Oct 31, 2009

Poems for the Weekend

Two Baby Hands was published in June. Since then, I haven't really tried to write any new material. However, the recent writing retreat on Pulau Ubin was quite inspiring. And so - two new poems:

        Poetry Workshop

        A girl in the class raised her hand and asked,
        “Why are your poems so sad?”
        I told her that I write happy poems too,
        bright, cheerful poems filled with sunshine
        and the scent of flowers,
        but although the others nodded their heads
        the girl grew unconvinced, dissatisfied,
        as if in my words she had detected
        the faint but unmistakeable traces of a lie.
        Indeed the world’s best poems are often sad
        their lines infected with darkness or
        at least mild despair, the protagonist grappling
        with some black, perplexing circumstance
        and I should have admitted then
        that the best poems are also always honest -
        in fact they are sad because the world
        is sad and they are honest,
        like a sick man who looks into the mirror
        and sees for the first time
        that he might be about to die.

        The Buddha on Pulau Ubin

        You bike along the last remnants of a dirt trail,
        rattling your bones on gravel.
        All around you there is birdsong and greenery,
        White clouds in a clear blue sky,
        And somewhere in the distance a wild dog barks.
        Not another human being is in sight.
        Then suddenly there is a shrine
        And in the shrine the statue of a buddha,
        towering well above your head.
        Welcome, the Buddha’s voice seems to boom,
        I am pleased that you have come!
        Giant lips stretch across his face in a clown’s
        Impossibly wide and manic grin,
        an error of proportions committed by some
        inexperienced or underpaid sculptor.
        Somehow you imagine that a buddha should be
        more sedate, less excited,
        but then Pulau Ubin has already begun to die.
        Abandoned, even a buddha can grow lonely here,
        So lonely that a little madness might
        Eventually touch his mind.

"Poetry Workshop" is not about an Ubin workhop, but a previous workshop I had conducted at Cedar Girls Secondary. "The Buddha on Pulau Ubin" still feels unfinished to me; it needs some more work, but I'll come back to it another time.

Incidentally, folks, in case you haven't noticed, in recent times I have grown tired of socio-political blogging. Although I don't plan to give it up completely, it's probably not going to be the main theme of this blog much longer. If the hardcore social/political stuff is what you come here to read, you might be better off visiting other blogs.

Not sure what exactly I'll be writing about here on this blog. I guess it will be more along the lines of personal reflections and thoughts on my own life.


Anonymous said...

whatever you've read been writing has been quite enjoyable to read! liked the buddha poem more than the first one ;)

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
It's good to blog about your life as a means of letting out steam.And also to share your feelings and opinions on people and daily occurences with like-minded readers, who feels the same way.
But do not neglect the socio-political scene as well.It gives your blog more variety.There must and should be more than one interest in one's life.Your socio-political blog are very informative and you will deprive people like me of another way to look at things (afterall, you can't trust everything our newspaper reports).

Anonymous said...

I have grown tired of socio-political blogging

You sure it's not because you got invited to ISD for a "lim kopi" session?

Now I wonder if you did indeed spend a week in Pulau Ubin ... or was it really some dark ISD cell.