Sunday, January 13, 2008

the gods are watching over us in the morning

This is the 7th poem in the collection that I submitted to the GPA 2007 competition.

This poem tries to capture the sights and sounds of a morning in Bukit Merah.

cup of coffee
photo by Jason Webber
image from

the gods are watching over us in the morning

in the half light that is the dawn over
the blocks of flats, when the night wind
gently slaps discarded papers and dead leaves
along the long expanse of corridor of our block,

i leave for work, my cigarette smoke mingling
with the perfumed incense my old neighbour lighted
to the God of Heaven, praying for safe passage
through the day for her and her loved ones.

then i walked past doors protected by talismans,
baguas, even cruxifixes, past homes guarded by waifs
of pomeranians that snarled from behind locked gates,
their barks, shrill and indignant, in the cool air,

go past flowerpots with plants badly in need
of watering, down the stairs through the coffeeshop,
through harsh fluorescent lights and whiffs of toast,
past grizzled old men drinking coffee from saucers,

then meet the hordes of sleepy-eyed children
sleepwalking to schools, the grandmothers
shuffling to the wet market to haggle over
fishes and vegetables.

the same gods are watching over us all.

revised 20.07.07
© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 )

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Blogger floots said...

really enjoyed this
for me it did just what you wanted
conveying the sights sounds and impressions of the place
thank you

14 January, 2008 16:18  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks, floots.

so it works! :)

14 January, 2008 22:32  
Blogger polona said...

this brings to me the sights, sounds and smells of an early morning... nicely done!

(perhaps it would be better if you didn't use past tense in the third stanza)

15 January, 2008 04:49  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks for pointing that out!

it's an old bad habit, inconsistent in tenses. :) they have a way of drifting off even though i have checked.

appreciate your comments. :)

15 January, 2008 11:56  
Blogger J. Andrew Lockhart said...

MORE!!! I loved this! You described it so well, I felt as if I was with you. Makes me want to see more. Wonderful writing!

18 January, 2008 13:50  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks, andrew!

that was supposed to be 1980's Singapore, but i think certain things have not changed much...:)

18 January, 2008 23:58  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

In the world we live in we need our Gods. Excellent poem!!

20 January, 2008 08:35  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

i guess we do, pat.
thank you!

20 January, 2008 23:11  
Blogger Medusa aka expiringpoet said...

Soulful as always :)

28 January, 2008 23:55  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


more like grumpy and sleepy when you are up and running at 6+ a.m. in the morning. :)

29 January, 2008 23:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this one a lot! It flows well, rich in imagery and sound. This is one of the best ones I've read of yours.

01 February, 2008 20:05  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you!

i think it is one of my better poems too. :)
i wrote many drafts for this, but i finally settled on a form with long lines (i tend to use shorter lines).

like a long, tough day ahead. :)

01 February, 2008 22:25  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this glimpse of your urban morning, especially the grandmothers shuffling to market and the sleepy children to school.

24 August, 2013 01:32  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks, Sherry.

one of my personal favourites . :)

24 August, 2013 23:09  

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