Thursday 24 June 2010

The Gifts of Time

The Gifts of Time
pile neatly around my soul
not the Christmas
and birthday time gifts
but the abstract fruits
of kindness, harmony,
friendship and trust;
the Invisibility Cloaks
of a lucky lifetime.

And what about the little regrets?
The unbought thing
the unvisited place
the unspoken, unwritten word?
All tuck away neatly
in the Great Pockets of Time
awaiting another explorer.

The songs I have not sung
stream merrily from another's lips
And dreams someone else has spun
dance a tango on my hips.

The Gifts of Time
are the funny miracles
of quick escapes and
quicker encounters
down narrow lanes
and atop mountains;

there the voices speak
there the souls gather

and sing.

I wrote this poem on my last night in Sing.
I read it to Dad a few days ago, here in Shelford, and he said it captured his own experience exactly. He had been feeling regretful, of all the things he had not seen, the places, the people's faces. The holiday he could have had, if the fates were different, had been playing on his mind. Then this poem, and suddenly he seems to have relaxed. It is not the nature of regret that he dwells on anymore, but the gifts that were his. The dancing! He danced with my mother on the first day we arrived and he never really stopped. Now that is a gift of a lucky lifetime.

Sunday 13 June 2010


The days pass me by. And I forget to write.
This is the floating world, the Great Artist's Illusion, a dream that is more real to me than the last ten years have been.
I don't pinch myself. I don't need to remind myself to be here, to remember. I am here with every fibre of my being.
I am in the Garden City. My eyes trail bouganvillea, birds of paradise, frangipani everywhere, orange embellishments weaving in between cars, buildings, people.

I am on the sand, in the sea, swimming in the rain.

There were white butterflies at the wedding. There were two yellow butterflies dancing on the angels at the white washed Armenian Church. There are thunderstorms and smiling friendly faces.

As the Singaporeans say.... "Happiness, can? Can! Can can can!!"

My brother had asked me to write something for the wedding, but I found it impossible to do so while in England. An hour before the ceremony though, on the beach, with the sea singing in my ears, I wrote and later recited the following words...

An Island Marriage

We pray for rain sometimes
Sometimes we pray for sun
In between the heavens dance
This game was all for fun

How but in tears and laughter
Can two families become one?

Here by the rocks and butterflies
Here where the palm trees blow
Here our hearts are cradled
by a love that continues to grow

A love lapped by the seas of time
from the Phillipines to Japan
across English borders
towards Indian shores
We gather our prayers together
and send our blessings forwards

to our beautiful married couple
the beloved wedded ones

to my brother and my sister

Maria-Theresa and Irfan.