Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Butterfly Dream: Reef Sharks Haiku by Lorin Ford

English Original

reef sharks
guard the rusting wrecks --
my father’s war

Frogpond, 39:1, Winter 2016

Lorin Ford

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

守衛生鏽的殘骸 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

守卫生锈的残骸 --

Bio Sketch

Lorin Ford has written haiku since 2004. Selections of her haiku are anthologized in, eg. Haiku in English, Where the River Goes , Haiku 21 and Nest Feathers. Her book, a wattle seedpod (PostPressed 2008) won a first place in the HSA Merit Book Awards. Her e-chapbook, A Few Quick Brushstrokes,was a 2011 Snapshot Press winner.

1 comment:

  1. The symbolically rich and poignant juxtaposition of reef sharks circling around the "rusting wrecks" and the speaker's father’s "war" (physical and psychological) is thematically significant and emotionally powerful.

    Lorin's fine haiku reminds me of one of my haiku about my father's war.

    Our Dreams
    For my father and his generation who gave up their dreams to pursue the National Dream for the Chinese people

    Six decades ago, there was a civil war in China. The ruling Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuomintang, was defeated by the Chinese Communists. Chairman Chiang Kai-shek retreated with his troops to Taiwan, where he hoped to regroup quickly and retake mainland China. My father was a first lieutenant in Chiang’s military troops, and, like the majority of mainland Chinese in Taiwan, shared with him this same illusion.

    When I started grade four, my father decided I was old enough to learn the good soldier's essential lesson: obey orders and don’t ask questions. But I didn’t want to be a soldier. They looked dumb to me.

    One day, my father tried several times to teach me how to salute, but I couldn’t get my hand straight enough. He ordered me to stand in front of the portrait of our ancestors. He shouted at me, “Stand straight and still until our ancestors are satisfied and smile; or else you must apologize to them for failing to follow through on my words: to salute properly. Then you can go.”

    I stood for hours, but they wouldn't smile at or for me. Finally, I couldn’t bear it any longer and fainted. Later, when I woke up, I saw my father's eyes brimming with tears.

    into the Taiwan Strait
    Father rides on my shoulders
    midsummer dream

    Contemporary Haibun Online, 7:3, October 2011