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open sky :: SAMVAAD | 28th January

hosts : Sanjuktaa Asopa & Aparna Pathak

im-mi-grant ...

the way English tastes

on my tongue

- Chen-ou Liu

( Second prize, 7th KokakoHaiku Competition; included in Kumamoto University's textbook for university-level English)

80 views7 comments


Can so relate, after my mother tongue, I have had to learn 3 others depending on where I lived. I swear they each use different facial muscles 😉


Thank you, readers, for your wonderful responses. The poet has shared the judge's commentary in the contest on this verse with us.

Here it is:

This one is a contrasting type of haiku, no less valid, as it references the writer's inner experience The word "tastes", a metaphor, is an exemplar for how to use this trope in a haiku, that is not far-fetched or complicated. With the writer we feel the buzz and the hum of the tongue as it produces the unfamiliar phonemes, syllable by syllable.

Hope this helps us to appreciate the poem even more.


Our Kerala State language is Malayalam but it differs district to district and even village to village and shore to shore.

Loved this!!

Thank you Team!!

Replying to

Kerala is one of my very favorite places … such fond memories of the places, the food, the people. So beautiful.


Wonderful senryu expressing so much in so few words - with a potential for 'bitterness' in the 'taste' of the word.


Lovely observation. Not sure about “taste”, but being an American ex-pat living for decades in France, the sensations of speaking both languages are indeed different, even though many of the sounds are common to both languages.

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