Foul & Sweet

For the RonovanWrites Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt Challenge #37, the two prompt words were Foul and Sweet. One was unpleasant, while the other was pleasant – they made me think of opposing or contrasting situations. Then, I thought of human conflict. Aggression, action and reaction go round and round in a never-ending circle. So that’s the theme of my haiku for today.

 

Photo taken at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum, Taipei on 15 March 2015
A submarine made from chocolate, and its image painted in chocolate on a plate. Photo taken at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum, Taipei on 15 March 2015.

 

Foul & Sweet

 

Oppression so foul
Hatched from man’s greed and hatred
The revenge so sweet

A haiku by
Khor Hui Min
23 March 2015

 

 

Photo taken at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum, Taipei on 15 March 2015
Photo taken at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum, Taipei on 15 March 2015

 

When I went to the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum on 15 March 2015, I saw many beautiful pieces of art, ranging from paintings to sculptures and photos. There was a large food-related exhibition on the ground floor, called ‘The Testimony of Food: Ideas and Food’. One of the displays featured a wide range of weapons and other implements of war made from chocolate. I selected three of the photos I took of this display to complement the haiku I wrote.

 

Photo taken at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum, Taipei on 15 March 2015
Photo taken at the Taiwan Fine Arts Museum, Taipei on 15 March 2015
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Beacon & Field

I just came back from a 10-day trip to Taiwan last Friday, and returned with over 820 photos taken with my trusty Canon 60D. I just love the photos taken with this camera, and the fast shutter speed is just awesome. I’m not into taking ‘selfies’ or ‘wefies’, but opt instead for nature, scenery and macro shots. In the city, I like to dabble in a bit of street photography to showcase the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life. More often than not, my photos remind me not only of the place, time and people, but also evoke some of the feelings from that point in time.

For RonovanWrites Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt Challenge #36, the prompt words were Field and Beacon. I was inspired by springtime in Taiwan and the many beautiful flowers blossoming in profusion to write this week’s haiku. In fact, it stars the famous daffodil. 🙂

Photo taken on 13 March 2015 at Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan
Photo taken on 13 March 2015 at Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

Daffodils

Like beacons in fields
Snowy white with yellow lips
Heralding springtime

A springtime haiku by
Khor Hui Min
22 March 2015

Photo taken on 13 March 2015 at Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan
Photo taken on 13 March 2015 at Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

My favourite daffodil poem from my student days is by William Wordsworth (1770-1850). You can read the poem here. I find it remarkable that the poet could make the scene come alive and the daffodils dance with his prose.

Photo taken on 13 March 2015 at Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan
Photo taken on 13 March 2015 at Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

Miss & Past

For RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #35, the word prompts for the week were ‘miss’ and ‘past’. As I read the words aloud in my mind, in silence (LOL), the feeling of nostalgia surfaced. I was reminded of my grandmother (my mother’s mother) who passed on a few years ago. She lived till her 90s. So this haiku is dedicated to her memory.

In a time and age when girls were married off at the age of 14 and did not require much education except in the areas of sewing, beading, weaving, cooking and child-rearing, my great-grandfather sent my grandma to school to make sure she received a proper education. She became a teacher. 🙂  She always wore dainty blouses with fine embroidery, sarongs and beaded shoes, just like all the other nyonyas of her time.

Beaded work to be sewn into traditional peranakan or nyonya beaded slippers
Beaded work to be sewn into traditional peranakan or nyonya beaded slippers

Miss & Past

Smiling eyes; grey strands
Remembering you always
Your gentle aged hands

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
9 March 2015

The photo

Taken at the Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum in Melaka, Malaysia, on 6 December 2013, the photo features beaded work for a pair of Peranakan beaded slippers. The traditional craft can be traced back to the early 20th century. The Peranakan community, also popularly referred to as the Baba-Nyonya, is unique and only found in certain parts of Asia. In the Malay Peninsular, the community is commonly centred around the former British Straits Settlements of Penang (northern), Melaka (central) and Singapore (southern). The community came into being when Chinese traders married the local Malay women and settled down in the area. The ladies were referred to as nyonya, while the men were referred to as baba.

To read more about the Peranakan and their beaded shoes, you can check out my earlier post entitled What am I?, which came with a riddle.

#BeWoW – Diary of a Quirky Girl, 4.03.2015

OK, this is the first time I’m participating in the #BeWow blogshare started by RonovanWrites. BeWoW stands for Be Wonderful on Wednesday. The idea is to post something nice or wonderful on Wednesdays to brighten up someone’s day. It could be a  wonderful experience, a fond memory, something inspirational or motivational, etc.

Today, I’d like to add my third instalment of my experimental diary writing as part of the #BeWoW blogshare. 🙂

Diary of a Quirky Girl, 4.03.2015

Here’s the blog post in plain text, in case you don’t like reading it in the coloured background above:

Wednesday, 4.03.2015

Exercise was never my kind of thing when I was young. I was an awkward kid who twisted both ankles fairly regularly, so much so that my ankles finally built resistance to getting twisted. Nowadays, after I trip and fall, or just twist an ankle, I can just get up, shake the seemingly hurt ankle, do my weird kicking motion, and it’ll be just fine.

In Form 4, an English teacher told me nonchalantly that I was a late bloomer. Thinking back, I had the amusing thought that this probably encompassed my interest in the unrelated topic of exercise as well. My interest started at 30, when I registered for my first yoga class on 26 September 2006. I think discovering yoga was almost like falling in love. It was something that fascinated me; I see it in magazines, on TV and on websites. I’ve wanted to try it for ages, but never did. Of course, the first few weeks could only be described as the most daunting physical challenge of my life. I could not fathom tying myself into knots, standing on my head, or doing the handstand. Some days, I would just feel exhausted, but on other days, I felt queasy. It was all I could do to keep from puking towards the end of class. But I kept at it, and little by little, my body stopped fighting it and accepted the practice. After that, it felt good and energizing. In relaxing classes with breathing exercises, stretching and meditation, I would emerge totally calm and relaxed. It’s something great I look forward to at the end of a tiring work day. It’s been eight years and counting, and my interest in yoga has continued unabated. Although I can never accomplish some of the anti-gravity and mind-boggling poses, I am satisfied knowing that the practice has contributed to a happier and healthier me.

Then, I developed an interest in walkathons. I signed up for the 7-km Kordel’s Walk for Healthy Joints in 2011 and never looked back since. I signed up for all manner of walkathons – the usual distances were 3 km, 5km and 7km. Of course, as with a new physical challenge, it was hard the first few years, but I got progressively better at it.

The ultimate challenge arrived on the day I decided to join a run. I’ll admit that I hated running. I had the fear that I would fall and hurt myself, as in my school days. But sign up, I did. The first run I signed up for was the famous Energizer Night Race 2014, 7 months ago, in August 2014. The first thing that attracted me was the free headlamp. Ha-ha… Yes, I was enticed to join a run by a headlamp. I laugh at the memory till this day. I practised for it for a few weeks, walking and jogging from 3 km to 5 km in the evenings. Since it was my first race, and I was certain that I was in no danger of winning anything, I decided to sign up for the shortest distance (5 km) and do my best to not finish last. It turned out to be extremely challenging and exciting. In its 4th year, the run attracted 15,000 participants and we lit up the night with my little headlamps. No, I’m not embarrassed to admit that I walk and jog. It’s a race, but that doesn’t mean we need to run the whole way. My objective is to live an active and healthy lifestyle, and so far, it’s been great. At 37, I overcame my fear of running and falling flat on my face, and did not finish last. Hurray! 😀

Beast & Day

For RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #34, the words were ‘beast’ and ‘day’. I challenged myself to write something meaningful for the second week that I’m participating in this fun activity. At last, I decided to write something on the 2004 tsunami.

A village near the coast of Sumatra lays in ruin after the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Philip A. McDaniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AUS_Navy_050102-N-9593M-040_A_village_near_the_coast_of_Sumatra_lays_in_ruin_after_the_Tsunami_that_struck_South_East_Asia.jpg)
A village near the coast of Sumatra lays in ruin after the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Philip A. McDaniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Beast & Day

The wave was a beast
The day it came, the land shook
Time and reason ceased

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
3 March 2015

Dedication

This haiku is dedicated to the survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The most devastating tsunami of modern times, it was caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The countries affected by the tsunami included Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, South Africa, Yemen, Kenya and Madagascar.

Fiery orbs of fire

I saw some beautiful photos of reptiles and amphibians that my friend took today. One particular photo of a tiny frog with bright fiery eyes (featured below) caught my imagination. The photo and the Malaysian Writers FB page writing prompt inspired me to write something about fire and mystery. 🙂

Spotted Litter Frog (Leptobrachium hendricksoni). Photo credit: Vince Adam (28 February 2015). Visit Vince Adam Photography on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/65586506@N04/with/16063383363/
Spotted Litter Frog (Leptobrachium hendricksoni). Photo credit: Vince Adam (28 February 2015). Visit Vince Adam Photography at Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/65586506@N04/with/16063383363/)

Fiery orbs of fire

Fiery orbs of fire
Full of mystery
Dare I draw your ire

Omen of misery
What secrets do you hide?
And feats of wizardry

What rules do you abide?
What bounties do you bequest?
With the rise and fall of the tides

Fiery orbs of fire; that never rest
Shrouded in obscurity; from east to west

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
1 March 2015


Poetic style

This poem was written in the style of a terza rima – an Italian form of poetry first used by Dante Alighieri.

A terza rima consists of stanzas of three lines (or tercets). It follows an interlocking rhyming scheme, or chain rhyme – the middle of each stanza rhymes with the first and last line of the following stanza. However, there is no set length to this form, as long as it follows the pattern as follows:

ABA
BCB
CDC
DED

The last stanza will be a couplet rhyming with the middle line of the previous stanza. In this case, EE.

So here is my poem again with the rhyming scheme shown:

Fiery orbs of fire

(A)  Fiery orbs of fire
(B)  Full of mystery
(A)  Dare I draw your ire

(B)  Omen of misery
(C)  What secrets do you hide?
(B)  And feats of wizardry

(C)  What rules do you abide?
(D)  What bounties do you bequest?
(C)  With the rise and fall of the tides

(D)  Fiery orbs of fire; that never rest
(D)  Shrouded in obscurity; from east to west