Once Paper Boats

Byron Bay – from the Cliffs – June Perkins

Paper boats conjure dreams
of petals soaked by
scents of the

Traveling boats
float in shadows

who have simple hope for happy lands,

but white markers sink
in sandy earth
marking graves of people
who cannot resist new germs.

‘Once watched paper boats,’*
ông nội, grandfather paternal says
but nobody understands
Vietnamese words, no translators here.

So shadow puppets dance
for petals
falling from kumquat boughs.

Extract from Shadow Puppets, p. 4

(c) June Perkins

*Would like to have this line in Vietnamese
chiếc thuyền giấy theo dõi is the google translation
but will have to do some more research as these translations
are sometimes clunky and want to make sure it is poetic.


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