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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War and Fame

Today, I was reading Silver Threading‘s post on being positive, a delightful article, when I came across something interesting – Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Challenge. Two words are provided as a prompt to write a haiku every week. I thought it was a fun activity to challenge creativity. So, I thought I’d give it a go. 🙂

Word prompt: War & Fame

Photo taken at Taman Botani, Forest Research Institute Malaysia on 15 Feb 2011
Photo taken at Taman Botani, Forest Research Institute Malaysia on 15 Feb 2011

War & Fame

The blood lust of war
Painted crimson through the lands
Fame of tyrants mar

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
26 February 2015

Across the bridge

I’ve been really busy since October 2014, so I did not have time to think of any ideas for poems and short stories. However, since 1 Jan 2015 is a public holiday, I thought of writing a poem to start off the year. 🙂

The title of this poem is ‘Across the bridge’, because the December 2014 theme for The Writer’s Tower is BRIDGE. I decided to write a story poem for this theme.

So, here’s to a fruitful and creative year ahead. I wish all of you the very best in everything you do. 🙂

 

Bridge in Dungun, Terengganu
Bridge in Dungun, Terengganu

 

Across the Bridge

Across the bridge
Was where I first saw her
As I was coming down the ridge

Was she one of them? The thought did occur
In the wind, her wispy locks fluttered
Not that there was anyone to refer

As I walked quietly; not a word she uttered
But just as I passed; I caught her eye
A grudging greeting she muttered

‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’
Was the length and breathe of our conversation
For weeks, I wondered – who, where and why…

What would I say? I wondered in frustration
Now, there were only ‘them’ and ‘us’
Where did ‘we’ go? I thought in consternation

There was no longer any trust
What was I to say?
Be always on guard, we must

Across the bridge every day
Days turned into weeks, months and then a year
Over the divide, we did find our way

Was she one of them? I never did fear
Life was busy; so many other things to consider
I only cared that she was a companion and a peer

One day, it wasn’t the same. Was it the water?
Was it the clouds, the wind or the rain?
No, leaning on the beam, she faltered

Crimson streaked her shirt; she was in pain
To the doctor, I insisted
I tried to convince her in vain

Slumping down; weakly, she resisted
I held her steady, trying to sooth her frantically
Her downward spiral persisted

At last, she whispered in my ear softly
“My name is Karen, please remember me fondly.”

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
1 Jan 2015

 

Fishing boats in Dungun, Terengganu
Fishing boats in Dungun, Terengganu

 

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:

 

Across the Bridge

(A) Across the bridge
(B) Was where I first saw her
(A) As I was coming down the ridge

(B) Was she one of them? The thought did occur
(C) In the wind, her wispy locks fluttered
(B) Not that there was anyone to refer

(C) As I walked quietly; not a word she uttered
(D) But just as I passed; I caught her eye
(C) A grudging greeting she muttered

(D) ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’
(E) Was the length and breathe of our conversation
(D) For weeks, I wondered – who, where and why…

(E) What would I say? I wondered in frustration
(F) Now, there were only ‘them’ and ‘us’
(E) Where did ‘we’ go? I thought in consternation

(F) There was no longer any trust
(G) What was I to say?
(F) Be always on guard, we must

(G) Across the bridge every day
(H) Days turned into weeks, months and then a year
(G) Over the divide, we did find our way

(H) Was she one of them? I never did fear
(I) Life was busy; so many other things to consider
(H) I only cared that she was a companion and a peer

(I) One day, it wasn’t the same. Was it the water?
(J) Was it the clouds, the wind or the rain?
(I) No, leaning on the beam, she faltered

(J) Crimson streaked her shirt; she was in pain
(K) To the doctor, I insisted
(J) I tried to convince her in vain

(K) Slumping down; weakly, she resisted
(L) I held her steady, trying to sooth her frantically
(K) Her downward spiral persisted

(L) At last, she whispered in my ear softly
(L) “My name is Karen, please remember me fondly.”

To read more about the terza rima poetic style, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

Be cruel to be kind

Today, the social commentary continues. I managed to weave in the social commentary theme into my July submission for The Writer’s Tower FB page.The poem was conceptualized while I was dutifully doing my (healthy) evening jog after cooking and eating dinner with family. Mundane, I know, but such is the life of a working-class female.

The Writer’s Tower is an open group for writers to share their ideas and prose. Every month, they have a theme to write on, and one can write and submit a piece in any style and genre. July 2014′s theme is PARADOX, and if one were able to include the bonus word(s) ‘football’ or ‘time for a bite’ in the piece, that would garner a Writer’s Tower Medal! 🙂

My poem for today focuses on the topic of conflct among people with different outlooks and ideals. I wanted to say something about the sad state of affairs in different parts of the world, where the sound of gunfire is a reocurrent daily theme. However, when I think of this topic, I am at the same time grateful that my country is a peaceful and harmonious place to live in; that I will not get shot at while driving to work; nor come home to a looted and burning house. I am thankful that I can go out to any shop and buy my daily necessities, and have access to clean water and wholesome food every day. Amen.

 

Be cruel to be kind

Big Sergeant said:
Hey, boy! Stand up straight
Hold it steady; don’t be a maid
Look smart; watch your gait
Mama’s boy, we’ve got a raid
Hurry up, don’t make me wait
Handsomely, we’ll be paid
We’ll show them their fate
Our vengeance shall never fade
I’m sure they’ll take the bait
The boy will learn; a soldier made
Be cruel to be kind

The Boy said to himself:
Let’s go shoot them up
He’s only thinking of his pelf
And how to blow things up
Only I can save myself
School is no more; grow up
Bye football, he said to himself
Dreams of playing the game? Wake up
I hope mother is taking care of herself
They won’t allow me to look her up
Only a memory on the mantelshelf
Be cruel to be kind

Mother remembering her son:
My dear boy, how long has it been?
Gunfire in the streets; the blasts go on
Immediately, I think of you, sad and lean
It’s cold, remember to put your coat on
I worry for you; you are only a teen
No more school, but life goes on
Keep your head down; don’t be seen
Time for a bite; don’t miss meals, son
Those who took you, they are so mean
I want to call every day, but I can’t
Be cruel to be kind

So the conflict goes on forever
They killed my people; I must kill theirs
Make their blood flow like a river
Put an end to all their heirs
So what if there’s fever?
Children must fight; who cares?
To survive, they must be clever
They must claim what is rightfully theirs
So the cycle continues unbroken, forever
Nobody wants to give up; who dares?
Nobody wants to give in; you will suffer
Do we have to be cruel to be kind?

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
15 July 2014

Dedication
This poem is dedicated to all the children surviving in war-torn countries. I hope you stay strong and never lose hope. Sometimes, only hope is what you have, but it can get you through bad days and tight spots, and one day you will make it out alive, and grow up to lead a meaningful and successful life.

Glossary
pelf – money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonourable way.
mantelshelf – a shelf above a fireplace.

See the definitions in Oxford Dictionaries Online.