Zào Jūn in year of the tiger

(The kitchen god at Spring Festival)

To save the stove

My home I left
the only son
My father dead
the eldest one
Our house
the last
My mother lost
to seas and winds
her life too cost
My sisters two
alone me left.
Those homes past
in time destroyed
left me last
my hands employed
to write the words
so seldom spoken
to save the stove
with faith unbroken.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is also the author of Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..