Brief bio sketch

Lloyd Haft (1946- ) was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin USA and lived as a boy in Wisconsin, Louisiana and Kansas. In 1968 he graduated from Harvard College and went to Leiden, The Netherlands for graduate study in Chinese (M. A. 1973, Ph. D. 1981). From 1973 to 2004 he taught Chinese language and literature, mostly poetry, at Leiden. His sinological publications include Pien Chih-lin: A Study in Modern Chinese Poetry (1983/2011; published in Chinese translation as 发现卞之琳: 一位西方学者的探索之旅 in 2010) and Zhou Mengdie’s Poetry of Consciousness (2006).



He has translated extensively into English from the Dutch of Herman Gorter and Willem Hussem, and from the Chinese of various poets including Lo Fu, Yang Lingye, Bian Zhilin and Zhou Mengdie.



Since the 1980s he has also been active as a poet writing in Dutch and English. He was awarded the Jan Campert Prize for his 1993 bilingual volume Atlantis and the Ida Gerhardt Prize for his 2003 Dutch free-verse readings of the Psalms (republished by Uitgeverij Vesuvius in 2011). His most recent book of poems (in Dutch) is Deze poelen, deze geest (2008). His newer poems are published (some republished) on this blog.



After early retirement in 2004, for a number of years Lloyd Haft spent much of his time in Taiwan with his wife Katie Su. In addition to writing and translating, his interests include Song-dynasty philosophy and taiji quan. He sings in the choir of a Roman Catholic church of the Eastern Rite in The Hague.



Monday, January 24, 2011

New Testament Poems (16-19)

by Lloyd Haft


(16) [Mark 16: 9-11; Luke 24: 13-39 and 50-53]

Say you’ve stood it all,
even death withstanding –
who would understand?
Say you’ve changed your form –
who here knows those forms?
It’s where we long together
we are seen,
seen to stay becoming.
Ours is the road the one we are
appears if ever on,
speaking meager words of ours,
asking who we’ll be.
Ours is the heart that carries,
bears out warmth,
bids being.
More than in our becoming
who’ll be known?




(17) [Mark 16: 1-3; Luke 24: 2-6 and 10-11]

Where we come together,
we hesitate to see.
We stay behind expecting gates,
stones between us and our other, joy,
our one and all-awaiting.
The one arising now beyond the times,
the places where we waited.
On beyond all ways we might have been.
Ever and on beyond is longing,
never standing,
never waiting,
leaving ever stones,
knowns behind.




(18) [Luke 21: 32-33; Luke 12:40]

Nor shall our generation pass away
before we see.
We know there is a promise
aliver still than all the heavens,
all the skies of all the generations –
on beyond the last of all surmises:
the reaching longing of the human child.




(19) [Matthew 11:12; Luke 16:16]

Joy so long was cloaked –
hulked in laws, hangings,
hung about in texts and quotes,
debts and don’ts.
Where could lips still open
where so much was to recite,
rehearse,
renounce?
Lips that are before all laws,
saying not rescinding.
Joy is not a not,
it is our now:
our falling open only
for each other unfolding.
Joy is not thou must;
it is we meet.