john tiong chunghoo

Gold Star - 4,926 Points (Jan 21,1960 / Sibu, Sarawak, Borneo East Malaysia)

These Winter Sundays - Poem by john tiong chunghoo

Chinese New Year Eve
i would always hear those banned
crackers blasting away
the old year at the stroke of twelve
- welcoming the new year
by breaking the law
at the first opportunity -
but then Chinese new year
is about frightening away
the nian monster with the ear
splitting sound of fire crackers
as well as to create all the
excitements for the new year
new year though always dawns
on me as if the mystical dragon
has swallowed its fiery ball
to leave the day without light and colours
a jazz piece without its saxophone
and scintillating piano notes
a white world without the
wonderful tanginess of black

Inspired by

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Robert Hayden


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 28, 2007

Poem Edited: Friday, March 25, 2011


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