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). His most recent book, a liberal modern Dutch reading of Laozi's Daode jing, was published as Lau-tze's vele wegen by Synthese in September 2017.



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 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.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psalm Poems (130-133)

(1) After Psalm 130

Where I call you, we’re deep.
There you might be,
nearest the voice of my sorrow:
like you she has no end.
Sharing the one silence:
you in your ever,
I in my fear.
Where saying you fails
I wait you. Here your word might be.
I hope you. Make
of my hope your dawn,
of what I most endure your day.


(2) After Psalm 131

The name that was before thoughts were
you are, in me.
Before I had a mouth
I had a mother.
My soul that was to meet you here
will wait. My lips can wait no more
to thank you: that they still can say your name.


(3) After Psalm 132

Any home I’ve lived in
was a tent in the wind.
Any night, my bed has been
a thing to cling and hide against:
a cold mountain.
And if I have to pray my eyes
to shut in darkness for an hour –
it’s all because I never find
your place on this earth.
Not in the tent:
not in the wind.


(4) After Psalm 133

Rarely on the earth
we are together.
Where we are, the balsam is
that once upon us brings the limbs
to give their light forever.
Dew that once upon the morning
brings the mountain glowing through the day.
Once be seen
is always be, together.

--Lloyd Haft