Under the Orange Tree

While browsing through blog posts on WordPress.com one day, I found a blog called A Writer’s Path. The site has regular writing prompts, and I found one I liked – ORANGE TREE. Well, it has to do with a tree for starters, and I like plants. 🙂

The poem tells the fictitious story of a less-than-picture-perfect life of a girl. She blossoms into a woman, falls in love, gets married, but ultimately parts from her partner. However, she finds happiness in her family of three children, her dog and nature. To accompany the poem, I have also done a simple illustration with my coloured pencils and Artline 210 pen.

Under the Orange Tree

Under the Orange Tree

Under the orange tree
I would spend my time
In the woods; blissfully free
Simple pleasures enjoyed; sublime

Lying under the orange tree
I craved for naught, but the breeze
Unshackled youth; carefree
Until pollen made me sneeze

Under the orange tree
Was the first time I saw you
With your friends, filled with glee
The sight of you moved me; the feeling grew

Under the orange tree; in the moonlight
Was the first time I kissed you
Encircled by fireflies; shining bright
The beginning of something new

Under the orange tree
Strewn with autumn leaves
We parted ways; to the humming of bees
You moved on; I was left to grieve

Under the orange tree
Years later; in the blossoming spring
Surrounded by loved ones; three
Children grown up; now I’m free

Under the orange tree
Reminiscing happy memories; smiling thoughtfully
With beloved dog at my knee
Gladness once again; painting artfully

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
27 February 2015

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Across the bridge

I’ve been really busy since October 2014, so I did not have time to think of any ideas for poems and short stories. However, since 1 Jan 2015 is a public holiday, I thought of writing a poem to start off the year. 🙂

The title of this poem is ‘Across the bridge’, because the December 2014 theme for The Writer’s Tower is BRIDGE. I decided to write a story poem for this theme.

So, here’s to a fruitful and creative year ahead. I wish all of you the very best in everything you do. 🙂

 

Bridge in Dungun, Terengganu
Bridge in Dungun, Terengganu

 

Across the Bridge

Across the bridge
Was where I first saw her
As I was coming down the ridge

Was she one of them? The thought did occur
In the wind, her wispy locks fluttered
Not that there was anyone to refer

As I walked quietly; not a word she uttered
But just as I passed; I caught her eye
A grudging greeting she muttered

‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’
Was the length and breathe of our conversation
For weeks, I wondered – who, where and why…

What would I say? I wondered in frustration
Now, there were only ‘them’ and ‘us’
Where did ‘we’ go? I thought in consternation

There was no longer any trust
What was I to say?
Be always on guard, we must

Across the bridge every day
Days turned into weeks, months and then a year
Over the divide, we did find our way

Was she one of them? I never did fear
Life was busy; so many other things to consider
I only cared that she was a companion and a peer

One day, it wasn’t the same. Was it the water?
Was it the clouds, the wind or the rain?
No, leaning on the beam, she faltered

Crimson streaked her shirt; she was in pain
To the doctor, I insisted
I tried to convince her in vain

Slumping down; weakly, she resisted
I held her steady, trying to sooth her frantically
Her downward spiral persisted

At last, she whispered in my ear softly
“My name is Karen, please remember me fondly.”

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
1 Jan 2015

 

Fishing boats in Dungun, Terengganu
Fishing boats in Dungun, Terengganu

 

Poetic style

This poem was written in the style of a terza rima – an Italian form of poetry first used by Dante Alighieri.

A terza rima consists of stanzas of three lines (or tercets). It follows an interlocking rhyming scheme, or chain rhyme – the middle of each stanza rhymes with the first and last line of the following stanza. However, there is no set length to this form, as long as it follows the pattern as follows:

ABA
BCB
CDC
DED

The last stanza will be a couplet rhyming with the middle line of the previous stanza. In this case, EE.

So here is my poem again with the rhyming scheme shown:

 

Across the Bridge

(A) Across the bridge
(B) Was where I first saw her
(A) As I was coming down the ridge

(B) Was she one of them? The thought did occur
(C) In the wind, her wispy locks fluttered
(B) Not that there was anyone to refer

(C) As I walked quietly; not a word she uttered
(D) But just as I passed; I caught her eye
(C) A grudging greeting she muttered

(D) ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’
(E) Was the length and breathe of our conversation
(D) For weeks, I wondered – who, where and why…

(E) What would I say? I wondered in frustration
(F) Now, there were only ‘them’ and ‘us’
(E) Where did ‘we’ go? I thought in consternation

(F) There was no longer any trust
(G) What was I to say?
(F) Be always on guard, we must

(G) Across the bridge every day
(H) Days turned into weeks, months and then a year
(G) Over the divide, we did find our way

(H) Was she one of them? I never did fear
(I) Life was busy; so many other things to consider
(H) I only cared that she was a companion and a peer

(I) One day, it wasn’t the same. Was it the water?
(J) Was it the clouds, the wind or the rain?
(I) No, leaning on the beam, she faltered

(J) Crimson streaked her shirt; she was in pain
(K) To the doctor, I insisted
(J) I tried to convince her in vain

(K) Slumping down; weakly, she resisted
(L) I held her steady, trying to sooth her frantically
(K) Her downward spiral persisted

(L) At last, she whispered in my ear softly
(L) “My name is Karen, please remember me fondly.”

To read more about the terza rima poetic style, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

Pretty Ugly

Since I feel that I should write meaningful stories and messages in the form of poems, I continue my social commentary series with a piece on animal adoption. In the spirit of The Writer’s Tower theme for July, PARADOX, I am writing a poem inspired by two words – ‘pretty ugly’. Pretty ugly is an oxymoron, which is defined as a compressed paradox – a figure of speech in which contradictory terms are paired together.

 

The one I found

An evening nigh four years ago
I was driving home just so
Double speed bumps; slowed down
A tiny shape walked in front; no sound
Where did it go? Oh, no!
Screeched to a halt; was it below?
In the beam of the headlights’ glow
A tiny dirty little kitty, I found
An evening nigh four years ago
Two-week-old kitten; no mum in sight; woe
So little tortoise shell came home, you know
Pretty ugly little thingy; white, black and brown
It wasn’t easy, but bit by bit, she grew round
Pretty ugly little thingy grew into a beauty; best in town
An evening nigh four years ago; my darling, found

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
17 July 2014

Keisha, the tortoise shell cat
Keisha, the tortoise shell cat

Message

This poem is about animal adoption. Homeless and neglected pets discarded by their owners are a growing concern all over the world. Rather than pay a lot of money to buy a cute fluffy pet from a pet shop, why not give a poor pet in a pet shelter a second chance at finding a forever home? People can get a second chance, and so can animals, too. So, if I can find a cat that behaves like a loyal and protective dog, you can also find a wonderful companion or two or three. 🙂

Visit your local pet shelter today, if you want to adopt a pet. You can also visit an online website for pet adoption. For example, you can visit the Petfinder website. I put the photos of 4 kittens from a stray up for adoption on this website, and they were all adopted within 2 weeks. So, the website is indeed effective.

Poetic style

This poem was written in the style of a Rondeau – a short poem consisting of fifteen lines that have two rhymes throughout. The first few words or phrase from the first line are repeated twice in the poem as a refrain. So, you can see the poem with the rhyming shown below. The capital A is the refrain (a sentence repeated from the first line).

(a) An evening nigh four years ago
(a) I was driving home just so
(b)  Double speed bumps; slowed down
(b)  A tiny shape walked in front, no sound
(a)  What was that? Did I hit it? Oh, no!
(a)  Screeched to a halt; was it below?
(a)  In the beam of the headlights’ glow
(b)  A tiny dirty little kitty, I found
(A)  An evening nigh four years ago
(a)  Two-week-old kitten; no mother in sight; woe
(a)  So little tortoise shell came home, you know
(b)  Pretty ugly little thingy; white, black and brown
(b)  It wasn’t easy, but bit by bit, she grew round
(a)  Pretty little ugly thingy grew into a beauty; best in town
(A)  An evening nigh four years ago; my darling, found

To read more about the Rondeau poem style, visit the Young Writers’ Website.

At the Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014

On Sunday, 22 June, I attended a writing workshop by Zen Cho entitled ‘Inspiration, Influence and Interaction’. The workshop was part of The Cooler Lumpur Festival 2014, which sought to bring together writers, musicians, filmmakers and artists from near and far. As with any hands-on workshop, we were required to actually do something, rather than sit and daydream :). We had a lot of fun brainstorming, thinking and discussing about ideas and stories.

The following poem was written in 10 minutes as the final writing activity in the workshop. I wrote the poem in the form of a modern haiku – in groups of 3 lines, with the first line having 5 syllables, the second line having 7 syllables, and the third line having 5 syllables. Not having written a haiku before, I thought it was a fun thing to do. I also wrote it in the style I like to call a ‘story poem’, where the entire story is told from beginning to end in the poem itself. 🙂

What am I to do?

In the dark canteen
Dreary and so depressing
Sat and lamented

What am I to do?
She has been locked up in jail
And I can’t help her

He stumbled outside
Pondering his dilemma
Oh, poor Clarissa!

He shuffled along
Just splashing into puddles
Ouch! He slipped and fell

He lay on his back
Cursing and cursing his fate
Oh, what shall he do?

Jake peered from above
The detective helped him up
“I found proof,” he said

Clarissa was free
Yes, they are reunited
Together at last

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
22 June 2014

Dumplings selling in a tiny shop lot in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. Photo taken on 24 May 2014.
He sat and lamented in the dark and dreary canteen.

 

To find out more about Zen Cho, her writing as well as her books, visit her website zencho.org.

To check out the annual Cooler Lumpur Festival, visit the official website.