Monday, July 24, 2017

Butterfly Dream: Paper Boat Haiku by Stella Pierides

English Original

refugee child --
folding and unfolding
his paper boat

First Prize, 2017 Sharpening the Green Pencil Haiku Contest

Stella Pierides

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

難民小孩 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

难民小孩 --

Bio Sketch

Stella Pierides manages the Per Diem: Daily Haiku feature for The Haiku Foundation. Latest book: Of This World: 48 Haibun (Red Moon Press, 2017). Her work was featured in New Resonance 10. Her collection In the Garden of Absence (Fruit Dove Press, 2012) received an HSA Merit Book Award. Website

1 comment:

  1. Since the start of judging I was sure that this poem will be among the awarded ones. The poem deals with the difficult problem of our modern world: the refugee crisis that generates existential dramas and leaves behind only sorrow. The child in the first line, maybe without parents, nobody can say it, maturing earlier, is playing with a sheet of paper and he is folding and unfolding a paper boat. He could as well do whatever else, but something dictated him to make this origami toy. The picture, as a whole, disturbing in my opinion, shows us a complex of moods and emotions and makes you transport immediately into that atmosphere and to feel empathy for the little boy. The boat, a vehicle which can help you to get from one point to another, here made only from paper, signifies the strong desire of a fragile kid forsaken by fate to leave a world in order to save himself, to start a new happy life. You obsess over the image of this child making mechanically a boat after you have finished reading the poem and you are challenged to reflect upon the human condition.

    -- excerpted from judge's comment, which can be accessed at

    Evaluated in the context of the migratory and refugee crisis, "boat" could be read as either of the following symbols: hope/future or death/disaster

    Below are my two recent poems on refugees:


    a paper boat
    sailing into the moon . . .
    migrants on the shore

    Back Cover Haiku, Sailing into the Moon: Haiku Canada Members' Anthology 2016

    Editors' Comment: We found your poem poignant and relevant in the way it spoke to the fragile state of the flood of immigrants into Europe.

    (Note: My haiku could be read as a sequel poem to Stella's haiku)

    Routine Crises

    I key in the headline Dozens dead after boat capsizes. Phones ring, and laptops chatter with stories from around the world. Adrenaline pumps through my body like a tidal wave.

    fading tracks
    on an Aegean shore
    at twilight
    which of them belong to those
    who drowned in cold water

    I glance at the oversized clock on the rear wall of the newsroom. Its hands march closer and closer toward the deadline. And the refugee story waits to be replaced . . . with the latest news from the front lines of yet another war-torn country.

    Haibun Today, 11:1, March 2017