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

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Horse-Drawn Hearse Tanka

a horse-drawn hearse ...
behind it
the long line of mourners
and a winter sunset
flaming red

AddedThis Brave New World, CXLIII
written in response to Alabama’s frozen embryos court ruling

courthouse in gathering dark
rows of Handmaids' mouths sewn shut
with metal rings

FYI: CNN, Feb.20In unprecedented decision, Alabama’s Supreme Court ruled frozen embryos are children. It could have chilling effects on IVF, critics say

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, Alabama’s Supreme Court said frozen embryos are children and those who destroy them can be held liable for wrongful death – a decision that puts back into national focus the question of when life begins and one that reproductive rights advocates say could have a chilling effect on infertility treatments and the hundreds of Alabamians who seek them each year.

And Margaret Atwood, author of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, who claimed after the reversal of Roe v. Wade, "I invented Gilead. The Supreme Court is making it real."  (The Atlantic, Ideas, May 13, 2022)

In the fictional theocracy of Gilead, women had very few rights, as in 17th-century New England. The Bible was cherry-picked, with the cherries being interpreted literally. Based on the reproductive arrangements in Genesis—specifically, those of the family of Jacob—the wives of high-ranking patriarchs could have female slaves, or “handmaids,” and those wives could tell their husbands to have children by the handmaids and then claim the children as theirs.


I gaze
at a winter sky full
of emptiness ...
yet for a moment
distant birdsong


with my drunken shadow
I listen
to old man winter
whine through churning waves

Added:  Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XXI: "Red Sea"

screams cut off ...
a eighteen-mile oil slick
in the Red Sea

FYI: The Associated Press, Feb. 24: Houthi Strike on British-owned Ship Causes Huge Oil Leak in Red Sea, U.S. Says

The missile attack forced the crew to abandon the ship, which had been on its way to Bulgaria after leaving the United Arab Emirates. It was transporting more than 41,000 tons of fertilizer, the U.S. military said in a statement

The vessel suffered significant damage, which caused an 18-mile (29-kilometer) oil slick, said the CENTCOM statement, warning that the ship's cargo "could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster."

And Bloomberg, Feb. 22: Houthi militants and their Iranian backers are preparing for a lengthy confrontation with the US and allies around the Red Sea regardless of how the Israel-Hamas war plays out.

The assaults have helped push oil prices up more than 8% this year, with Brent nearing $85 a barrel, and upended trade through the southern Red Sea. The waterway normally handles about 30% of global container traffic and sees more then $1 trillion worth of goods pass through each year.