A visual representation of "Lamma Island Tofu-fa" by Kate Rogers
CHAN Yee Han
Pooi To Middle School
The poem “Lamma Island Tofu-fa” depicts the beautiful scenery
that the speaker sees near dusk time,
so warm-toned colours like yellow, orange, and brown are employed to present a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere.
As coloured pencils usually offer a handmade and personal feel,
they are considered as an excellent medium of choice for me to express the speaker’s experience on Lamma Island.
Since rich imagery is used throughout the poem, my drawing the old lady with a toothless smile, the gaping doorway of a stone house, and the pleasant-smelling white ginger lilies. These objects are included in the drawing because they all contribute to the beauty of Mot tat. Besides, since tofu-fa is the main focus of the poem and it is one of the specialities of Lamma Island, the dessert and its related objects such as turquoise plastic bowls are placed lower within the picture plane to make them appear closer to the viewer.
Nowadays, everyone has a hectic schedule in a fast-paced city. Children and adolescents are busy coping with exams and schoolwork, while adults are swamped with work. During the pandemic, we rarely have the opportunity to go outdoors to explore nature. Hence, I hope that the nightmare of COVID will end soon, so that we can go out for some fresh air and appreciate the beauty of nature like what the speaker of the poem does.
Lamma Island Tofu-fa
On the broken trail to Mot tat
a field of white ginger lilies
flags us down.
We shrug off our packs.
Huddled among ruins to our left,
a stone house
red clay roof sloping,
like an old man sleeping.
A wriggly-tin shed
shades wooden tubs of tofu.
We sit at a plank table.
A tiny woman
with a toothless smile,
trembling, blue-veined hands,
carries a tray. Tofu-fa
is heaped like soft snow
in turquoise plastic bowls.
I love the tofu’s smooth surface
but crave the sight of golden sugar
pocking its face,
tofu puddled in ginger syrup –
its sharp scent,
clearing my nostrils
with the first spoonful.
Dusk creeps under our table
grey as the old woman’s dog.
The old woman dozes
on her low stool beside the shed,
bathed in the milk of the moon.
“Lamma Island Tofu-fa” first appeared in the American Literary Journal, World Literature Today, Spring 2019 issue.