Inspiration, poetry

Time to relax; it’s the Year of the Rabbit

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit 2023 with lights and gold-colored Chinese lanterns, and a rabbit on the red background, the Chinese stamp means rabbit, and the vertical Chinese phrase means Year of the Rabbit.

The last lunar new year was the year of the Tiger, which advised us that the year would be full of action and impulse. I’d say the prediction hit the nail on the head.

The 2023 lunar new year is the year of the Rabbit. The year predicts a more relaxed and inwardly focused period. The rabbit reminds us to spend more time in self-reflection.

IOW: Chill Time.

I’m not making this up. This prediction is given by Jonathan H.X. Lee, a professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University:

“There is a lot of possibility for prosperity and flourishing, and for peace, really,” said Lee, whose research focuses on religions and folklore. “The rabbit is a very strong symbol for peace.”

The rabbit in the Chinese zodiac also speaks to the power of empathy, giving, and receiving compassion. The word for this year is HOPE. A great word for any year.

In this poem, the author belies her father’s wish for her to be born in the year of the Rabbit. The verses hop from left to right.

Ode to Chinese Superstitions

Chinese superstition tells me it’s bad luck
         to get a haircut when I’m sick, and my hair
gets cut twice a year, because I let it grow,
         tying it into a ponytail, exposing my forehead,
looking like I’m the protagonist of an anime,
         which makes me think about my last name,
Chan, also known as the  Japanese honorific
         for someone endearing. Chan, like a friend

                                      or someone childlike. I’ve been told I sound
                             like a child when I pick up the phone, or maybe
                                      it’s my pure joy to hear from the ones I love.
                             And yes, voices are sexier than faces, so dial me,
                                      honey, let’s get a little wild tonight, as I pour
                             a glass of  bourbon and picture myself in anime—
                                      cartoon Chan starring in a slice-of-life show
                             about a girl group trying to make it, and you bet

I’d be the rambunctious one, the tomboy-
         rabble-rouser-ringleader on the drums—
the  trouble  with the exposed forehead, also
         known in East Asian culture as a symbol
of  aggression, because an exposed forehead
         puts everything out there—you’re telling
the world you’re ready for a takedown,
         and according to my father, good Chinese

                                      girls never show their foreheads, and I know
                             he wishes I were born in the Year of  the Rabbit,
                                      like my mother, the perfect woman with flawless
                             skin who never causes trouble with the boys, but
                                      no, I’m the Year of the Snake, and I always bring
                             the party, cause the trouble, or as my lover says,
                                      I’m sarcastic wit personified, and it’s boundless,
                             because I am Dorothy—pop embodied in a gingham

skirt with a puppy and a picnic basket
         filled with prosciutto and gouda and Prosecco,
but really, what is my fate? And my mother
         tells me the family fortune teller got me all
wrong, because there’s no way in hell
         I’d end up being a housewife with three
children and a breadwinner of a husband.
         But of course, the fortune teller got my brother’s

                                      fate right. It’s moments like this when I wonder
                             if I even matter because I’m a girl and not a boy.
                                      It’s moments like this when I think about my fate,
                             or how Chinese superstition tells me not to cut or wash
                                      my hair on Lunar New Year, so all my good fortune
                             won’t be snipped away. But really, what is fate?
                                      I tie my hair back and put on a short skirt, ready
                             to take over the world—forehead forever exposed.

Dorothy Chan

For 18 quick ways to relax instantly, click on the link.

Wishing you health, good fortune, and peace.

Martin Luther King, MLK Day, poetry

Seldom Read Poems about MLK, Jr.

MLK, Jr. Memorial Washington, D.C. photo by m. alvardofrazier

Martin Luther King Jr.’s brilliance as an orator is well documented in many books, movies, and over seventy-five quotes.

For my Sunday Share, I specifically looked for poems that described him, his work, and his legacy.

It is documented that the renowned poet Langston Hughes and MLK Jr. were friends for several years.

Examples of their connection are expansive. In 1956, King recited Hughes’ poem “Mother to Son” from the pulpit to honor his wife Coretta, who was celebrating her first Mother’s Day. That same year, Hughes wrote a poem about Dr. King and the 1956 thirteen-month bus boycott titled “Brotherly Love.”

Two other poems left a lasting impression on me:

Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1968

A man went forth with gifts.

He was a prose poem.
He was a tragic grace.
He was a warm music.

He tried to heal the vivid volcanoes.
His ashes are
     reading the world.

His Dream still wishes to anoint
     the barricades of faith and of control.

His word still burns the center of the sun
     above the thousands and the
     hundred thousands.

The word was Justice. It was spoken.

So it shall be spoken.
So it shall be done.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Aurielle Lucier takes an intersectional approach to recognize how Dr. King’s values still live on while also challenging America to be better and truly honor his legacy:

The truth buried does not rot, it roots.
The King buried does not die, he blooms.

The five-minute poem performed by Lucier is worth watching for its full effect and understanding.

The White House issued a proclamation for MLK, Jr. Day 2023:

 From the pulpit to the podium to the streets, Dr. King devoted his life to the quest for this Beloved Community in our Nation.  His activism and moral authority helped usher in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

He gave a voice to the restless spirit of millions yearning for change.  He gave us a roadmap to unify, to heal, and to sustain the blessings of the Nation to all of its people.

But the work continues because it remains unfinished.  

Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the USA

These poems and the proclamation inspire me to continue the ‘unfinished work’ through my actions, words, and deeds. I hope you are inspired to do the same.

Until next week, a wish for every good thing in your life to come into being.