Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Heaven Haiku

This Brave New World, CXXII
in memory of Palestinian poet, literature professor, and activist Refaat Alareer
who was killed on December 6, around 6 PM local time in Gaza, in a targeted Israeli airstrike that also killed his brother, his sister, and four of her children.

calm between fireballs
a child, somewhere, in Gaza
looks up to heaven

FYI: Watch the Scottish actor Brian Cox read Refaat Alareer's poem, “If I Must Die,” posted on December 1 on Twitter/X, a heartbreakingly prophetic farewell poem that has now been translated into more than 40 languages.

“If I Must Die” by Refaat Alareer

If I must die,
you must live
to tell my story
to sell my things
to buy a piece of cloth
and some strings,
(make it white with a long tail)
so that a child, somewhere in Gaza
while looking heaven in the eye
awaiting his dad who left in a blaze –
and bid no one farewell 
not even to his flesh
not even to himself –
sees the kite, my kite you made, flying up
and thinks for a moment an angel is there
bringing back love
If I must die
let it bring hope
let it be a tale.

AddedThis Brave New World, CXXIII

Ways of Seeing

row after row
of smiling children photos
on the pockmarked wall
We Are Not Numbers 
in the winter rain

outside the schoolyard
rain washing a child's blood
into another's ...
a solider draws on the blackboard
his dog, dead a week ago

FYI: Haaretz, Dec. 17: He Drew His Last Work of Art on a Gaza School Blackboard Hours Before He Died: Yonatan Hatzor was a member of an elite unit. His creations possess humanity, but the horrors he drew foreshadowed his death. 'He was the strongest guy I knew, but he drew so delicately.'

He called his final project "The Animal Within" – a series of phantasmagorical figures, a few of them pretty scary. One drawing shows a partly human figure like some kind of rusty, skeletal Robocop – and he's hugging a dog.

"His drawings were harsh, but there was also a lot of humanity in them. He wasn't a sad person, but he was restrained. Combinations of man, animal and monster intrigued him. I was sure we'd see exhibitions of his work one day. It's a talent we'll be missing out on."

Added: This Brave New World, CXXIV

in broad daylight
help, help, help in Hebrew
cut off ...
a blood-stained white flag
drifts to tangled rubble

FYI: Haaretz, December 16 IDF [Serial International Law Violator] Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi claimed responsibility for the incident, saying "it is forbidden to shoot at those who raise a white flag and ask to surrender."

And Article 23 of both the Hague Conventions II (1899) and IV (1907) provides that 'it is especially forbidden … person is hors de combat if 'he clearly expresses an intention to surrender'.

And United Press International, Dec. 17Pope Francis condemns terrorism after Israeli military kills 2 Christian women in Gaza City.

Pope Francis on Sunday condemned terrorism while denouncing the killing of two Christian women who were shot "in cold blood" while taking shelter at a Catholic church in Gaza City, allegedly by a sniper in the Israeli military.

AddedThis Brave New World, CXXV

SOSwritteninfoodscrapsra-ta-ta-ta-tat ...

FYI: The Times of Israel, Dec. 18: Slain hostage’s dad says IDF murdered him

Father of Alon Shamriz, 26, says lawlessness led to soldiers... shooting him in Gaza, ...

...they removed their shirts and wave a white flag...They were walking in broad daylight, it wasn’t dark. They walked in the middle of the road and the troops there just slaughtered them

Added: No More Fairy Tales, XXVI

columns of ash
as high as 3,000 meters 
(this rage inside...)