john tiong chunghoo
After Rice Harvest - Poem by john tiong chunghoo
the golden field
so apt the colour
that heralds its value
to the world
as the rice ripens
it pulls down the stalk
that has nurtured it
supporting it the way
warm mom carries child
round her bossom
it waves in the wind
as if to confirm
its value to the world
an entire gold field
an apt colour
just wonder god purposely
puts in the right colour
into his better creations
all over you hear the birds
chip in their bits
to herald in the harvest season
hurried chirps all eager
to peck the beads
from the stalks
as the trucks come
for the harvested piles
swarms of them await
to pick up the yellow beads
on the brown soil
chirp, chirp, chirp
they go onto the ground
the over eager ones falling
heads over heels
the braver ones trailing the trucks
After Apple Picking
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
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