Guest poem submitted by Ann Ang:
[Commentary] This is one of those poems which are short, yet effective (yes, like a short candle). The form of this poem, not surprisingly, looks like a candle if one includes the title. But what really made an impression on me, was the simple yet effective rhythm, slow and languorous in the first few lines, then faster and faster, almost the way a candle burns: "that I may light / a way for two" has two beats in each line, because of the fact that a light is being passed from one person to another. It may also symbolize the passing of time: tick-tock... though this may be reading too much into the poem. Come to think of it, this poem has perfect symmetry, the narrator is at once the candle, holding it and passing it on... well, I won't mangle the poem too much, so you guys can enjoy it for yourselves. [About the poet] Lee Tzu Pheng is a Singaporean poet and was awarded the Singapore Cultural Medallion for Literature in 1985 and the Southeast Asia WRITE Award in 1987. All her three published collections of poetry 'Prospect of a Drowning,' 'Against the Next Wave', and 'The Brink of an Amen', have won the Singapore National Book Development Council's award for poetry. Actually, I have to say that Southeast Asian poets are rather under-represented in this group, and Singapore isn't exactly the cultural dearth that some people think it is, what with the 'national book development council' etc... Ann. [Minstrels Links] Today's poem is an example of emblematic verse - that is, verse formatted so as to visually resemble its theme. Other examples to have featured on the Minstrels include: Poem #349, A Prayer to the Sun -- Geoffrey Hill Poem #497, Landscape: I -- bpNichol Poem #567, Easter Wings -- George Herbert Poem #600, The Mouse's Tale -- Lewis Carroll Here are some (near-)contemporary South Asian poems that we've run on the list: Poem #382, A River -- A. K. Ramanujan Poem #434, Extended Family -- A. K. Ramanujan Poem #767, A Scroll Painting -- Arthur Yap Poem #603, Marriages are Made -- Eunice de Souza Poem #682, Advice to Women -- Eunice de Souza Poem #72, Madhushala (The Tavern) -- Harivansh Rai Bachchan Poem #617, The Cake that Floats in Water -- Ho Xuang Huong Poem #662, Cat -- Jibanananda Das Poem #446, Banalata Sen -- Jibanananda Das Poem #804, The Looking Glass -- Kamala Das Poem #516, The Patriot -- Nissim Ezekiel Poem #579, The Professor -- Nissim Ezekiel Poem #714, Night of the Scorpion -- Nissim Ezekiel Poem #177, Where The Mind is Without Fear -- Rabindranath Tagore Poem #367, Krishnakali -- Rabindranath Tagore Poem #673, The Flower-School -- Rabindranath Tagore Poem #642, The Poetics of Desire -- Rina Singh Poem #843, Love in a Bathtub -- Sujata Bhatt Poem #853, Stew Much -- Sukumar Ray Poem #650, All You Who Sleep Tonight -- Vikram Seth Poem #754, Protocols -- Vikram Seth Poem #460, Round and Round -- Vikram Seth (Yes, they're mainly by Indian poets, that being the group with which Martin and myself are best acquainted).