Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Butterfly Dream: Train Journey Haiku by Beverley George

English Original

train journey ...
the young student next to me
reduces stars to graphs

Second Place, 2014 Katikati Haiku Contest

Beverley George

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

火車之旅 ...

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

火车之旅 ...

Bio Sketch

Beverley George is the past editor of Yellow Moon and the founder/editor of Eucalypt: a tanka journal 2006 - . In September 2009 she convened the 4th Haiku Pacific Rim Conference, in Terrigal, Australia. Beverley presented papers on haiku in Australia at the 3rd Haiku Pacific Rim conference in Matsuyama, Japan in 2007, and on Australian tanka at the 6th International Tanka Festival, Tokyo 2009. She was the president of the Australian Haiku Society 2006-2010.


  1. Below is excerpted from the judge's (Sandra Simpson's) comment, which can be accessed at http://www.poetrysociety.org.nz/katikaticontest2014

    Public transport lets us meet people we may not otherwise come across and sometimes the encounters are memorable. Here, an adult passenger watches the "young student" (secondary school, university?) and finds the stars of our universe being reduced to a series of plot points and mathematical certainties.

    Perhaps the poet considers herself an "old student" and - stretching a point - has learned, despite "science", that there is romance, mystery and magic in a sky full of stars. The journey may be taking place at night with "real" stars (some of which are long gone by the time their light reaches Earth) outside the window.

    I like the wry note to this haiku, as well as the author's use of the ellipsis. Besides creating a pause, it is also a visual nod to a railway track, graph plotting and even the stars themselves. Heavens above!

  2. Through an iconic symbol of modernity, train, Beverley takes readers on an emotional and intellectual journey (L1) of re/discovery of a new relationship between man and nature (Ls2& 3). Thematically and emotionally speaking, this beautifully crafted haiku reminds me of one of the key moments in the highly acclaimed TV series, Mad Men (Season Seven, Episode 6):

    "This machine [IBM System/360 computer] is intimidating because it contains infinite quantities of information and that's threatening because human existence is finite,” said Lloyd, whose company leased the computer to the office of Sterling Cooper & Partners, “But isn't it godlike that we've mastered the infinite? The IBM 360 can count more stars in a day than we can count in a lifetime."

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