Behind the White Coat

As usual, I am not especially proud of this poem (or rather, these three poems). But since I already wrote it for my Medical Humanities assessment, I might as well publish it here. 😅

Each side is an individual poem (the left, Science; the right, Art). But they can also be read together, as if there were no gap in the middle, forming a holistic portrait of an oncology consultation. Continue reading “Behind the White Coat”

Christmas Wish

How often had I aspired
To sit beside a crackling fire
In obnoxiously festive lounge attire,
As carols sung by distant choirs
Float o’er the Isles to me.

How fervidly had I admired
Literature so oft inspired
By such fantasies as heavy snow,
Love requited under mistletoe,
Or an authentic Christmas tree.

How earnestly did I conspire
For mulled wine (or if you so desire,
Hot cocoa) with friends and family
And an altruistic shopping spree
In remembrance of Nativity.

How often do I still conceive
The quintessential Christmas Eve.
Yet the heavens cruelly disagree –
Instead, this year it gifts to me
A frigid twenty two degrees.

It was actually 22°C though. 😒 Nevertheless, have a very Merry (last five minutes of, if you live in Hong Kong like me) Christmas with late-night rom coms and Mariah Carey! 🎄 In the spirit of this poem, a fun fact: the original lyrics of White Christmas actually included an opening verse describing the disappointingly warm weather in Los Angeles. Most recordings omit it, but you can still find it in Barbra Streisand’s 1967 album!

Quick, Make a Wish

Quick, make a wish,
And hold on for dear, vivacious life,
As it flits across oceans and searches the sky.
If it plummets beyond reason or loses its light –
So what if you fell, when you learned how to fly!

Quick, make a wish.
Ink not a thumb but both unwizened hands
And lace your limpid heart for Tombouctouan lands.
Be conscious, my dear, as you seek to understand
The paradigm shifting sands, of the visions and virtues
On which your dignity stands.

Quick, make a wish!
Make a plan, make a fervent proclamation!
Run ever onwards, ablaze with loud ambition
To be fearless and free and foolish and naïve
For youth is still more fleeting than you would care to believe.

The 11th of November has already passed, but there is the century’s largest supermoon tonight. Quick, make a wish! 🌕

Blank

@cloudninekid
How obviously contrived.

In the same viscous soup of empty inspiration,
I scratch the same page with the same shards
of the same inflated light bulb,
charged by the same
tired
rhetoric
of an intellectual fool.

Yet the unfamiliar hallways foster vapid contemplation
and we turn the same outmoded cogs with bland
articulation, as I wonder if the chains
are not my brain
but the same
sequestered
school.

So from the same viscous soup of flitting motivation,
the same incessant buzz of the same unfeeling vain
smothers concentration with indolent disdain.
And the same defeated voices enlace my languid brain.

Like Clouds, this is far from how I had hoped my initial concept would be realised, but since it seems unlikely to be sufficiently improved in the far future, here it is in all its flawed un-beauty.

Photograph by Christy Lau.

Red and Blue

An amateurish poem written in the absence of good Korean and Taiwanese dramas. I also realise that this is yet another dull title. Alas, amusez-vous bien!

Suppose you must be introduced
Compendiously – please kindly choose:
Are you red or are you blue?
Love is red, but anger too –
Blue’s the wisest of the two.
But red is blood and heat and flames,
While blue commands with ice and chains.
Which is better: fevered games
Or labour in a heartless reign?

Yet navy staunchly shields the meek,
Gilding men of gallant fleets.
Should stateliness be what you seek,
Blue retains a royal streak.

As crimson lace and carmine lips
Slickly make composures slip,
Soldiers take their final trips
With bloodied blades in vicious grips.

All is red in love and war –
Could periwinkle weather more?

Imagine you were forced to choose:
Which will win and which will lose?

Obsession

A drop
Swells into an ocean
And I dive, deeper and deeper,
And still deeper, until it rushes into me,
Chokes me, takes my breath and sight away.
And in that moment I realised, tears streaking across my cheek,
That I had cried an ocean, fed an ocean,
And am still building an ocean –
It was always in me,
From me.
And I smile,
And it ebbs away.

A poem penned in a single moment of frustration. Not the happiest piece about the International Day of Happiness.

Clouds

Clouds (creatively titled, I concede) was scribbled down almost two years ago, during a particularly lethargic English lesson. Looking back, the overwhelming stress that I had given myself is almost comical; compared to university applications and receiving admissions decisions, I really should have been more carefree.

They sing of silver lining;
That is but half the tune.
Our hopes and wishes, woven tight
Glow softly in the moon.
So yes, there is some truth –
Our limit is the sky. But
They grow heavy with our broken dreams
When thunderstorms are nigh.
So they drain their burdens onto our heads,
Cleansing, letting go the severed threads.
And now, a new beginning,
And new hopes may rise.

Hopefully the extended metaphor can ring true for a wide variety of situations. Despite having revisited this poem countless times, I still cannot make it flow exactly like how I had originally envisioned it. But as John E. Lewis once wrote, if not now, then when?