Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday is not a good day to write poetry

Poetry Pantry, you can clobber me if you like.

image by dsnake1, done with Sketchpad

Sunday is not a good day to write poetry

Sunday is not a good day to write poetry,
because if you need to work (like i do),
the day is white-washed, you reach home frayed,
you think of food, and bed, and not poetry
(unless the muse sympathizes with you).

And if you need not work, you want to play,
suddenly the day flaps by very quickly,
(remember, there's always not enough time for fun)
unless the muse tags along, which is unlikely,
you may have a couple of lines, or stanzas
about your great BBQ party, or that hike in the hills,


Sunday is not a good day to write poetry.


Ah, some gibberish from my NapoWriMo archives. This coming Thursday, I will be on a course, some tech stuff (imagine me trying to stay awake), so Thursday is not a good day to write poetry too.

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions

Shared on Poetry Pantry #325 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, October 09, 2016


Another from my SingPoWriMo archives, which seldom have many eyeballs. Reminiscing about my army days. This is one of those poems that "wrote itself". The muse kindly took my hand and glided it over the paper. Sigh.

photo by dsnake1


returning back
to camp
from the hills,
no one noticed
daylight had broken,
the toads
had stopped croaking,
our muddy boots,
our rifles rusting
from last night's rain
the grass,
green and
slick with dew.


"as the black shell of a sky fell on us
my comrades, my brothers
my thoughts, their thoughts we tumbled towards

-- dsnake1, excerpts from lonely when away from home

Shared on Poetry Pantry #323 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, October 02, 2016


At first the grief refuses to go away, you wear it like a coat. But it will go away. All you need is the space, and time...

drawing by dsnake1, done with Sketchpad 4.0


is the house too big now, for myself?
i come home switches on the old tv
there's something on the tube but

i am not sure what it was all about.

the hall is all quiet now. where are
the murdered songs, the off-key crooning,
the hi-fi begging for a rest?

i see the dust motes in the evening light
settling on the unwashed mugs in the sink
i light a joss stick to you,

your name on the altar
the incense smoke curling
like a hesitant hand wave.

i pop a beer, we used to love it,
but now the taste is bitter.
i stare at the words on the label

the house is too big now,
even the shadows seem longer
and the tv mocks in static

but i still need some more space.
                                more time

a moth flies in from the storm-
i watch it
still on the ceiling.


Between you & me, they should give
us less space.


from “Excuse the Strange Spacing” by Florencia Varela

This poem was inspired by the above lines from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in heart-breaking ways.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #322  at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Why Write Poetry?

I wrote this piece and posted on this blog somewhere in 2005. Somehow, I think it is still relevant today as it was then.

Yes, you can say this post is partly inspired by Rosemary Nissen-Wades's excellent article at Poet's United.

photo by dsnake1

Why Write Poetry?

Why write poetry? Poetry don't sell, nobody reads them. Don't bet on that, but that's not the point. People write poetry because they love to. Just like you love a beer.

An author, I think it was Stephen King, once said that you are like an opened carton of milk in the fridge. You take on whatever flavour is beside you. But like he said, an author shouldn't just be that carton of milk. Yes, you absorb the flavours, it gives you different tastes, but you have to try to find your own voice.

My nephew once asked me about the secret of good writing. I told him there's really no secret. He looked surprised when I told him to read. And write. Lots of it. True, the two go hand in hand. It's like a guy wanting to win a marathon but having no time to do practice runs.

So go read anything you can lay your hands on, your thick reference books, the great SF masters, the Nobel laureates, pulp fiction, manga, your child's bedtime story books, the papers. And then go write some poetry. In your journals, sketchbooks, Moleskines, A4 papers, your blogs. And it will become your lifelong companion and friend.

I write poetry simply because I love to.

written 02/10/2005
revised 18/09/2016

"Those who read poetry do so for pleasure, for insight, sometimes for counsel. The least they can expect is that the poet who shares his visions and experiences with them do so with no hypocrisy. To compromise poetry through fear is to atrophy the psyche. To compromise poetry through expediency is the soft, small murder of the soul..."

--Lenore Kendel (1932 - 2009), "poetry is never compromise",

Shared on Poetry Pantry #320 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

only the dead have seen the end of war

I wrote this during the Chinese 7th month, otherwise also known as the Ghost Month in the Chinese calendar. My mind can act in funny ways, it wanders. Like those spirits.

Or maybe I have watched too many wuxia or Sengoku period movies.

image from

only the dead have seen the end of war

when i returned in the dead of night
to our little house
you were sleeping, holding our child
your eyelids trembled, just slightly
that cold draft of air
that ruffled your hair
is the howl from my throat
as an arrow pierces my breast.

you rose in the smoke-filled dawn
when the sun had not yet risen
over the rice fields,
the tiled roofs of the town.
you went to the Wall with our child
scanned the stone towers
with your eyes still red with pain.
you read every weary face
every returning warrior
and with each passing day
the smoke rose higher from the rains.

only the dead have seen the end of war.
only the dead see what your tears are for.

written : 26/08/2010
revised : 16/04/2014

The title is a quote often attributed to Plato, but possibly written by George Santayana.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #319 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, September 04, 2016

8 small stones

Recently, I took part in the "Awake August 2016" challenge at Writing Our Way Home. The aim is to write a small stone a day for the month of August.

So what is a "small stone"? First introduced by Buddhist priests Satya and Kaspa a few years back, a "small stone" is a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment. [italics taken from their blog, you can read more of it here].

Usually, a small stone is very short. It can be a haiku, a monostitch, or just a sentence. Of course it can be much longer verses if you want it. There are no strict rules as to form, but often it should be concrete and specific, about ordinary things.

So I have completed the whole challenge and have selected 8 of my favourite small stones to showcase here.
If you want to see the whole nine yards, you can click here to go to my other blog. :)

8 small stones

Day #7

Day #8

Day #14

Day #16

Day #17

Day #20

Day #27

Day #31

So what do you think, guys? Can each be called a haiga? The drawings were done with free online sketch tools, Sketchpad 4.0 and Pencilmadness, and completed with editing tool Paint Shop Pro. I wanted to select only 5, but I could not resist adding 3 more. Click on the picture for a larger image.

And here is a small stone by me that made it into an anthology, pay attention : a river of stones.


another morning -

strands of hair
in the washbasin.


Shared on Poetry Pantry #318 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

coffeeshop, one morning in march 2011

This one may not be much, but it captures a slice of life in our heartlands. I wrote this for NaPoWriMo 2011.

Sorry, this is pretty localised, foreign readers may not know what i am writing about. :)

photo by dsnake1

coffeeshop, one morning in march 2011

the cleaner
rubs my table
with a greasy rag.

i do not know
where to rest
my cup of tea.

he looks at me
and smiles.
i thank him.


"Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"

-- Edgar Bergen

Shared on Poetry Pantry #316 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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