13 December 2005


            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 would lie
            in the shade of void decks
            and swiftly fold 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,
            slightly rose
            ............ and fell again.
posted by Gilbert at Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Blogger floots said...

fold themselves into sleep - i love that
only you could make a poem about workmen breathing into something so meaningful

December 16, 2005  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Very powerful and strong--much like the image of those workmen.

December 16, 2005  
Blogger Carol said...

I like the contrast of the picture of the construction workers way up high to the poem of the workers underground.

December 18, 2005  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

guess there's not much places for these people to rest!

You managed to paint a very vivid image of these workers.

thanks for the read. :)

December 19, 2005  
Blogger Alson Teo said...

I hope to write a paper on this piece one day. This is one of my favourite poem. :)

December 20, 2005  
Blogger -┬«byn- said...

This poem came out in my unseen paper last week.. Nice!

September 24, 2006  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...


I'm honoured & pleased that your teacher decided to use my poem as homework for you and your classmates. :)

May I know which school you come from?

September 28, 2006  

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