Five Poems by


Cyril Wong








Slumbering hull of this beach

pulses in the afterglow

of human activity. Unable

to determine where light

is growing from, no longer do you

feel alone. Or maybe the idea

of solitude is now

unnecessary. Like saying

the shore feels alone, or the sea.

Am I still here, listening?

Forgive me, I forget. I forgot

how distant we can be

over time. You the stirring world,

I the invisible sun rising.







Spiritual eternalism is the belief

that what moves the clouds, ruffles the waves

and combs the high branches

will always be there. Materialist annihilationism

insists that air is all there is and never

peer beyond that which nearly sends a fly careering

into my open mouth against its will.

Either or. Neither nor. How did we get here

between one extreme and another

and how do we stay in the unspeakability

thought and feeling make impossible?

Almost impossible. Sometimes I get it,

I do. And like that stunned fly, against my will

and better or lesser judgement, I do.







On another walk down a different stretch

of beach, Heraclitus reborn is doubting

and pointing at the waters, before he squats

to pick sand up by the palmful, analysing

the invisible factory of every grain, finger

by finger. He looks up at a child shaping

sandcastles so close to the waves and laughs.

But this is post-pandemic, so crazy

has become par for the course. Nobody

notices for long when he turns away now

to gaze back at the horizon. No longer

laughing or pointing, as if the present world

has defeated and dimmed his fire, which

in his mind could still be the source of all things.







Shy, shameful

shameplant or mimosa pudica,

touch-me-not or maybe-

not-right-now, no shrinking violet

yet withdrawing nonetheless,

blinking shut bashfully

against prying fingers,

shutting it down temporarily

before unclasping

like eyes, purses, mini fans

or low to high tide

and possibly tsunami, longing

making lips or legs

unseal themselves and open.







Let us walk until we reach a restlessness

in every aspect. A longing for more

or less the same longing. Unmagnificent grandness

of a beach amassing leftovers from the sea floor.

Disagreement and conflict: crab and tern,

wave and sand, downpour and triumphant heat,

cyclist in the same manicured lane as pedestrian.

I argue that although incomplete,

passing harmonies stay longest in this country

here on the beach in our corner of evening

where men lock tongues under a tree.

Families have gone home. A guitar keeps playing.

Let us rest here on this bench and know

that rest is not eternal. A dead moon glows.









Cyril Wong is a poet and fictionist in Singapore.  His last book was Infinity Diary, published by Seagull Books in 2020. 



 ē·                                                        <  ē·  >