If you could travel anywhere, where would your destination be?
I have longed to travel to China for thirty years because of the amazing arts, history, beauty, and my curiosity regarding Chinese literature. Ten years ago, I was so fortunate to travel to both China and Hong Kong. I accompanied some of the Lewis University Business Department faculty members and their students, who were studying international business there.
While in Hong Kong, we all took a river cruise, which was the inspiration for the poem below.
The Star Ferry
Off the noisy streets of Hong Kong
with the blaring beeping of cars
and the shrill shouting of people in the streets,
a meld of tourists and locals
board the spectacular Star Ferry
for the sunset river cruise
on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor.
The array of passengers mingle
and share their varied reasons
for taking such a scenic adventure.
The snapping sound of photos
taken on cellphones and cameras
rises above the clamor of conversation.
In the crowd of voyagers,
a beautiful Asian woman stands alone.
She is young, demur, and striking.
She shields her mouth when spoken to
with her fine, delicate fingers,
as if she is embarrassed,
and her alabaster skin contrasts her
black, almond eyes,
accentuated by her elegant ebony hair,
highlighted by the glow of the red lantern
above her head.
The Nehru collared silk dress
snuggly fits her petite frame
patterned with delicate floral embroidery
of cherry blossoms and bonsai.
Her feet adorned in pink flats,
wrapped with ribbons at the ankles.
She is my ballerina of the Orient
As the sun sets,
passengers again click the views
of the notoriously scenic harbor.
Once the sky is dark,
the vessel is a beacon on the congested waters.
illuminated in strands
of oversized bright white bulbs.
Now the moon and neon lights
from the many business signs
reflect on the choppy water.
As I disembark the Star Ferry,
the smell of water, fish, wood,
spices, steam, and human waste
still fill the air, but my ballerina
of the Orient is always with me.
I long to go back to Hong Kong to see the sights of the amazing harbor all lit up at night and enjoy the picturesque mountain views in the daytime. I will again make memories that will last a lifetime.
— Therese Jones, Assistant Professor