Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Special Feature: Chinese Moon Festival Haiku and Tanka

My Dear Friends:

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Chinese Moon Festival. falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month (October 4, 2017). It is a day for family reunion, one of the most important annual festivals for the Chinese people.

Share with you a set of selected haiku/tanka I wrote from a diasporic perspective for the Chinese Moon Festival

Moon Festival . . .
pointing my shadow
towards the homeland

Asahi Haikuist Network, Nov. 16, 2012

Moon Festival
alone, I whisper to myself
in my mother tongue

Editor's First Choice, Sketchbook, 6:5, September/October 2011
(see the editor's commentary here)

Moon Festival …
I open the window
letting out silence

Ardea, 2, 2012

Father once said,
the foreign moon seems rounder
than the one at home ...
alone in this promised land
I bite into a mooncake

Atlas Poetic Special Feature:"True Home," 2016

mid-autumn night …
the wind whispers to me
Chinese words
that offer me a home
in the shape of a moon

Tanka First Place, 2011 San Francisco International Competition, Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, and Rengay (see the judge's commentary here)

To conclude today's post, I would like to share with you a poem written by Rumi:

Put your thoughts to sleep,
do not let them cast a shadow
over the moon of your heart.
Let go of thinking.

Note: Below is a relevant excerpt from  "Featured Poet: An Evaluation and Introspective Look at the Haiku of Chen-ou Liu by Robert D. Wilson" (Simply Haiku, Autumn 2010):

... The first poem I ever memorized was [Li Po's] “Thoughts in Night Quiet,” the best known of all Chinese poems, especially among Chinese living overseas:

Seeing moonlight here at my bed,
and thinking it's frost on the ground,

I look up, gaze at the mountain moon,
then back, dreaming of my old home.

-- translated by David Hinton

When I was six, my father recited this poem to me with watery eyes. At that time, he hadn’t seen his family for two decades since he came to Taiwan in 1949, with the defeated Chinese Nationalist Army. I memorized the poem and didn’t fully reflect upon its meaning in my heart and mind. Little was understood about the suffering endured by my father and his generation due to the Chinese Civil War. It was not until the seventh year since I emigrated to Canada that I’d experienced this pang of nostalgic longing explored in Li’s poem through the moon imagery – a symbol of distance and family reunion – portrayed in simple and evocative language. Since then, every time when I thought of my parents, my family, and my hometown, I recited “Thoughts in Night Quiet,” which is not only Li’s poem but also mine...

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