Friday, February 12, 2016

A Room of My Own: Sea Journey Tanka

sea journey
from home lost to home unknown ...
alone at dawn
a Syrian man silhouetted
against the winter sky

Note:  Below are my two recent poems about Syrian refugees:

Written for Syrian refugees and new Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who made a campaign promise last year to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees.

the taste of a dream
on a child refugee's tongue
maple syrup

Back Cover Poem, Haiku Canada Review, 10:1, February 2016

A Home Away from Home

where the sky
meets the winter desert ...
refugee tents

Arzu walks out of the tent to meet her friends, waiting in line with hundreds of others for water distribution. A wisp of cloud drifts by. It reminds her of the camp teacher's departing words, "Those puffy, sheep-like clouds you're looking at come from Syria. You will all return home one day, I promise."

Honorable Mention, 2015 United Haiku and Tanka Society Samurai Haibun Contest

Judge's Comment by Cattails Haibun Editor Sonam Chhoki: Amidst unceasing news of overwhelming number of people fleeing the conflict-torn regions in the Middle East, Chen-ou Liu’s Honorable Mention haibun is both timely and compassionate in his presentation of a young girl’s plight. The poet’s imagery of a ‘wisp of cloud’ is laden with significance. It evokes poignantly the fragility of Arzu’s hope for a safe return to her native land and also works as a ‘beacon’ of light in the otherwise drab and desperate tents-filled camp. What I find particularly powerful is how Chen-ou turns on its head, the largely negative media representations of how refugees threaten the civilizations of the host countries in which they seek asylum. There is quiet dignity in both Arzu and her teacher who holds out the promise of a return to their homeland.


  1. "against the winter sky" - so much pain in the short earthly path of humanity. Why? - no answer

    1. Dear Canka Shishkova:

      One of the answers is hinted at in Ls 2&3, from "home lost" to home unknown .../ "alone" at dawn

      Thanks for the read and for sharing your thought.