The Esplanade wrote to ask for my permission to use a poem of mine - it's entitled Construction. I said okay.
I feel somewhat happy for this poem. The Quarterly Literary Review Singapore previously published this poem and it also appears in my book Two Baby Hands. But apart from that, Construction has not received much airplay or attention.
They were building a subway
station right next to our block.
Most of the time, you could not see
the workers. They worked deep down below,
beyond the reach of light -
like so many termites carving
ceaseless secrets into the hidden parts
of a wooden house.
At noon, they emerged from tunnels,
blinked into the sudden sun.
After a quick meal, they lay
in the shade of void decks
and swiftly folded themselves into sleep.
They became so still and quiet
you might have thought them dead.
Then a small breeze came, and one of them
stirred slightly, though he did not wake.
He would not have known it,
if you had come close enough to watch him breathe -
the way his chest slightly rose
............ ......... .............. and fell,
then, almost like a miracle,
............. and fell again.