09 August 2006

Francisco de Goya, The Third of May


              National Day Parade

              I had a small part in a
              Big show of a great little nation.
              My uniformed mates and I were
              To march out, swing left,
              Turn twice, and get off the grounds
              In twenty seconds flat.
              Meanwhile the music boomed,
              The lasers splashed,
              And the darkened crowds hit
              A new high of pre-planned,
              Programmed excitement.
              Later at home, my mother replayed
              The video tape five times
              But couldn't tell her tiny toy-
              Soldier son from any of the rest.
              "That one is me," I said,
              Pointing at the screen.
              I couldn’t be sure.
              Still we laughed and clapped
              Our hands like children,
              Knowing that it was never
              Supposed to matter.
posted by Gilbert at Wednesday, August 09, 2006 8 comments

04 August 2006


            ching ming

            to bright hill temple she has gone
            carrying joss and money
            bringing food and drink
            for her mother-in-law’s soul.

            lychees oranges and one apple
            two bowls of white rice
            three vegetarian dishes
            ang ku kueh and bean paste buns

            joss sticks chopsticks
            a vase to hold the flowers
            two chinese cuplets
            to hold the chinese tea.

            with a weary heart
            she kneels before the urn
            to explain for those
            who are not here.

            ah seng cannot come
            he is too busy at the office
            tua gor cannot come because
            she is in poor health

            ah leong will not come
            now that he is baptised
            ji gor is not coming
            but i do not know why.

            so today i come alone, mother
            i bring your favourite dishes
            this money i burn for your
            use in the other world

            the years pass and we forget
            but i am here, mother, and today
            you shall not be lonely
            in the season of the dead.
posted by Gilbert at Friday, August 04, 2006 11 comments