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.

Advertisements

Be cruel to be kind

Today, the social commentary continues. I managed to weave in the social commentary theme into my July submission for The Writer’s Tower FB page.The poem was conceptualized while I was dutifully doing my (healthy) evening jog after cooking and eating dinner with family. Mundane, I know, but such is the life of a working-class female.

The Writer’s Tower is an open group for writers to share their ideas and prose. Every month, they have a theme to write on, and one can write and submit a piece in any style and genre. July 2014′s theme is PARADOX, and if one were able to include the bonus word(s) ‘football’ or ‘time for a bite’ in the piece, that would garner a Writer’s Tower Medal! 🙂

My poem for today focuses on the topic of conflct among people with different outlooks and ideals. I wanted to say something about the sad state of affairs in different parts of the world, where the sound of gunfire is a reocurrent daily theme. However, when I think of this topic, I am at the same time grateful that my country is a peaceful and harmonious place to live in; that I will not get shot at while driving to work; nor come home to a looted and burning house. I am thankful that I can go out to any shop and buy my daily necessities, and have access to clean water and wholesome food every day. Amen.

 

Be cruel to be kind

Big Sergeant said:
Hey, boy! Stand up straight
Hold it steady; don’t be a maid
Look smart; watch your gait
Mama’s boy, we’ve got a raid
Hurry up, don’t make me wait
Handsomely, we’ll be paid
We’ll show them their fate
Our vengeance shall never fade
I’m sure they’ll take the bait
The boy will learn; a soldier made
Be cruel to be kind

The Boy said to himself:
Let’s go shoot them up
He’s only thinking of his pelf
And how to blow things up
Only I can save myself
School is no more; grow up
Bye football, he said to himself
Dreams of playing the game? Wake up
I hope mother is taking care of herself
They won’t allow me to look her up
Only a memory on the mantelshelf
Be cruel to be kind

Mother remembering her son:
My dear boy, how long has it been?
Gunfire in the streets; the blasts go on
Immediately, I think of you, sad and lean
It’s cold, remember to put your coat on
I worry for you; you are only a teen
No more school, but life goes on
Keep your head down; don’t be seen
Time for a bite; don’t miss meals, son
Those who took you, they are so mean
I want to call every day, but I can’t
Be cruel to be kind

So the conflict goes on forever
They killed my people; I must kill theirs
Make their blood flow like a river
Put an end to all their heirs
So what if there’s fever?
Children must fight; who cares?
To survive, they must be clever
They must claim what is rightfully theirs
So the cycle continues unbroken, forever
Nobody wants to give up; who dares?
Nobody wants to give in; you will suffer
Do we have to be cruel to be kind?

An original poem by
Khor Hui Min
15 July 2014

Dedication
This poem is dedicated to all the children surviving in war-torn countries. I hope you stay strong and never lose hope. Sometimes, only hope is what you have, but it can get you through bad days and tight spots, and one day you will make it out alive, and grow up to lead a meaningful and successful life.

Glossary
pelf – money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonourable way.
mantelshelf – a shelf above a fireplace.

See the definitions in Oxford Dictionaries Online.