Memories

It is the last week of the 10 Premodern Poems by Women public online course by Stanford University. It has been interesting to read poems written by women from the 17th to 20th centuries and learn about the lives of the poets themselves.

In Week 10, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem ‘Recuerdo’  is featured. It appeared in A Few Figs from Thistles: Poems and Sonnets (1922). Interestingly enough, out of the ten poems, only this poem is a happy one. Most of the other poems dealt with death, while some dealt with love. A few others talked about childhood, patriotism, etc.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

My chosen assignment question (out of four questions) is – write a happy poem. 🙂  Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem was entitled ‘Recuerdo’, which is Spanish for ‘memory’. So, I wrote a piece about childhood memories. However, it is a work of fiction and does not reflect any actual events in my childhood. 🙂

Memories

I remembered the days long past
The days when I saw you last
When we played together
In the orchards; helping father
Plucking fruits; eating half of them
Running in the mud; soiling our hems

I remembered the days long past
The days when I saw you last
Running beside the golden rice fields
And the harvest they generously yield
Catching fish for our dinner
The one who catches the most, the winner

I remembered the days long past
The days when I saw you last
When you got into your father’s car
With suitcases packed to go far
Over the seas far and wide
One day I’ll come visit you, over the tides

Khor Hui Min
8 June 2015

To visit the Stanford University public online courses page, click here.

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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

Miss & Past

For RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #35, the word prompts for the week were ‘miss’ and ‘past’. As I read the words aloud in my mind, in silence (LOL), the feeling of nostalgia surfaced. I was reminded of my grandmother (my mother’s mother) who passed on a few years ago. She lived till her 90s. So this haiku is dedicated to her memory.

In a time and age when girls were married off at the age of 14 and did not require much education except in the areas of sewing, beading, weaving, cooking and child-rearing, my great-grandfather sent my grandma to school to make sure she received a proper education. She became a teacher. 🙂  She always wore dainty blouses with fine embroidery, sarongs and beaded shoes, just like all the other nyonyas of her time.

Beaded work to be sewn into traditional peranakan or nyonya beaded slippers
Beaded work to be sewn into traditional peranakan or nyonya beaded slippers

Miss & Past

Smiling eyes; grey strands
Remembering you always
Your gentle aged hands

An original haiku by
Khor Hui Min
9 March 2015

The photo

Taken at the Straits Chinese Jewellery Museum in Melaka, Malaysia, on 6 December 2013, the photo features beaded work for a pair of Peranakan beaded slippers. The traditional craft can be traced back to the early 20th century. The Peranakan community, also popularly referred to as the Baba-Nyonya, is unique and only found in certain parts of Asia. In the Malay Peninsular, the community is commonly centred around the former British Straits Settlements of Penang (northern), Melaka (central) and Singapore (southern). The community came into being when Chinese traders married the local Malay women and settled down in the area. The ladies were referred to as nyonya, while the men were referred to as baba.

To read more about the Peranakan and their beaded shoes, you can check out my earlier post entitled What am I?, which came with a riddle.