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.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

Psalm Poems (23)

(1) After Psalm 23 [Oegstgeest version]

Who sees, knows me,
feels my failing,
nears in my need.
Through thickets all around me
whispers his peace.
Wherever I walk, the river mirrors him,
clear with his calm.
I see I’m one of his.
Where I walk is all a valley
and it’s deep with death.
But death’s no deeper than you go with me,
know with me.
Whatever is ahead, with you
I’ll know that it is mine.
The heckler that’s with me here
can never turn your face away
from me. And where I go, I’ll go
in light and I’ll be seen.
My going is a dwelling
and I’m in it with Who sees forever.


(2) After Psalm 23 [Neihu version]

Who wants me knows
wherever I am wanting.
I walk beside the water
and it mirrors Whose light.
Wind among the grasses:
Whose whispering.
Who brings me through:
through all the rocks of truth
Who knows my name.
Though the valley all around me here
dies as I pass,
I fear no end:
no end of being known.
Your knowing knows in mine,
goes where I am going.
Wherever I will go
with you it’s home.
The heckler, who is with me too,
can never hinder you:
your hands: they hold my head up
and the cup to my lips.
Surely I will walk in light
and goodness all my days:
for where I live’s the dwelling
of Who wants me and Who knows.

--Lloyd Haft