I call your name amid the crashing waves, but it’s already a thousand leagues away
Ebbing and flowing The left footprint is only afternoon The right footprint is already dusk June was originally a book of sorrow With such a poignant ending ──The setting of the sun
I’m still staring At the pure white cast in your gaze (Extract)
Luo Fu (洛夫) was one of the pen-names of Taiwanese poet Mo Luo-Fu 莫洛夫 (originally Mo Yun-duan 莫運端). He was born in 1928 in Hengyang in Hunan (then part of the Republic of China). He changed his name due to the influence of Russian literature. He joined the Navy and moved to Taiwan in 1949. He graduated from the Political Warfare Cadres Academy in 1953 and was assigned to the Republic of China Marine Corps base in Zuoying. He founded the Epoch Poetry Society along with Chang Mo and Ya Xian in 1953. He was later stationed to Kinmen where he met his wife. Towards the end of the Vietnam war he was appointed to the Republic of China Military Advisory Group, Vietnam, as an English secretary. After his return to Taiwan, he graduated in English from Tamkang University in 1973 and retired from the army in the same year. After retiring from the army he started teaching at the foreign languages department of Soochow University, before moving to Canada in 1996 but moved back in 2016 when he was diagnosed with cancer and he died in Taiwan in 2018 after receiving an honorary doctorate from National Chung Hsing University in 2017. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001 for his 3000-line poem ‘Driftwood’ (〈漂木〉).
I want so badly to leave The congestion of the city That at night I expend great effort growing wings But out of fear of being taken for a demon on every morrow I bear the pain of tearing them off
Chen Chuan-hung (陳雋弘) was born in 1979 and graduated with a master’s from the Chinese program at National Kaohsiung Normal University. He currently teaches at Kaohsiung Municipal Girls’ Senior High School. He previously won first prize in the free verse poetry category of the China Times Literary Prize and the literary and artistic creation award of the Ministry of Education in the free verse category, as well as several other literary prizes. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines as well as poetry collections. He has published two volumes of poetry on a limited printing, “Facing Up” (面對) and “Awaiting Confiscation” (等待沒收).
Although I still have my opinions When it comes to the world Under a tree in the yard I watch Flowers bloom and wither and plants grow I’m often so at ease I forget to voice them
This long journey undertaken with such haste Allows no time to really understand the world The end could come at any time If there’s anything upon which I still insist It’s that I’m sure Even though I’m old now, the world is still young
Wu Sheng (吳晟) is the pen-name of Wu Sheng-hsiung (吳勝雄), a poet originally from Hsichou (溪州) in Changhua County in Taiwan. He serves as a senior advisor to the Presidential Office. After graduating from the Department of Livestock of the Taiwan Provincial Institute of Agriculture (now National Pingtung University of Science and Technology) in 1971, he taught biology at a junior high school in his hometown. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature from National Dong Hwa University in June of 2020. The majority of his work has been modern poetry, although he also writes essays. He also has an orchard in Hsichou named after his mother (純園) which is home to 3000 native trees; he lectures part-time at Providence University.
At the beginning of spring, the rain slouches The sun is sluggish, like a wound that has scabbed in deep winter The dreamscape sways back and forth with the splish-splashing I see my childhood years riding on an ox back, walking towards me from the water
Zhan Che (詹澈 (Chan Chao-li) is a Taiwanese poet from Changhua. He has worked on various poetry journals and magazines, including founding Grassroots, and has long campaigned for local farmers’ rights.
It feels like a return to
Eating ice-cream as students, your arm on my shoulder
Skipping one lousy class made us feel as if
The entire summer
Was stretched out by the duration of that one class, and we sensed deep inside
That this carefree hour had burnished our whole lives
Making them glisten more brightly
P.S. The poem is not a reference to 趴趴走ers, fleeing from quarantine (sorry did I ruin the mood by bringing up the dystopia that is our current reality?).
As the first grain of millet bursts out in the field
I hear Ina*’s voice on the phone from my tribal village in the South
The air is rich with the scent of shell ginger flowers
At the next full moon
I’ll go back for Masalu**.
*Ina means “mother” in the Paiwan language
**Masalu means “thanksgiving” in the Paiwan language, here it refers to the harvest festival
Liglav A-wu is from the Paiwan tribe and was born in the tribal village of Pucunug in 1969. She is best known for her essays and reportage on issues concerning aboriginal women and published her first collection in 1996, Who Will Wear The Beautiful Clothes I Wove 《誰來穿我織的美麗衣裳》She was also worked with Walis Nokan on Hunters’ Culture (獵人文化)magazine. She is currently working as a professor at the Taiwanese literature department of Providence University.
都可以 It can be both 有時候是阻擋 Sometimes it obstructs 有時候是歡迎 Sometimes it welcomes
進，或者出 Entry, or exit 都可以 It can be both
它真正的意思 Its real meaning 只是通過 Is just passing through
This is a nice little poem from author and poet Chiang Hsun (蔣勳). He was born in Xi’an in 1947, and moved to Taiwan with his family in the wake of the Chinese Civil War. He had some involvement with the anarchist movement in France while studying abroad there and supported the democracy movement in Taiwan while working as a professor on his return to Taiwan.
The paddy field is a mirror
Reflecting the blue sky
Reflecting the white clouds
Reflecting the black mountains
Reflecting the green trees
The farmer plants seedlings
Plants them on the green trees
Plants them on the black mountains
Plants them on the white clouds
Plants them on the blue sky
I liked the simplicity of this poem’s words and the reliance on the concept to get its message across. The childlike tone of the poem suggested something like a nursery rhyme, but I also liked the idea of the unreality of the world as seen through an agricultural viewpoint (through the reflection on the paddy field’s surface) and that though humanity might think they exert control over the natural world, this is illusory as a reflection in a mirror. One could read this another way also, as an admiration for the unending toil of a peasant-farmer’s work and the single-minded urge to survive.
Chan Ping (詹冰) was a Hakka poet born in the township of Zhuolan in Miaoli, Taiwan, in 1921 and was a student of Taichung County Taichung Middle School, set up by local elites such as Lin Hsien-tang and Koo Hsien-jung – the only middle school reserved for Taiwanese students during the period of Japanese colonial rule. He went to study pharmacology in Japan in 1942 at the Meiji Pharmaceutical School in Tokyo. He returned to Taiwan after qualifying as a pharmacist. He opened a pharmacy in Zhuolan before being invited to become a science teacher. He wrote poetry in Japanese during his years as a student at the Taichung Middle School and formed a poetry society called the Silver Bell (銀鈴會） with other students, including poet Lin Heng-tai. The society issued a poetry magazine called Green Grass (綠草). After Taiwan was ceded to the Republic of China in 1945 and the Nationalist Retreat to Taiwan in 1949 use of the Japanese language was heavily suppressed and the Silver Bell was forced to dissolve. After a transitional period of around 10 years, Chan started to write in Chinese and in 1964 he formed the Bamboo Rain Hat Poetry Society (笠詩社) along with Lin Heng-tai and other poets and they published a poetry collection called Green Blood Cells in 1965. As well as being a poet, Chan was a novelist, an essayist, a lyricist and a playwright. He died in 2004.