Treasure Island

john tiong chunghoo

(Jan 21,1960 / NEW YORK)

A Birthday Poem

lone traveller
from kuala lumpur to tokyo to china
cold places, strange people warm and cold
so many unknowns that became knowns
that resulted in an occasional shopping tete-a-tete
and at those fortunate birthday celebrations
thrown by foreign friends
met at school, work place
we uttered words usually made between
friends of mere days
a coldness in between
as we sung and tried to break the ice
between the candles
lighted and blown
and they were usually in the nights
when lonely hearts sought out avenues
to brighten things up
for themselves and their newly acquired friend
and also workplace friends
who try to punctuate the life of a foreign soul
with things famliar, to light up the candles of his life journey

inspired by:

A Birthday Poem
Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

Ted Kooser

Submitted: Saturday, April 23, 2005
Edited: Thursday, May 26, 2005

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Read poems about / on: shopping, poem, school, lonely, work, green, red, people, light, sun, night, friend, tree

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Comments about this poem (A Birthday Poem by john tiong chunghoo )

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  • Riquetta Elliott (12/7/2007 10:41:00 AM)

    Simply a lovely expression John. I require to use this for my boyfriend name John Andre Wilbon his birthday is coming up this Sunday. (Report) Reply

  • Grace Tan (3/12/2007 5:37:00 AM)

    It's an endorsable poem. There were a few enticing parts in the middle and front as well as back, but there seemed to be a few awkard lines in the middle. I'm sorry, perhaps the poem has no faults, but its just me. Just wanted to tell you that sometimes you put cutting remarks on other's poem, and probably they are of no importance to you, or of any significance to which you would commit that bit of memory to, but I'm sure to that particular poet, it must be painful. It has not happened to me, but I do hope you would be nicer in your future comments? That's up for you to decide, I guess. Anyways, since whatever I; m bothered with has been written, let me now give my comment for this poem, as apology if this offends you in any kind.

    I liked a few of the phrases in this poem, one being:

    'lone traveller
    from kuala lumpur to tokyo to china
    cold places, strange people warm and cold'

    It's a welcoming expression to describe the diversity of people in the world presented in a manner I would definately associate with home, asia.

    And this one especially:

    'a coldness in between
    as we sung and tried to break the ice
    between the candles
    lighted and blown'

    It's a beautiful imagery, contrasting the heat of the candles wth the distantness of the people. It's a scene that would seem so familiar with us when we gather without our families, with aquaintances, where the love cannot be but limited.

    It's a nice poem with a tinge of sadness, beautiful for what it means. For my birthday, however, I would want something...
    Happier. ^^ hahas.Home is where my heart lies. (Report) Reply

  • Shreenita Ghosh (3/19/2006 7:59:00 AM)

    A simply lovely poem..................loved every bit of it.................though i very sad at times (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

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