20 January 2007

            My Father Growing Old

            I imagine him getting up early to make
            his own coffee. Reading the papers.
            No plans for the day. Turning on the radio
            a little louder than it has to be.
            Alone at home. Then the phone ringing,
            he goes to answer it and finds me
            on the line. His son, a grown man now,
            calling from another country, increasingly
            distant, more and more a stranger.
            The call cheers him up, nonetheless.
            He says, “How are you? How’s everything?”
            He really wants to know. He is my father,
            after all. He is growing old. But I don’t
            know where to start. I want to tell him that
            I love him and that I’m sorry I have to
            live my own life now. But these are not the
            things I know how to say from a distance.
            These are things I may never learn to say.
            So instead we speak of smaller daily things,
            and soon the brief connection between us
            will unmake itself, and expire.
posted by Gilbert at Saturday, January 20, 2007


Anonymous petals said...


got here from BoY's blog.

pls allow me to use your poems as teaching resource in my lit lesson. i like them lots and think they make very good material for discussion about the many issues about life.

thanks. :)

July 29, 2005  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

I don't know who Boy is, but you are very welcome to use my poems for your literature lesson.

You can find more of my poems elsewhere on the Internet, eg in the archives of Softblow; and the old issues of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore.

July 29, 2005  
Anonymous petals said...

thanks very much :)

BoY = trompe l'oeil

July 30, 2005  
Blogger Alson Teo said...

Hey Gilbert,

Are you interested of having a chit-chat session with some of the aspiring local poets? You know something like a “Face-to-Face with Gilbert Koh” kind of thing; sort of like an informal gathering.

July 30, 2005  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

Aiyoh, I think you should pick someone more famous than me, lah. Someone like Alvin Pang, Cyril Wong or Hsien Min.

July 30, 2005  
Blogger Alson Teo said...

Heehee, Alvin I’ve already got him to conduct the workshop remember?

As for the other two poets, no lah, don't know why I don’t really understand their poems. Maybe too chim for newbie like me. ;p

July 31, 2005  
Blogger Anonymous Poet said...

Hi Gilbert! What is new? I haven't seen you around at my site in a while. I hope you are doing well. Feel free to stop in and say hi sometime!

Take care!

July 31, 2005  
Blogger Heavenly Sword said...

I love this poem. It strikes a chord in my heart...

July 31, 2005  
Blogger DEe said...

Love this poem. Thats what i feel with my mum so often now... very difficult feeling..

September 27, 2005  
Blogger Bi Bi said...

this post really makes me feel guilty and i know how it feels when some words jus cant seem to come out from the mouth

October 28, 2005  
Blogger MB said...

Sometimes the smaller things say it. It depends on the way you speak together. But those moments of connection can seem ephemeral.

February 04, 2007  
Blogger Goddess said...

Hey Gilbert,

This poem reminds me of the ones I studied from Boey Kim Cheng. I relate. =)

March 01, 2007  
Blogger RubberCherry said...

My heart just broke into pieces. This is very good writing. And, of course, very good English.

August 10, 2007  

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