Singapore Poetry Writing Month 2017

Too late to switch on my laptop and hit the Ctrl+F, so I flick the screen down till my finger is sore. It’s quite amazing to see the poetry scene in Singapore coming to life; the breadth and depth of thoughts expressed – in English and Singlish, by amateurs and professionals, strangers and friends. I have 6 days of catch-up to do, perhaps my poetry kit will help.

Head over to the poetry convergence to check it out. Note of warning: poems may be dodgy or inspired, sleepy or stilted, bold or brilliant – no promises!


Protected: Dark trip back

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away it goes

swaddled in the best I can find
(bubble wrap and cotton candy clouds)
it walks out the door with a mind of its own

it’s gonna show the world, it says
with a beam and a hopeful shine
I watch it go
my last glimpse shows
a stray tendril out of place
make a grab, come back!
make a snatch, regret

it’s too late
it’s gone
it’s gonna show the world

its mussed-up hair and cheeky dare
its courage rare, and treasured wares
shone with loving care

Me & she 

She dashes moisture from her eyes, hides a sniffle in a cough (or am I imagining it?). I shoot a startled glance, say something silly that draws a groan from my supervisor and a weak laugh from her. 

Individual differences fascinate me.

Every other day I bury my face, half in despair, lost glances unanswered as he chugs on relentlessly. But it doesn’t scare me anymore (maybe it’s the constant pummeling), it’s a challenge I will learn to handle.

Pretty pale blue deepens into dusk.

Early mornings

A 7.6km cycle at 6am isn’t really my idea of fun – but it has given me some precious quiet morning time, and for that I’m thankful. It’s been a while since I’ve been rowing, and have consequently avoided both the joys and frustrations of a team sport (and an outdoor sport for that matter, because it felt too windy to row). But above and beyond the rhythmic clunking up and down the river, the occasional early mornings hold a charm of their own. There’s something special about floating effortlessly along (it’s an happy downhill coast there) in the magical minutes of half-light, accompanied by the music of the dawn chorus – little birds singing their hearts out to greet spring mornings. The little children of the earth rise at dawn, and make quite a show of it, and I’m their humble audience. The music setlist of the rosiness-inducing, uphill pant back is also one of wakening; this time though, it’s the deeper rumbling of machinery, lights flickering on in the neat rows of houses under the unruly trees and their now-silent inhabitants, the scent of bacon-and-eggs wafting through the air.

The fresh morning shower, the steaming cup of ginseng tea oddly paired with a bowl of crumbly milky muesli, the feel-good stretch, the bundling up in blankets make for a cosy morning. A book would complete the picture, but there’s work to do, so I’ll scoot. (Sigh, what an unquenchably dreamy little spirit I am ><)

off to a poetry lecture-reading

poetry is meant to be spoken, to savor in the delight of the “inner music of each line” – as the author of this article so succinctly phrases it. reading poetry on my own in my room is a peaceful nighttime activity, but so often I find myself skimming through the sparse words, 20 per page nothing compared to the densely-written textbooks I’m used to. as if poetry were meant to be understood in a glance!

was absolutely thrilled to find out, purely by chance (no Facebook event, just happened to see a poster on the wall – what a tech-defying horror!) that Alice Oswald is gonna be coming to Cambridge to give a lecture-reading of her book Falling Awake :) :)

being read a book to – and I don’t mean lectured to – brings to mind childhood. seated on the sofa, tucked in bed, the suspense, the inability to skip to the end, the impatience, hanging on to every ephemeral word (which lingered a fraction of a second in the air before those sound waves were extinguished forever). I wonder what being read to will be like, 15 years later.

shall update this post later.

“Oswald steps bravely to the task, and with an insistent care for the sounds we have become deaf to, writes to convince us that there is still a language for the shock of being alive.”