了

 

The unbent author Yang Kuei

woke up like a giant tree

of thousand years in high mountain

in turn, aroused the roots of lily

buried under the earth

sprouting up green leaves

also wakened

the strawberry tribe in wildness

 

The young people of wild strawberry

sat around the civil square

inheriting the spirit of the writer Lai Ho and others

to spark the souls of Taiwanese

They learnt after the eyes of the sculptor Huang Tu-suei

to observe the topography of Taiwan

The blood stream of Taiwanese history in four hundred years

would not be allowed to be desecrated

                               Translated by Lee Kuei-shien

 

 

 

5. Poems by Lee Chang-hsien

 

Lee Chang-hsien 李昌憲 (b. 1954) is from Tainan and is currently living in Kaohsiung City.He is currently the editor-in-chief of Li Poetry Journal.

In June 1981, he published his first collection of poetry, Poems of the Processing Zone, and in 1982 he won the Li Poetry Award. Other poetry collections published include Ecology Collection (1993), On the Production Line (1996), Looking Up at the Starry Skies (2005), From Youth to Grey Hair (2005), Portraits of Taiwanese Poets-The Chang-hsien Li Poetry Anthology (2007), Selected Works of a Taiwanese Poet- The Chang-hsien Li Collection (2010), A Vision of Beauty- Slow Travel in Greater Kaohsiung Poetry and Photography Collection (2014), Poetics of Kaohsiung 1977-2015 (2016).Love River(Chinese-English Editon)(2018)

 

 

    Journey Through Taiwanese Tea Mountains 台灣茶山行旅

 

A journey through Taiwanese tea mountains

Tea is in the heart

People are in the painting

 

Pay a visit to the tea-making expert

Taste the fragrance of the tea, know the sun and the moon

The essence, all in a cup of tea

 

My nose is greeted by the fragrance of tea

An abundant aroma of tea

Smoothly guiding the internal organs

Easing the twelve meridians

 

Taiwanese tea is a sweet spring

Warming Taiwanese hearts

Enriching Taiwanese lives

 

 

    Love River 愛河

 

Love River

We have a river in our hearts

Written full of love and romance

 

Love River

Love River’s water slowly flows

Into the depths of time

 

Love River

Flows into the blood vessels to become

The inner soul's strength

 

Love River

Poetry and beauty

Fill up the journey of life

 

 

    South Asian Tsunami 南亞海嘯

 

The pent-up energy of the earth’s crust

Exploded in an instant from the bottom of the sea

The surging, turbulent giant waves

A devastating raid

 

Human life was devoured

Dragged into the sea to drift by the current

The land is corpse-strewn

A tragic vision in our mortal world

 

Scenes of devastation are everywhere after the tsunami

Images of wretched horror are spread

Shocking the heart of the entire world

Leaving behind the little children with no kin to turn to

 

Standing at the scene of the disaster

Tears have already been cried dry

Still, heads are raised towards the sky

To helplessly cry and shout

 

                                 (Translated by Jane Deasy)

 

 

 

  1. Poems by Lin Lu林鷺

 

 

Lin Hsueh-mei 林雪梅 (alias Lin Lu林鷺, b.1955) concurrently serves at the standing committee of the Li Poetry Society, the editorial board of the Li Poetry Magazine, and the jury of annual Taiwan Modern Poetry Collection. She is also a member of Movimiento Poetas del Mundo (PPdM).

Lin Lu has three Mandarin poetry collections, “Star Chrysanthemum” (2004), “Lost in Time” (2016), and “For What to Travel” (2017). She also published a Mandarin-English poetry collection, “Forgetting Autumn” (2017).

 

 

    No Thoughtless Handshaking with a Poet 不要隨便跟詩人握手

 

Is a poet's hand pure?

Is a poet's hand soft?

Is a poet's hand romantic?

 

Land

People

Passion

Tears

Immaculate truth

All are metaphors written by poets

 

Don't shake with a poet with your thoughtless hands

 

In a distance I see a weathercock

Ironically

The weathercock is a poet's hand

pointing in the same direction 

that the wind is blowing

 

 

    Rose 玫瑰               

 

She was a rose

A rose who was in her early puberty with expectations

 

She was a rose

A rose who was fondled and drawn in her illusions

           

She was a rose

A rose who blossomed in the breath and kisses

 

She was a rose

A rose who had forgotten her whole body thorns

 

However

She is a withering rose

A rose

who did live her whole life and legend with soundless

 

 

   Lost in Time 遺忘吧

 

Let it lost in time

When I finally become

A requiem

Let the notes of life

lost in time

Like sands through the hourglass

So are the days of our lives

There people can never conquer the time

But only time can conquer the people

 

Let everything lost in time

Greatness

Insignificance

Are all leaves on the trees of life

When the season comes

Silently

Leaves are lost in time

So

Let it lost

Let it lost in time

                             ( Translated by Faustina Huang)

 

 

7. Poems by Chen Ming-keh

 

 

Ming-Keh Chen 陳明克 ( b. 1956 in Taiwan). He received a PhD in physics from

Nat’l Tsing Hua University in 1986. In 1987, he became a member of Li poetry

society. He is now a member of editorial broad of Li poetry. His publication includes ten collected poems, and two collected short stories. He was awarded six prizes of literature in Taiwan. He explored the meaning of life. Metaphors are frequently expressed in his poems.

 

 

    A Flower 一朵花

 

Just a flower, who care?

 

A flower fades

Another flower will be in blossom

 

 

    Dewdrop 露珠

 

A dewdrop absent-mindedly fell down

Along the curved twigs

It would drop and disappear

 

At the thin end

a cherry blossom fully bloomed

 

 

  Dragonfly  蜻蜓

 

A dragonfly stays at

the rain wash which turns upwards

It silently waits 

for regarding the windshield as a basin?

 

Unexpectedly, I am the dragonfly

 

 

    The Ships in Dock 船塢裡的船

 

Are they looking at the sea?

What do they think?

 

They are nothing originally

The cranes sling the steel girders and sheets

Which are then welded and cut by the raging fire

At the moment they are linked up to be ships

they feel the sea is calling

 

I finally understand

Why I, made of flesh and blood,

feel the immortal calling

 

Can it be a little bit clearer ?

as the ships hear the sea

 

 

Pass Through the Silk Cotton Trees 行經木棉樹

 

I went out from the subway station in the crowds

Jostling pedestrians, I walked under the silk cotton trees

 

I heard creak

What birds were in

the full bloomed kapok flowers?

They were jumping, the branches

and flowers were shaking lightly

 

Always a few birds jumped to the tree-top

Looking around and calling gently

Guarded the hawk which was far wheeling

 

How happy the birds

No enemies hid themselves among the companions

 

A kapok flower fell around my feet heavily

Did the birds gave it to me?

Could I grow wings too?

 

    

8. Poems by Chen Hsiu-chen 陳秀珍

 

 Chen Hsiu-chen 陳秀珍has publications including essay “A Diary About My Son, 2009”, poetry “String Echo in Forest, 2010”, ”Mask. 2018”and “Uncertain Landscape, 2017”, Mandarin-English-Spanish trilingual “Promise, 2017 ”, as well as “Tamsui Poetry, 2018”. Her poems have been selected into Mandarin-English-Spanish trilingual anthologies “Poetry Road Between Two-Hemispheres” and “Voices from Taiwan”, as well as Spanish “Opus Testimoni” and Italian “Dialoghi”.

 

 

    Under the Sky of Bangladesh 在孟加拉的天空下

 

Under the sky of Bangladesh,

under the warm sunshine, 

among the flower fragrance in Bangladesh Red Fort

 

my face always presents

to you a smile

without any make-up forever.

 

a smile like the sky,

a smile like the warm sunshine,

a smile like the red flower.

 

I smile as this when I think of you,

I smile as this when I dream of you,

I smile as this when I think of your thinking of me,

I smile as this when I dream of your dreaming of me,

 

during the fluctuation of thought,

among the sounds of poetry recital,

on the road in the illusory spring time.

Translated by Lee Kuei-shien

 

 

    Permanent Address 永久地址    

 

I have asked your address from enormous green!

I have asked your address from white snow!


I have asked your address from the waterfall!

Nobody knows your address!

                —“Full Moon Night ” by Aminur Rahman

 

During my wandering,

I looked for a permanent address.

 

May have an invariable address

for a fragrance of flower?

May have a permanent watershed

for a drop of river stream?

May have an eternal sky

for a floating cloud?

 

After the endless wandering,

each drop of tear

moistens the homeland under feet,

the permanent address is eventually found.

 

Whether the love in wandering

needs to look for a permanent address?

Translated by Lee Kuei-shien

 

 

    The Smile of Mona Lisa 蒙娜麗莎的微笑

 

The glow of your smiling lips emits sadness;

Reasons of sadness not known. Why in your eyes

Do you store chocked emotions off the soul?

                               —“Mona Lisa” by Jahidul Huq

 

In Musée du Louvre, you has been

sustaining consistently an elegant posture,

being appreciated around with crowds,

observed in detail by means of magnifier,

discussed and copied in painting,

your worldwide known smile still persists.

 

This smile has been well guarded

so smiling for hundreds of years.

What secret of non-disclosure is hidden

behind the smile of Mona Lisa?

Perhaps, da Vinci has given a hint,

who knows the secret codes.

 

Me smile too.

My plain smile,

I desire it to be well guarded,

reveals no sense of mysterious beauty.

 

I love mystery more than smile

but the sense of mystery is frequently

bloomed within the flower of smile.

Translated by Lee Kuei-shien


 

9. Poems by Yang Chi-chu

 

Yang Chi-chu 楊淇竹(b. 1981), a doctoral student in Comparative Literature at Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan, specialized in East Asian Literature in the period of 1930s.  She published her master thesis “Interdisciplinary Adaptation: A Study of the Narrative and TV series of the Trilogy of Wintry Night” in 2010, as well as poetry books “Living Among Cities” in 2016 and “In the season of Summer Lotus Blossom” in 2017. She participated 2014 “Tras las Huellas del Poeta” Internatinal poetry meeting in Chile, 2016 Formosa International Poetry Festival in Tamsui, Taiwan, and 2017 Capulí Vallejo y Su Tierra in Peru.

 

 

    Pineapple Cake 島型鳳梨酥

 

As the Taiwan-island-shaped pineapple cake is savored,           

Packaged with food quality assurance,

Stuffed with Guanmiao’s local pineapple,  

Sour ‘n sweet,

That old-time wax-gourd filling has been forgotten.   

 

Decades ago in the countryside   

Teeming with big wax gourds,    

Neighbors shared pineapple cake,      

Piling up kindness piece by piece,  

And the leftover cake went to  

The pastry chef, to be          

Fully cooked and fried--     

A tradition of cherishing food.       

 

The insipid wax-gourd filling--    

A test of the chef’s ingenuity--    

Blended with various aromas, 

Surprisingly played up to  

The yearning of sweet desert.        

Kneaded into dough in pieces, the pineapple cake          

Wafted a hometown sentiment through the air.

 

Today the island-shaped pineapple cake 

Goes for local pineapple filling instead,

Cased with the island’s splendors,

Along with a tropical flavor, sour ‘n sweet,

Spreading across shopping malls:

The genuine Guanmiao pineapple cake

Tourists

Know nothing but Taiwan in their mouths.

 

 

    Tamsui Night Scene 淡水夜景

 

At the bar in a small café   

The stranger looks up at the night sky

Twinkling stars

Falling into the cappuccino coffee, melting

 

An autumn breeze drifting along

The riverside Tamsui has the hustle and bustle  

Blown off

 

Night, dropping into the coffee cup 

From the espresso machine

One drip after another

Comforts  

Sleepless strangers

 

 

    Fort San Domingo 紅毛城

 

The rise and fall of the nations

And their checkered past                                        

All remain    

Jockeying for the marine power

 

In the red-brick house

The owner’s language

Smelled of something                                                          

RING-RING-RING...

Service ring 

Spanish, Dutch, English       

Transmitting the wisdom of the butlers

Transmitting the influence of the time

 

In the Empire’s hand

Who, would let go of it

Translated by WANG Ching-lu 王清祿

 

 

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