Fond Memories

Starting this week, Wednesday is poetry writing day in the Malaysian Writers FB page. The word prompt for today is ‘photograph’. So, I wrote a piece on nostalgia and family, since we are celebrating Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Fond Memories

Collated in faded dusty albums
Countless fond memories of days past
Photographs of us, dad and mum

Thick album pages, made to last
Images of family for years beyond
Hold them safe and fast

Showing kindred spirits; ties and bonds
Yellowing photos in yellowing pages
For gazing, with recollections fond

From thence we grew through the ages
As our parents grew old and grey
The passage of time winds through its pages

Blood flows thicker than water, day by day
Forget not this saying, come what may


Khor Hui Min
13 May 2015

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:

Fond Memories

(A) Collated in faded dusty albums
(B) Countless fond memories of days past
(A) Photographs of us, dad and mum

(B) Thick album pages, made to last
(C) Images of family for years beyond
(B) Hold them safe and fast

(C) Showing kindred spirits; ties and bonds
(D) Yellowing photos in yellowing pages
(C) For gazing, with recollections fond

(D) From thence we grew through the ages
(E) As our parents grew old and grey
(D) The passage of time winds through its pages

(E) Blood flows thicker than water, day by day
(E) Forget not this saying, come what may

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To the esteemed Phillis Wheatley (1753-1783)

It is Week 4 of the 10 Premodern Poems by Women public online course by Stanford University. It has been interesting to read poems written by women in the 17th and 18th centuries and learn about the lives of the poets themselves. To visit the Stanford University public online courses page, click here.

Phillis Wheatley wrote a poem to the Earl of Dartmouth. So my task was to write a poem to Phillis Wheatley. My 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. On top of the terza rima rhyming scheme, I decided to make each line ten syllables long.

So, here’s the poem. I envisioned it as a present to Phillis, the first African American poet, as she is given her freedom. It is a poem of encouragement to her. 🙂

To the esteemed Phillis Wheatley (1753-1783)

My lady, greetings and I bid you well
A bud, unfurling into vibrant bloom
Bright, gifted, full of promise, one can tell

Not destined to work long hours on the loom
Well read and learned, a lady well trained
Enter and you light up the entire room

Heaven smiles upon you, without refrain
Child of Africa, bought a slave, now free
Illustrious future awaits, preordained

Don’t squander your youth; be all you can be
Be brave and strike forth; adventure awaits
The world is your oyster, wouldn’t you agree?

Your hopes and dreams await outside the gates
Don’t give up though hardship doesn’t abate

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
28 April 2015

Oh, and it’s National Poetry Writing Month in the USA (NaNoWriPo) now. Lots of people are writing a poem every day for a whole month. 😉

White rhododendron in full bloom at Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei, Taiwan. Photo taken on 13 March 2015.
White rhododendron in full bloom at Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei, Taiwan. Photo taken on 13 March 2015.

Fiery orbs of fire

I saw some beautiful photos of reptiles and amphibians that my friend took today. One particular photo of a tiny frog with bright fiery eyes (featured below) caught my imagination. The photo and the Malaysian Writers FB page writing prompt inspired me to write something about fire and mystery. 🙂

Spotted Litter Frog (Leptobrachium hendricksoni). Photo credit: Vince Adam (28 February 2015). Visit Vince Adam Photography on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/65586506@N04/with/16063383363/
Spotted Litter Frog (Leptobrachium hendricksoni). Photo credit: Vince Adam (28 February 2015). Visit Vince Adam Photography at Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/65586506@N04/with/16063383363/)

Fiery orbs of fire

Fiery orbs of fire
Full of mystery
Dare I draw your ire

Omen of misery
What secrets do you hide?
And feats of wizardry

What rules do you abide?
What bounties do you bequest?
With the rise and fall of the tides

Fiery orbs of fire; that never rest
Shrouded in obscurity; from east to west

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
1 March 2015


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:

Fiery orbs of fire

(A)  Fiery orbs of fire
(B)  Full of mystery
(A)  Dare I draw your ire

(B)  Omen of misery
(C)  What secrets do you hide?
(B)  And feats of wizardry

(C)  What rules do you abide?
(D)  What bounties do you bequest?
(C)  With the rise and fall of the tides

(D)  Fiery orbs of fire; that never rest
(D)  Shrouded in obscurity; from east to west

My second poem published :)

I started this blog to encourage myself to write. What’s the difference between writing on a notepad and typing it out in a blog post, you might wonder? Well, for starters, my handwriting is awful. 🙂 Secondly, having a piece of writing in a nice blog with accompanying photos/illustrations gives a sense of satisfaction. To each their own, I know… but still…. the most important thing is to be able to motivate oneself to write. 😀

Since last year (2014), I’ve been submitting works here and there to be published. I’m very happy that the Malaysian Naturalist published a few of my nature-themed poems. Here’s the second poem they published – it’s the actual page from the magazine.

Published in the January 2015 issue of the Malaysian Naturalist
Published in the January 2015 issue of the Malaysian Naturalist
January issue where Sitting on the Sidelines was published
The cover of the Malaysian Naturalist, January 2015 issue

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.

Sitting on the sidelines

Today’s a public holiday in Malaysia, so I managed to find some time to write a poem on sustainable consumption to promote environmental awareness. 🙂  Being environmentally friendly is not rocket science – everybody can do it. But we’ll leave the hybrid cars, solar energy and wind power generation to the pros. 🙂

Ma'Daerah Beach, Terengganu
Ma’Daerah Beach, Terengganu during sunrise. It is a turtle sanctuary and the beach is closed to the public to prevent people from disturbing nesting turtles.

Sitting on the sidelines

As the globe spins, and time flies by
The world is a-changing
Most think they are just passers-by

But life as we know it is shifting
So what shall we do?
Sit on the sidelines, never engaging?

The climate is changing, oh woe
The sea level’s a-rising
You see it on the evening news, too

Precious life, away it is slipping
What can be done?
And the world population is exploding

Nothing is constant; will it all be gone?
Will we disappear under the seas
Forever lost; only shadows and bones?

Nothing is forever, even the trees
But that doesn’t mean we should do naught
Right the wrongs; there’s no place to flee

The error of our ways; were they taught?
Live sustainably; reduce our footprint
Let’s share our ideas and thoughts

If not, all will be in vain; take a hint
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Ignite your creativity like flint

Choose to carpool and cycle
Switch off the lights when you leave the room
Let not your habits be your manacles

Tis not a herald of gloom and doom
But plan what you want to buy
Meat, greens, fruits, mushrooms

Reduce food waste; easy as pie
Practise and it’ll become a habit
And if you don’t really need it, don’t buy

One’s only a drop in the ocean; a tiny bit
But if all were committed; that would be the seed

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
5 October 2014

Corals
Corals

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:

Sitting on the sidelines

(A) As the globe spins, and time flies by
(B) The world is a-changing
(A) Most think they are just passers-by

(B) But life as we know it is shifting
(C) So what shall we do?
(B) Sit on the sidelines, never engaging?

(C) The climate is changing, oh woe
(D) The sea level’s a-rising
(C) You see it on the evening news, too

(D) Precious life, away it is slipping
(E) What can be done?
(D) And the world population is exploding

(E) Nothing is constant; will it all be gone?
(F) Will we disappear under the seas
(E) Forever lost; only shadows and bones?

(F) Nothing is forever, even the trees
(G) But that doesn’t mean we should do naught
(F) Right the wrongs; there’s no place to flee

(G) The error of our ways; were they taught?
(H) Live sustainably; reduce our footprint
(G) Let’s share our ideas and thoughts

(H) If not, all will be in vain; take a hint
(I) Reduce, reuse, recycle
(H) Ignite your creativity like flint

(I) Choose to carpool and cycle
(J) Switch off the lights when you leave the room
(I) Let not your habits be your manacles

(J) Tis not a herald of gloom and doom
(K) But plan what you want to buy
(J) Meat, greens, fruits, mushrooms

(K) Reduce food waste; easy as pie
(L) Practise and it’ll become a habit
(K) And if you don’t really need it, don’t buy

(L) One’s only a drop in the ocean; a tiny bit
(L) But if all were committed; that would be the seed

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

Darkness

Darkness, a velvety blanket
Silent and ominous
Punctuated by cicadas and crickets

Slumbering were the boisterous
Birds and monkeys
Curled up in dreams wondrous

Absent was the buzzing of bees
Industrious in their collection
Of pollen and nectar; flying carefree

Sambar deer observe with caution
Quiet; still as the night air
Hinds ready to offer fawns protection

A tiger watches a pair
Its striped pelt well hidden
A deer dinner was delectable fare

All of a sudden
The rustling of leaves
Movement was forbidden

Tension, thick enough to cleave
Muscles taunt; ears listening
And so the tale weaves

Hunter, so close, preparing
Breaks cover and leaps
On his quarry, pouncing

Timid fawn weeps
Brave hind blocks and kicks
Tiger suffers a gash; deep

He looks at his wound; licks
Slinks off in defeat
No dinner tonight; he’s got a nick

Stamping their feet
The deer bid him farewell
Till the next time they meet

Tonight, none fell
Tomorrow, nobody can tell

 

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
30 August 2014

 

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:

Darkness

(A)  Darkness, a velvety blanket
(B) Silent and ominous
(A) Punctuated by cicadas and crickets

(B) Slumbering were the boisterous
(C) Birds and monkeys
(B) Curled up in dreams wondrous

(C) Absent was the buzzing of bees
(D) Industrious in their collection
(C) Of pollen and nectar; flying carefree

(D) Sambar deer observe with caution
(E) Quiet; still as the night air
(D) Hinds ready to offer fawns protection

(E) A tiger watches a pair
(F) Its striped pelt well hidden
(E) A deer dinner was delectable fare

(F) All of a sudden
(G) The rustling of leaves
(F) Movement was forbidden

(G) Tension, thick enough to cleave
(H) Muscles taunt; ears listening
(G) And so the tale weaves

(H) Hunter, so close, preparing
(I)  Breaks cover and leaps
(H) On his quarry, pouncing

(I)  Timid fawn weeps
(J) Brave hind blocks and kicks
(I)  Tiger suffers a gash; deep

(J) He looks at his wound; licks
(K) Slinks off in defeat
(J) No dinner tonight; he’s got a nick

(K) Stamping their feet
(L) The deer bid him farewell
(K) Till the next time they meet

(L) Tonight, none fell
(L) Tomorrow, nobody can tell

 

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

The white beacon

Today’s poem is an inspirational piece. It was inspired by the many lotus flowers I saw on my outing today. The white lotus flowers were really beautiful.

 

A beautiful white lotus flower in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.
A beautiful white lotus flower in Clearwater Sanctuary, Perak.


The white beacon

The first time I laid eyes on you
Your beauty took my breath away
Delicate charm, fresh as morning dew

The vision of you shone, bright as day
Your snowy petals, unfurling
A beacon, lighting the way

All that is pure, symbolising
All that is wholesome and good
Your splendor is uplifting

As well as you could
You grew and flourished in the mud
Of the lake in the woods

Rising up to the surface; a bud
Blossoming into a ravishing beauty
While the clouds across the sky scud

A reminder that if one is willing and ready
It is possible to rise above troubles
From the dismal and murky

If only you believe that you are able
To build anew upon the rubble

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
28 July 2014

 

Symbolism

The lotus has always been a symbol of things which are pure and good. It begins life in the mud at the bottom of a lake or pond. And its leaves and buds reach towards the surface of the water. Its striking flowers bloom at the surface. It therefore symbolises that people can rise above their troubles and turn their lives around.

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:

The white beacon

(A)  The first time I laid eyes on you
(B)  Your beauty took my breath away
(A)  Delicate charm, fresh as morning dew

(B)  The vision of you shone, bright as day
(C)  Your snowy petals, unfurling
(B)  A beacon, lighting the way

(C)  All that is pure, symbolising
(D)  All that is wholesome and good
(C)  Your splendor is uplifting

(D) As well as you could
(E) You grew and flourished in the mud
(D) Of the lake in the woods

(E) Rising up to the surface; a bud
(F) Blossoming into a ravishing beauty
(E) While the clouds across the sky scud

(F) A reminder that if one is willing and ready
(G) It is possible to rise above troubles
(F) From the dismal and murky

(G) If only you believe that you are able
(G) To build anew upon the rubble

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

The Ancient Mariner

UPDATE: The Ancient Mariner was published in the September 2014 issue of The Malaysian Naturalist, a quarterly magazine published by the Malaysian Nature Society, the oldest and largest homegrown environmental NGO in Malaysia. The magazine is sold through subscription and also available on newsstands. To find out more about MNS and the Naturalist, visit www.mns.my.  🙂

—————————————————————————————-

Here is the fourth poem in my social commentary series. Hope you like it. 🙂

The Ancient Mariner

She swims the oceans tirelessly
By instinct, she navigates the waters
A skilled veteran mariner, truly

Legends of her, the ocean whispers
Her courage and grace, admired by all
Countless battles won; triumphant survivor

Tales of her and her kind enthrall
Told as folktales to children of all ages
Her victories could fill a noble hall

Stories written of her filled millions of pages
Some true accounts, some fiction
Her conquests and successes outdo mages

An inspiration for many a generation
Her survival has now been threatened
Problems must be addressed by nations

The ancient mariner’s ranks have been decimated
The ocean has become a minefield
Her home with dangers riddled

Trawlers and fishing nets to increase yield
Egg collection for consumption continue
Will the polluted beaches ever be healed?

Beaches with confusing lights of every hue
Black market demand for hawksbill shells unabated
Dangers to the ancient mariner, to name just a few

Leave her eggs to hatch in the sand, uninterrupted
There’s no data to support the claims
The purported benefits are not validated

Leave the ancient mariner to fulfil her aims
Her world, we should let her reclaim

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
26 July 2014

Turtle hatchling who dug its way out of its nest at Ma’Daerah Turtle Sanctuary, Kerteh, Kemaman, Terengganu. It will be released later at night.
Turtle hatchling who dug its way out of its nest at Ma’Daerah Turtle Sanctuary, Kerteh, Kemaman, Terengganu, Malaysia. It will be released later at night.

Message 

Sea turtles are ancient creatures who have roamed the planet’s oceans for a very long time. They have been around since the age of the dinosaurs, along with the sharks and crocodiles. They are unique because they are air-breathing reptiles who live in the sea. Once the little hatchlings emerge from their eggs and head out to sea, they will remain in the sea indefinitely. The adult females will only return to the beaches where they were born to lay clutches of eggs once in a few years. The adult males never come back to land.

Imagine if a turtle comes back to lay eggs on her beach only to discover that a busy resort has been constructed on it, or it is a popular tourist spot flooded with confusing lights at night, or that it has been polluted beyond recognition. These are just some of the hazards that sea turtles have to endure to lay their eggs safely. In addition, sea turtles drown every year because they get entangled in fishing nets. Unable to come up to the surface to breath, they die a watery death.

So, do your part to help the turtles. Keep your nesting beaches clean and free of obstructions. Don’t flood them with lights at night. Last, but not least, don’t buy and eat their eggs. Don’t let the sea turtles go the way of the dodo.

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:

The Ancient Mariner

(A)  She swims the oceans tirelessly
(B)  By instinct, she navigates the waters
(A)  A skilled veteran mariner, truly

(B)  Legends of her, the ocean whispers
(C)  Her courage and grace, admired by all
(B)  Countless battles won; triumphant survivor

(C)  Tales of her and her kind enthrall
(D)  Told as folktales to children of all ages
(C)  Her victories could fill a noble hall

(D)  Stories written of her filled millions of pages
(E)  Some true accounts, some fiction
(D)  Her conquests and successes outdo mages

(E) An inspiration for many a generation
(F) Her survival has now been threatened
(E) Problems must be addressed by nations

(F) The ancient mariner’s ranks have been decimated
(G) The ocean has become a minefield
(F)  Her home with dangers riddled

(G) Trawlers and fishing nets to increase yield
(H)  Egg collection for consumption continue
(G) Will the polluted beaches ever be healed?

(H) Beaches with confusing lights of every hue
(I)   Black market demand for hawksbill shells unabated
(H) Dangers to the ancient mariner, to name just a few

(I)  Leave her eggs to hatch in the sand, uninterrupted
(J)  There’s no data to support the claims
(I)  The purported benefits are not validated

(J) Leave the ancient mariner to fulfil her aims
(J) Her world, we should let her reclaim

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