Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence



By Yeng Pway Ngon

here: a pair of golden scissors
the script for a speech
a grand and glorious ceremony
all yours
every brick every steel beam every shape speaks of you
this is all yours, your edifice

this is a church
lined on all sides with faceless idols
this is a memorial
where weeds overgrow every trace of you
this is a museum
your soulless bones everywhere on display

this is your unfamiliar house, your strange bed
your boundless void
your severe architecture

we come and go and come again, coming and going
only the wind lives here
they do not know why they hurry to and fro, coming and going
from cradle to coffin

clouds without colour huddle nervously
dreaming up a rainbow of hues
shuffling and shuffling their sitting positions
they huddle
they are colourless

many specimens many nameless
try as they might they cannot recall their race
nor write their ancestry
many specimens many without names

this is yours
your edifice

Translated from Chinese by Goh Beng Choo and Alvin Pang

NOTE: This poem first appeared in Yeng Pway Ngon: Poems 1 [Rebellion] (The Literary Centre).


Yeng Pway Ngon

Yeng Pway Ngon has published twenty-four volumes of poetry, essays, fiction, plays, and literary criticism. A recipient of the 2003 Cultural Medallion, he won the 2004 Singapore Literature Prize for his novel in Chinese, Sao Dong (published in English as Unrest). His latest novel, Wo Yu Wo Ziji De Er San Shi (Two or Three Little Things About Me and Myself), was named one of the Top Ten Chinese Novels in the World for 2006 by Yazhou Zhoukan, and won the 2008 Singapore Literature Prize. His poetry recently was translated and published in a chapbook series.

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