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Mo Yu / 莫渝

Mo Yu / 莫渝

Mo Yu(b.1948) is pen name of Lin Liang-ya, graduated from Taichung Normal College and the French Department of Tamkang University. He started writing and published poetry in 1964 and has published various books of poetry including “Wordless Spring”(1979), “Love Song of The Earth“(1986), ”Clouds“(1990),”The Mirror of The Water” (1998), ”Poems, The First Aurora“(2007),”Going the Spring Rain”(2011), “ Lilies in Spring”(2011),”Light of Sky”(2013).  On the other hand, he is also a translator of French poetry and a commentator.





Bitter Bamboo / 苦竹           


Whether you like to listen, or whether

you like to look, it makes no difference.

I am always the same,

straining bodily on to where you write poetry

at the window.


Nor does it makes no difference whether it’s spring or not,

I always put on an eternal green for you.

When autumn comes,

I will at most drop a few leaves

which will drift to your window,

and I will still be faithful for you.


I keep closely to your house,

My roots sink deep in the soil;

This is good enough,

nobody can remove me.


When there is wind,

I assume an even more gently posture

To arouse your attention.


                   (Translated by Kuo-ch'ing Tu   杜國清譯)


Rains at night / 夜雨

Rains nonstop

That night

The more it rained, the stronger it became

Darkness blanket the ground

Downpours tuned into torrents

Devils from the hell tramped upon our fields


No more banks or dikes

Torrents blurred up borders

Landmarks shaved up

Mountain tops hunched under streams

The day waters ruled


Relentless rains struck us that night

We didn’t see the sky

As land and sky clung together

Soaked and darkened

Blurring our ways home


Throughout that night

Gods of floods practiced rituals

Wearing g masks of ghosts

Parading in and out of the fields

The whole village fell asacrifice

Immaculate, an apple of the gods’ eyes


         (Translated by Nga-i TeN    鄭雅怡譯)


The Scaffold / 絞刑架

── To Victims Crucified for Taiwan


Attracted by Taiwan, a throng of fleeing pirates occupied the island and set up three huge scaffolds along her coast.  The first one embodies the spring of 1947, when the 228 massacre took place.  The second one was used to suppress Taiwan’s political movement during the Beautiful Island Incident, which was happened on December 10, 1979.  The third one marks the 2009 Tan Chui-pinn incident, in which dignity of Taiwanese people has been tramped upon. 



Day after night

I heard sobs from the sea-bound gusts

I felt sighs from three crucifixes

Atheists we are

How shall we raise our eyes to the heaven?

How shall we pray for justice in the earth?


How shall I define “torture”?

They refuse to chop off your throat in a second

They enjoy scraping skin and muscle off layer by layer

Slowly, gracefully, they grind their knives

Their well-trimmed suits never gets stained

They love groans

Sounds of sorrow excites their souls

Witnessing their kindness for prolonging lives

Kind on surface and hypocritical in practice

They posed themselves as super-philanthropists


How shall I define “torture”?

They refuse to reach a verdict in a short period

They prefer to grind our souls bit by bit

Slowly, carelessly they enjoy watching us

Some of them point fingers at us

They long for begging

Sounds of sorrow feed up their desires

So they can re-claim the authority of the law

Which they never observe but has surplus values

They behave as law-abiding porcupines [1]


So well they learn about mechanism of tortures

So thorough their research is on phil-hipocracy-sophie


Torture means tramping upon our dignity

Till it crumbles into particles

We’re treated as subhuman

When they heard our moaning, our whining

They laugh and triumph

As malignant officers in traditional operas


If we refuse to bow down

They upgrade techniques of tortures

They ravage our bodies

Poisoning our souls

They pack textbooks with tortures

Dwarf us, disrupt us

Night after day


They laugh aloud in gatherings

These pirates strut around

Declaring ownership of the island

They do whatever pleases them

They’re evil as devils


Irony in history recurs

Beggars drove priests away [2]

Pirates turned into empresses

As their forebears states

Money-stealers become burglars,

Nation-stealers become aristocrats

They aimed at taking big chunks of lands

So the stolen lands fell into their hands

‘Tis wiser than fight, they hailed

For a narrow strand

‘Tis more profit-yielding



Fleeing from the continent

Sneaking into every corner

Till they seized on the island

Turned it into an entrepot

Occupied every piece of the land

Looted them

Dried up every resource


A boat nears the shore

Three scaffolds tower straight in whirling winds

Crucifixes of martyrdom

Mark three memorials

Blood stains on them pioneer footsteps upcoming 


Day after night

I heard sobs from sea-bound gusts

I felt sighs from three crucifixes

Atheists we are

How shall we raise our eyes to the heaven?

How shall we pray for justice in the earth?



We must “clear up our throat, unleash our strength” [3]

Flare up our morale, focus on our goals

Never give up, never fall flat

Persist and persevere

Let us weave a long, strong rope

Tie up and pull off the three scaffolds

Let the seashore revive

Let beauty and peace resume                     


[1] German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) nicknamed gentlemen

      “porcupines”.  The information derives from Chinese writer Lu Shin’s work, “ a


[2] “The beggar drove the priest away” is referred to a Taiwanese saying.  It means a

      late-comer grabs power, persecuting his/her predecessor.

[3] This sentence derives from Taiwanese writer Loa Ho’s poem, “Mountain top under

      low pressure”


                            (Translated by Nga-i TeN    鄭雅怡譯)





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