One Man's Maple Moon: Memory Tanka by an'ya


English Original

 

old memories

like tangled fish hooks

impossible

to pick up only one

without all the others

 

(First Place, 2008 Tanka Society of America  International Contest)

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

 

古老記憶

像纏結的魚鈎

不可能

只拿起一個

而不擾動其他的魚鈎

 

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

 

古老记忆

像缠结的鱼钩

不可能

只拿起一个

而不扰动其他的鱼钩

 

  1. Judges’ Comments, which can be accessed at http://tankasocietyofamerica.com/Contest2008.html

    Aphoristic, to be sure, but appropriately so and a wonderfully apt choice of image and metaphor, an’ya’s poem caught and kept our attention. The poem’s imaginative leap from “old memories” to “tangled fish hooks” carries remarkable force; it may not be a pretty image but it is, without doubt, a psychologically valid one, conveying both the character of fish hooks and the mixture of pleasure and pain that is human memory. There is nothing fancy here; the tone is matter-of-fact. It is a classic poem of the singular, durable image.

  2. Chen-ou Liu, 劉鎮歐January 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    This sharp yet apt "fish hook" metaphor acknowledges three things: 1) It hurts; 2) It will hurt even more to take it out; and 3) it's "impossible/ to pick up only one [fish hook]/without all the others."