Kent Ridge haiku


Singapore Memory
Leong, Liew Geok

Leong Liew Geok (b. 1947) is a poet and editor. She authored _Love is Not Enough_ (1991) and _Women without Men_ (2000), and edited _More than Half the Sky: Creative Writings by Thirty Singaporean Women_ (1998) and _Literary Singapore: a directory of contemporary writing in Singapore_ (2011) for the National Arts Council. 

"Kent Ridge Haiku" was written in the mid-eighties when she was living in Kent Ridge Road, and walked to and from her office in the Department of English Language and Literature, NUS, where she taught. The Kent Ridge area then was relatively undeveloped, "wild" and "natural."

Kent Ridge Haiku
by Leong Liew Geok

Brahminy kite glides;
Blue and white kingfishers flash
Screeching raucously

Simpoh flowers twice:
Bright pink star of seeds succeeds
Lemon soft yellow

Glistening cobwebs
Stretch in tents of dew-laced grass:
Patchwork of combed silk

In design leaf bracts
Stand crisp in rising sun’s dance – 
Pitchered insect traps!

Maroon dragonfly – 
Fresh pair of star-leaved resam
Shivers at its touch

Willy-nilly swing;
Draped in loops from giving trees,
Passion fruit vines cling

Whistling oriole gold
Arcs tembusu for saga;
Grounded, ruak darts

The cicadas trill spasms
From hidden spaces

Globes of acacia
Sewn watertight – kerengga
Sawing houses out

Untapped rubber grows 
Free; thickening bole, coursing 
Sap lavish, unchecked

African tulip, 
Tembusu berries; saga 
seeds quick reddening  

Burning ketapang 
Foliage in March fires of fall -
Tropic wintering 

Giant coin of light 
Dies all things gold, deepening 
To darken their world.

In dense cricket night, 
The nightjars' pizzicato 
Spites vestigial sight

A one-note owl stays 
In tune – its small confidence 
Repeatedly soothes

Sometimes chill silence –
A raised dagger poised to kill -
Is pelted with rain
Day folds blanket night, 
Sun splices vegetation 
Symphonies return!