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.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Psalm Poems (17-18)


(1) After Psalm 17

Include my truth. Be wide enough
to hear my cry and know it is
yourself behind that sound.
These lips are not no One’s;
the light in my eyes is yours.
My face begins where yours is not in sight,
same crying for same.
And where you hear me
is where you could be.
Try my night; sound it:
all my dark is nothing but your own.
All that my lips repeat is in your name:
hear in me your eye’s own heart,
hub of your wings,
hollow of what you hold:
what we embrace together.
Wake, and help me hold!
Loose me from the lightlessness
your sword has left around us.
Help me survive the workings of your hand.
And when I wake to find I’m in an image –
I want it to be yours.


(2) After Psalm 18

I shall love you,
shall call you good
even if your net of death
is eyeing on me here.
Even your net of death is strung
on threads of life.
I shall; o let me follow them;
let me follow all your threads
in endlessness of hope.

--Lloyd Haft