Web Exclusives - Poetry
Hiuen Tsang spent seventeen years travelling from China to India and back in the seventh century CE, at the time of the Tang dynasty emperor Taizong. His adventures inspired Wu Ch’en-en’s sixteenth century novel, Journey to the West, which refers to India as ‘Buddha’s pure land’.
We're in free fall
from life to life
From the gallows on Tower Hill
to a palace in Old Cathay...
I should have kept it –
the tongue I grew up with,
the language of my mother
and her mother before her...
In Hong Kong, an art installation is taken down when the artists explain what it really means.
The cockpit dashboard blinks
A thousand eyes
Each dial a finger
Spinning him somewhere
Far beyond the star-rimmed sky...
The floor is cold with the coming winter.
I pull on white socks
and sit down before the blackout window
to think about our separation closing in.
In Eden, the fig leaf failed its mission – the fruit hung
Immodestly from the tree, tender as a testicle.
After a painting, ‘Yogini in the forest’, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
'It had something to do with the air...'
Jiangnan canals are frozen
Men walking home are murdered
for a pint of rice. Door to door, orphans
beg for gruel. Sly, greasy cooks invite them
in to welcoming kitchens.
Harem whore. Worthy Lady. Concubine.
Then Consort. Then the Noble Consort Yi.
It is raining, but people’s faces are flowing, hugging separate things as they enter the used-book store. They unhappily place their book in a vacant space and then one worn out book spreads open in secret.
Shamed by your denial,
Glory and repentance,
we seek both.
we need both.
Three poems by Tammy Ho, originally published in the Summer 2006 issue of the Asia Literary Review.
According to RocketNews24, peach producers in the PRC are struggling to make sales. A controversial marketing ploy prompted China-based poet Reid Mitchell to pen this paean to peaches.
First day and Third Uncle says,
‘Raining liao, last year not like that.’
Spring, in his mind
is a static, sweltering brightness.
Seeing the strange belts
like little mouth masks
hung on bamboo poles
I often wondered ...
The trapped their caves escape.
The honest poor rejoice in the streets of Baghdad,
and birds despite the cage
have words enough to speak.
This poem was inspired by the death of Jyoti Singh Pandey who was gang-raped in a bus in Delhi on 16 December 2012. She later died in a hospital in Singapore, where she was sent for treatment by the Indian authorities. The Indian media called the 23 year-old woman Nirvaya, the fearless one. It was her father, Badrinath Singh, who revealed her name. He wanted the world to know who she was.
Simon Peter gives his own account of knife crime.