memory, Poetry

present perfect

Let the past be
because it can never be.
Your mistakes have spoken hoarse
my mistakes have replied.
Turning back the clock
breaks the mechanism inside.

sea on a boat


I was sitting on a boat, travelling to Pulau Ubin, a small island north of the mainland of Singapore where my students were having a camp in the closest thing Singapore has to a rustic hinterland. It was almost the end of the school year, and for the students, this would be their last major school event together before they went home for the summer holidays.

For some strange reason, on that rickety small boat, I started thinking of The Great Gatsby, and the silly, desperate dream Gatsby has of recapturing the past even though it’s all ultimately futile. Even though he succeeds in catching the falling clock, it has always been broken.

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