Sunday, June 19, 2022

Special Feature: Selected Haiku and Tanka about the Different Faces of Fatherhood

                                                                                                         the foster girl
                                                                                                         colors me into her life
                                                                                                         Father's Day card

                                                                                                         Stardust, 65, May 2022

                                                                                                         Chen-ou Liu

Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.
-- John Wilmot

The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.
-- Prevost Abbe, Manon Lescaut

My Dear Friends:

In celebration of Father's Day, I would like to share with you the following poems about the different faces of fatherhood:

Selected Haiku and Tanka:

Father's Day
the newborn's hand
curled in his

Chen-ou Liu

her tiny voice --
the apartment fills
with dad-dads

John Hawk

a toddler climbs
onto father's shoulders
to reach the kite

Goda V. Bendoraitiene

off to school --
a father and two
small umbrellas

Barry George 

crayon map
my son shows me the way
to Neverland

John McManus 

camp walk
the arc of Dad's flashlight
from the pine path
to the stars

Barry George

windswept beach
my father's voice at the end
of a tin can phone

Lucy Whitehead

I’ve this memory --
riding my father’s shoulders
into the ocean,
the poetry of things
before I could speak

Michael McClintock

snow upon snow
the layers of oblivion
in my father's mind

Dietmar Tauchner

a leaf in the wind ...
the last glimpse of dad 
from my window

Marion Alice Poirier

the corner beggar
his blue eyes
like my father's

Barbara Sabol 

father and I
sit under his avocado tree ...
he turns to speak
and I wake up wishing
it wasn’t a dream

Sonam Chhoki

To conclude today's Special Feature post, I would like to share with you my tanka set below:

An Ocean Away, Worlds Apart
for my father who passed away on January 5th in Taiwan

I circle
round and round the edges
of something 
inside me, unarticulated ...
seven weeks since Father died
(FYI: The typical mourning period after a Chinese funeral is 49 days after death)

on my cellphone
the gravestone wet with dew ...
this grief for dad
is it actually love 
with nowhere to go?


Note: Below is the first poem I wrote for my father:

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

No comments:

Post a Comment