Dawn Song

Dawn Song

How should I describe the dawn, my love?
The secret space between today and tomorrow
Where you are wandering between worlds
Falling from level to level
Always further away from me

How should I measure that distance?
Between your automatic endearments
As we pursue the waking rituals
Which lead us from room to room
Always closer to resignation

And how should I honour the passing?
As the tide changes, and the dying die
And we stand by the door
Shifting from one goodbye to another
Always nearer the next dawn

P.s.: This is an old entry from my private blog…

Also read: An Old Love Letter

Pix from mycolourfuldaze.blogspot.com
Pix from mycolourfuldaze.blogspot.com

What My Mother Taught Me About Beauty

What My Mother Taught Me About Beauty
A Mucha print from http://graduate-extraordinaire.blogspot.sg
A Mucha print from http://graduate-extraordinaire.blogspot.sg

By the age of four, my mother taught me everything I know about being a woman.

As a little girl, my first memory was of her in red lipstick, stepping into a garden abloom with yellow miniature roses, purple orchids and dainty West Indian jasmines – the perfect picture of grace.

A picture of my mother
A picture of my mother

She passed away when I was four.

Later, I learnt from my father that she’d been struggling with respiratory problems all her life. But nobody seems to remember how weak she’d become. Staring into her coffin, what I saw was a poised and beautiful woman. And throughout my confused teenage years, I struggled to emulate her beauty and grace.

Thus I grew up in a confused and complex world, and like so many other, floundered through many moments of fear, self-doubt and heartache, seeking wisdom in books and forgetfulness in films.

But whenever I felt like I’d truly hit a dead end, I’d hit the road again and meet many amazing people through my travels – poverty-stricken India women with the most vivid dresses I’ve ever seen, a 70-year-old Japanese woman with the brightest purple hair, a breast cancer survivor finding love and intimacy after mastectomy…

From www.ericsstudio.com
From http://www.ericsstudio.com

Only through their eyes did I finally begin to see my mother’s true legacy –
her parting advice to me was not merely how to be beautiful, but one of enduring strength and hope in the face of pain, uncertainly and death.

She was the first person who helped me understand that a woman without breasts is no less beautiful, bright purple hair on an old woman can still turn heads, making the effort to wear lipstick when you’re very ill is a final act of defiance, and planting flowers that you may never see is the greatest leap of faith.

Beyond all the designer dresses and makeup, that is what it means to be a beautiful woman.

If you like this, you might like: WanderlustOlfactory Journeys and Bucket List Therapies

An Old Love Letter

Do you cringe when you read your old diary entry? I usually do – time helps me to look at the old me through detached eyes, and I often see the absurdity of the situation.
But when I dug up this old poem I wrote many years ago, 
the feeling is still so strangely familiar… Do you ever feel this way?
Photo taken in Greece
Photo taken in Greece

POEM

In the mornings
When the air is damp
With so many ambivalent tears
Which you blot out
With a shrug
And automatically adjust
A face of pleasant indifference
Do you remember me?

In the afternoons
The air thin
As if sucked out
Of a bright yellow vacuum
And you breathe hard
Through lips thick with
The sticky taste of decay
Do you miss me?

And in the evenings
All the world
Heaving anonymously
Under the weight
Of time and memory
And necessary shopping bags
Which graze your legs
And you smile patiently
Have you forgiven me?

A Passing Memory

A Passing Memory

Many years ago, I was assigned to write a story on a hospice for a small Singapore-based health magazine.

The PR person for the hospice scheduled me to interview two patients, both of whom seemed happy enough to spend one precious day in the last days of their lives sharing their life story with me.

On the day of the interview, I came down with a bad cold. I didn’t want to infect terminally ill patients so I rescheduled the interview. When I called back a few days, I was told that one of my interviewees had passed away from complications.

So I did my interview with just one patient who was down with 4th stage lung cancer that had spread to the bones. I only remember that throughout the interview, she kept telling me, with a brittle smile, a hoarse voice and a twinkle in her eye, that she knew she’d be well and home with her family by Christmas.

She passed away a couple of weeks after.

                                                                                                        —–

At that time, I was very affected by this. I was not quite sure if I was inspired or simply depressed.

Because of a common cold, I lost the opportunity to meet a dying man with a story to tell. The woman who I did speak to was frail as a leaf, but so tenaciously optimistic – a poster girl for infinite human capacity to hope. And if that wasn’t enough irony and pathos, why would two people on the brink of death chose to spend their most treasured time speaking to an utter stranger when two years ago, they might not have spared me the time of day if I passed them on the streets.

Having said that, I really don’t want to milk this experience for moral summaries or trite truisms.

It was, as I told it.
It moved me and shifted the course of my life forever (if only by a micro-inch) – just like all the people we’ve met, books we’ve read, movies we’ve watched, places we’ve been to… everything that left a lump in our throat.

I’m starting this blog because I believe that extraordinary and ordinary inspirations happen every single day. And I don’t want to miss them.