Sunday, April 03, 2016

when she was reduced to ashes

I was at the grave of my late wife during the period of Qing Ming, to clean her grave and give offerings. I touched her portrait on the marble. She is lovely. She is.

I wrote this for SingPoWriMo 2016 (they have a facebook page to post for submissions, but I did not post it there as I did not join the event officially. I think I will not be able to write a poem a day, thanks to my horrible workload). SingPoWriMo is like a local version of NaPoWriMo.

photo by wintersixfour
image from

when she was reduced to ashes

to see her reduced to ashes
in a furnace
i am powerless
and nothing i can do
but to give a
weak wave
and every fervent talk of
life and death
is meaningless
for the night before
she was just a slab
of meat
in a casket
and to think
we used to talk
and laugh
about our small universe
and to
caress and care
every night
before we sleep.


"How I wish, how I wish you were here..."

-- Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #296 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

Oh this is so beautifully poignant. You are such a gifted Poet!

03 April, 2016 22:22  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Sanaa, for your kind comment! :)

03 April, 2016 23:26  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is so very moving. What a terrible thing it is, to lose the beloved. Don't worry about a poem a day, just write when you can. It is always good to read you.

03 April, 2016 23:39  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

it happened more than twenty years ago, but the day she was cremated is still very clear in my mind.

about the poetry challenge. one year, i achieved a poem a day, and it was really tough, but fun. only once. if i can't write a poem on a particular day, i will let it pass. :)
i will be glad if i can complete 15 poems in this month!

thank you, Sherry!

03 April, 2016 23:53  
Blogger C.C. said...

This is so emotionally powerful not only because of the magnitude of your loss but also because you speak of the powerlessness that one feels when faced with something as huge as the death of a loved one.....that lack of control that we have over such takes us outside of ourselves and leaves us broken in a way that little else can!

04 April, 2016 00:31  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

My heart just broke a little. I see you touching your wife's image, nostalgia (and perhaps a smile) shadowing your face, good memories brightening it... And then your poem... *sigh* Losing the best part of our hearts to love produces such good poetry. Great, soul-ripping poetry. ♥

04 April, 2016 01:26  
Blogger Carrie Van Horn said...

Time heals the pain, but the loss is always there in our heart....this just gripped my heart! Poignant and lovely.

04 April, 2016 04:19  
Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

The deepest loss...gut wrenching as we watch the aftermath as if it isn't even real....a deeply moving poem.

04 April, 2016 07:43  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Both pieces of writing are beautiful and moving.

04 April, 2016 07:53  
Blogger Sumana Roy said...

life is made of such stirring moments which you've put so poignantly....

04 April, 2016 12:14  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

The title alone is powerful - and each line is one of commemoration but i sense amidst the loss a feeling of togetherness...perhaps the essence of a person cannot be reduced..a brilliant poem

04 April, 2016 17:47  
Blogger Luk Lei said...

Time doesn't slip when the inevitable touches us. Really powerful, It's raining up here in Macau on this Ching Ming, holiday. I think the mood is quite set.

04 April, 2016 20:11  
Blogger kelvin s.m. said...

Beautiful & sad & heartfelt. I can read this again & again & the feeling is still there, only it becomes more palpable.

Last year I took the guts to write one poem a day in April, and managed to write up to the 25th day & nothing more. I thought I was determined enough to finish the challenge but it was more overwhelming than I thought it would be. :)

04 April, 2016 20:24  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


i remembered that sense of powerlessness well. the hands were shivering, the legs were about to collapse. yes, it really broke me up in a way little else can.
thank you for your insightful comment. :)


yes, i did smile, and talk to her, the good memories coming back too, as always.
thank you for your comment. :)


yes, time is always there to heal. :)


it is always difficult to let go, you will think that it is just a dream, a nightmare, that one can wake up from. the reality is hard to take.


thank you! :)


thank you! such moments are what memories are made of. :)


i liked it when readers mentioned the titles!
perhaps, yes, this is a poem of togetherness too, not just helplessness.
thank you for another perspective of this poem. :)

Luk Lei,

there's a Chinese belief that there will be rain on days during Ching Ming. It is not a public holiday over here, so i went on a weekend to visit. :)


hey, it's good to see you! yes, it can be rather overwhelming, to write a poem a day in April. i managed it only once during all my "campaigns". i think, for a person juggling a day job (especially a hectic one) and the writing challenge, it really is, well, challenging.
so this year i will try to write one a day, but so far, it's not looking good. :D

04 April, 2016 23:48  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

A great honor.

05 April, 2016 00:51  
Blogger Stormcat Poetry said...

Strange timing for me to read this today . . . death is messing with my mind presently but still I can't seem to stop looking for anything written about it. Thanks

05 April, 2016 10:47  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thanks, friend.
you seem pretty busy these days.. :)


i thought it was kind of morbid or weird of you, but then i went over to your blog and i understand...
take care.

05 April, 2016 20:06  
Blogger Myrna R. said...

This went straight to my heart. I like the raw feeling in it, without drama, just sincere.

06 April, 2016 23:29  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Myrna! loved the comment. :)

07 April, 2016 21:03  
Blogger magiceye said...

Poignant and heart wrenching.....

09 April, 2016 19:20  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

magiceye, great to hear from you! :)

09 April, 2016 20:08  

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