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

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Hostages Tanka

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XXXIV: "hostages" 

the hostages stuck
between Israel's total victory
and Hamas' demands ...
protesters lock themselves
in cages on the highway

FYI: This tanka is a sequel to the following:

This Brave New World, CX

pasted over Occupier
pasted over Kidnapped
above the photo of a man ...
this battle for perfect victims

And Haazetz, March 12: Why Israel's New Nationalistic Judaism Doesn't Care About the Hostages in Gaza: For Israel's rising jingoistic, messianic religious right, the war in Gaza is about recovering pride and projecting power. Desperate hostages held by Hamas don't fit their narrative

A fundamental ideology is at work here, according to which the war in Gaza is the ultimate national drama, a rare opportunity to recover national pride and a sense of invincibility. In this narrative, the hostages are a source of collective weakness.

AddedAgainst the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XXXV: "Promised Land" 
(expanded into a tanka set below)

The War Shrinks Our World

past suffering
spills into the present war
of fireballing rage
which shapes future kamikazes:
Promised Land of blood and honey

Free the Hostages
the yellowing sign hangs limp
on my neighbor's fence ...
from the street corner the chants
of Free, Free Palestine ring out

FYI: One of the best-recognized descriptions of the "land of Israel'/Promised Land is “a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy, 31:20)

Added: Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XXXVI: "see us, hear us"

Ramadan Message
a magic realist tanka set written in response to NPR, March 16: "Netanyahu approves plan to invade Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering"

blood-stained children
stand barefoot with their backs
to the reporters ...
do you see us, hear us now
to clicking of cameras

children with lanterns
walk into the far distance
their last words
we shall return, and overcome
linger in the smoky darkness

FYI: The fanous lantern has been a symbol of Ramadan for hundreds of years. For Muslims, it represents the light guiding the way.

AddedAgainst the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XXXVII: "death toll in dispute"

death toll in dispute
a crow's last caw fades
to winter wind