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  • Celia Jenkins

NaPoWriMo 2024 - Day Fifteen

Prompt - A poem inspired by stamps.

Guernsey Stamps - Chinese New Year Collections

Year of the dragon

Zhen bang! (Awesome!)

Couples wait

to have babies

in this year

- the strongest, most prosperous -

so many dragon babies

Little emperors

clamoring to be

number one.

Hong se. Jin se. (Red colour. Gold colour)

Of course,

the most royal of colours

for the most royal

of babies.

Year of the rabbit,

If only you'd waited

Nainai will mutter (grandma)

You could have had

a dragon.

But tu are cool too. (rabbit)

Lucky, longevity, discretion,

says google.

It was the year of the rabbit

when I went to China,

twelve years ago.

Was it twelve years ago??


Reading the stamp theme, I immediately thought of Guernsey Post and the lovely stamps produced in my homeland. Saying that, I always thought it funny, the things they choose to make stamps depicting. I can see what the Island Games, the GSPCA, and the Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie, have got to do with Guernsey, but what do Asian elephants and royal weddings have to do with my little island? Then again, I guess there are only so many channel island themes you can come up with.

I noticed the Chinese New Year collections and, having lived in China, and having a smattering of the language, I decided to use this as my theme. Dragon year is notoriously popular with Chinese parents (perhaps less so these days... those young'uns with their modern ideas and lack of respect for tradition) but I thought it would be a good comparison, the zodiac animal of this year compared with last year.

On a separate note, I've recently discovered that there is some difference in opinion when it comes to italicizing foreign words, something that I've always done. I find it a very interesting topic and am considering changing my style. What do you think? Does italicizing foreign words help to signpost them, or is it a faux pas? Didn't italicize that, did I? What do you think? To italicize or not to italicize?

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