Sunday, September 07, 2014

my mother and the moon

Tomorrow will be the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. It used to be a big day in the past, but not anymore now, I guess. So, here's something to celebrate the occasion. Anyway, I have eaten some of the moon cakes. :)

image by dsnake1

my mother and the moon

Mother, whenever I see a full moon, I would be reminded of you. You see, you were like the light on a dark night that guided me. You were the Weaver and dad, the Cowherd, as you so lovingly told us, your children, those folk tales, about the moon and humans and gods and deities. But what I remembered most was, you prayed to the moon. Yes, mother, you prayed to the moon! On every Mid-Autumn's night, you filled a tray with fruits, water caltrops, three cups of tea, bowls of jelly, moon cakes, areca nuts and betel leaves, a box of rouge and a bottle of florida water. These you offered to the Moon Goddess, after you have lighted the candles and joss sticks, to pray for health and safety for the family.

"But mother, the Americans have landed on the moon!", I would say, and you would silence me and beg forgiveness from the goddess for this ignorant son. It has been years since I last eaten those jellies, mother, how I wish I could eat those jellies that you made on Mid-Autumn's day again. They were delicious and sweet. But now, you are up there with the moon too, among the stars, and as I gaze up at the night skies, I miss you, your wisdom, though you know little of letters, your compassion, your faith in us, and I am thankful, knowing you will guide us on in the darkest nights.

full moon
and other lanterns -

mid-autumn's night.

written 12/05/2013
revised 07/09/2014

This is my attempt to translate the Chinese Tang dynasty poet Li Bai's "A Quiet Night Thought".

in front of my bed a patch of moonlight
it seems there is frost on the ground
i lift my head and gaze at the full moon
when i lower it i think of my hometown


The haiku at the end of my poem, I lifted from a previous post in my other blog. :)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2014

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Blogger Sumana Roy said...

this reads like a dream...betel leaves along with other things are also offered to deities here in India on various occasions...

08 September, 2014 00:01  
Blogger Nataša Dolenc said...

beautiful memories.. interesting tradition.

08 September, 2014 00:12  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

what a beautiful tribute to your mother...and her respect of and reverence of the moon made me her little chiding as well at bringing the moon to us just a bit...ha

08 September, 2014 00:41  
Blogger Mary said...

What a lovely and nostalgic reflection. We never do stop missing our mothers,do we?

08 September, 2014 01:35  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

Lee San, this is exquisitely beautiful, poignant, and moving. How I loved reading every line!

08 September, 2014 01:43  
Blogger Björn Rudberg said...

I really enjoyed your haibun.. the haiku a perfect compliment to your tribute to your mother.. but maybe also nostalgic thoughts on other things lost. Happy moon-festival --- even if there are just a few moon-cakes to share.

08 September, 2014 01:52  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

Sweet! What a great tradition/custom/prayer... handed down with respect, reverence, and explained in your art.

08 September, 2014 02:34  
Blogger Stormcat Poetry said...

This made me weep. And then I called my mother just to hear her voice while I still can.

08 September, 2014 06:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to read haibun, and this was very rich and beautiful like a voyage to a far land.

I think the haibun has succeeded very well. Thank you for sharing it.

08 September, 2014 07:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this story of your mother and her story to you of the moon. Lovely and sweet and a fabulous haiku.

08 September, 2014 09:11  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

I don't know what happens to my post but I came back to re-read this piece but, poof my original comment isn't here.
Moon cakes to you my friend and stay dry :-)

08 September, 2014 21:08  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


>"like a dream" : :)

i think there are some similarities in our cultures in that respect, especially in some rituals.


yes, it's an interesting tradition.


thanks! i can't help but smile every time i remembered i told her about the moon landings. :)


oh no, we don't!


kiddo, you would love reading anything about the moon. :D


i remember as a kid, i would help my mother with the preparations, setting up the offerings and so on. after that the whole family would sit down and enjoy the food. it was a great time for bonding.


thanks! sweet indeed! but certain traditions are dying out or are evolving into something that is hard to recognise. :(


oh wow!!


thank you! haibun is a refined way to let you tell a story. :)


thank you for the visit and comment. :)

08 September, 2014 23:00  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


have you been drinking? :D

i have comment moderation activated so comments won't be visible immediately. sorry about that. it's those pesky spam.

we drink chinese tea to go with the moon cakes during the festival. okay, sometimes we sneak in a beer.

08 September, 2014 23:07  
Blogger G L Meisner said...

Ah the memories we keep and cherish.

10 September, 2014 08:41  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

ah, yes, the memories!
thanks for dropping by. :)

10 September, 2014 23:02  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

Oh! Ok! No, not drinking... but just a little slow with the understanding of the blogosphere platform and its protocol... and your friggin time zone :-) hehe... See you on campus.

13 September, 2014 05:21  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

yeah, the friggin time zone. while you guys in the USA are up and about, i am sleeping. :)

13 September, 2014 15:01  

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