A visual representation of "Lamma Island Tofu-fa" by Kate Rogers
FU Wai Hin
St. Mary's Canossian College
Colour pencils are used to create the stone house, the shed, the old lady and tofu-fa.
I have burnished them and used sharp colours such as red to increase their presence
so that they stand out in the drawing.
The large round bowl of tofu-fa is placed in the middle of the artwork so as to draw attention.
The old lady and the shed are coloured with solid dark colours to create a quiet and still atmosphere where the old lady is sleeping peacefully.
Black paper is used and only simple lines are drawn in the background to contrast with the detailed coloured items. The simplicity reflects the speaker’s preference for calm, simple things in life.
The giant bowl of tofu-fa doubles as the moon. The ring of light fog around it symbolises moonlight, or, as in the poem, “the milk of the moon”. The warm fluffy white tofu-fa paired with the sweet syrup communicates a homey and tranquil atmosphere like the moon does. The speaker feels warm and welcome as she tastes the delicious tofu-fa after a long walk in nature.
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.