Poem: There’s Always Things to Come Back to the Kitchen For

Another wonderful poem shared at a recent workshop. Would be interesting to see how students can imitate the same poetic structure as Alison Wong’s poem below, but keep things as simple or as difficult as their vocabulary and imagination would allow them. 🙂

There’s Always Things to Come Back to the Kitchen For

a bowl of plain steamed rice
a piece of bitter dark chocolate
a slice of crisp peeled pear

a mother or father who understands
the kitchen is the centre of the universe

children who sail out on long elliptical orbits
and always come back, sometimes like comets, sometimes like moons

Alison Wong

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Poem: The Schoolgirl Kills Herself After Failing an Exam

In building up a repository of poems…

This is from QLRS.

The Schoolgirl Kills Herself After Failing An Exam

She jumps from the tenth floor of a housing block
into the brief wild terror of freedom, dies and transforms
into twelve paragraphs of newsprint in the Straits Times,
cool and objective, black and white, verifiable facts only.

We are told that her classmates are “shocked”.
And that her parents refuse to comment. We know that
she scored 41 marks for her last exam paper, a fatal result.
A teacher describes her as a “quiet, hardworking girl”.

We feel obliged to pause to reflect. We wish to search
our conscience. She was only eleven, we remind ourselves.
There must be others like her. There must be another way,
we suspect, for children to grow up in this country.

But yesterday’s news is quick to slide into the grey of memory.
She will become another incidental casualty. We turn the page.
We forget. Again we trip and fall head first into the future,
down into the depths of a national urge to never stop excelling.

By Gilbert Koh