The silent seeds in wild wastes germinate;
The gardened apple trees dripping in bloom.
Creation calls and hears, each for its mate;
The ice thawed and I bled — my womb has room.
____So let us do what God wants us to do,
____Let us both make someone like me and you.

 

Hanniel Lim lives in a small neighbourhood in Singapore. He will begin studying Architecture in the National University of Singapore this year.

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25 Responses

  1. Monty

    That’s a strong little piece, Han. A thoughtful and disciplined way of writing about such an everyday subject as sex.
    I’m curious as to your native tongue . .

    Reply
    • Hanniel Lim

      Hi there! Thank you so much for your compliment! My native tongue is English, though I believe English in Singapore may have significant differences with Western English outside of formal writing.

      Reply
  2. J. Simon Harris

    Yes, I really like this little poem. In some ways, it’s a bit like “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell; but it comes off as more serious and less tongue-in-cheek than the Marvell poem. Nicely done!

    Reply
  3. Robert P

    Very subtle & delicate treatment of a beautiful subject. Great that the poem is in the voice of a female speaker, especially since the poet himself is a guy. Nicely done!!

    Reply
  4. C.B. Anderson

    Sorry H.L.,

    Despite the rhymes, this poem is “free verse” without the amenities of meter or standard English sentence construction. I got the idea, however, despite the fact that you failed adequately to convey it in what should be here normative form. The naked idea is not bad, but you need to dress it in better garb.

    Reply
    • David Gosselin

      In this case Anderson, I think it would be helpful if you have an example of how that might be done. I’m sure they’d appreciate that. They were able to give a seemingly simple idea a rather good treatment so I’m sure they’d like to know what kind of edits you would propose. I think it would also make these comment sections more constructive.

      Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      You’re right, Kip. The problem is that the poet is writing in syllabic verse, not in meter. Some people think that if you compose a line of ten syllables, that makes it iambic pentameter. It doesn’t.

      There also is a grammatical vagueness here that indicates a non-native speaker of English. The second line is not a coherent sentence, and seems to be functioning as a free-floating extended participle. The third line makes no sense at all — how can Creation call and hear, and who or what is “each”?

      Poetry doesn’t survive on gaseous feeling alone. It needs to be verbally precise.

      Reply
      • David Gosselin

        The silent seeds in wild wastes germinate;
        The gardened apple trees begin to bloom –
        Creation beckons each to find his mate.
        The ice thaws and I bleed — my womb has room.
        ____So let us do what God has called us to do,
        ____Let us both make someone like me and you.

    • Joe Quintanilla

      My two cents… Ha!

      Onward thy seed, the tree, the weed, and germinate
      May nursery and orchard tree give forth their bloom
      Give ear the call, both great and small, for each its mate
      The will of God… the ice has thawed… the earth a womb
      Do take my hand let us unite…
      for otherwise is impolite.

      Reply
    • Hanniel Lim

      Thank you so much for your feedback!

      English is actually my native language. I believe the English I speak has a sufficiently different accent from Western English to lead to different meters in scansion. I’ve tried reading my poem in the various Western English accents (in my mind) and realised that it does not read fully in iambic pentameter.

      Thanks for pointing that out, as I’m now aware that different scansions may arise when writing for an audience outside my country.

      As for the sentence construction, my aim was to write in clipped sentences that occur in speech but not formal writing, hence the use of semi-colons. Writing “classical” was not my aim, but writing “formally” was, but perhaps I was also stretching the limits of “formal” verse too much.

      Even in this reply, you might have noticed my fondness for conciseness at the expense of standard grammar. I’ve not had trouble writing this way in my country, but would like to know if you find this a communicative barrier, or even just unsuitable for formal verse.

      Once again, thank you for your feedback!

      Reply
      • J. Simon Harris

        I would be very interested to know how the verse scans in your dialect. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the dialect of a native English speaker from Singapore. Thanks for your interesting commentary.

      • The Chained Muse

        Hi Hanniel,

        If you see this, I’d be interesting in posting your poem on thechainedmuse.com poetry website. Feel free to get in touch through the submissions page.

        Regards,

        David

    • J. Simon Harris

      Non-standard English sentence construction, yes. Line 3 in particular is a little vague. I didn’t mind it in this poem, though, but I get your point.

      However, I disagree that the poem lacks meter. Sure, it isn’t strictly iambic, but that is clearly the base meter, with variations on each line. I’ve read great longer works with just as many metrical variations in a section as short as this; perhaps what is jarring to you is the fact that the poem is so short that the base meter is only briefly established. I really liked the flow of the meter, though, and I would certainly not call it free verse.

      Reply
  5. Joe Quintanilla

    My two cents… Ha!

    Onward thy seed, the tree, the weed, and germinate
    May nursery and orchard tree give forth their bloom
    Give ear the call, both great and small, for each its mate
    The will of God… the ice has thawed… the earth a womb
    Do take my hand let us unite…
    for otherwise is impolite.

    Reply
    • Hanniel Lim

      Haha! “Let us unite / for otherwise is impolite”! I enjoyed this!

      Reply
  6. Joe Spring

    Hanniel, you’ve made a beautiful work. Concise and simple, which is not easy. I like how you have seen deep into the subject without dwelling on the typical flesh aspects one might expect.

    Reply
      • Charlie Southerland

        Not necessarily, Joe. I am perplexed by the disconnect between the opinions of writers who see such a vast difference from other writers regarding the merits of the poem. It happens far too frequently here. Rather than criticize anyone specifically, I defer to the comments of Dr. Salemi and C.B. Anderson who hold what I consider to be the proper responses to the poem. I mean no disparagement to others who see the poem in a different light. I’ve explained in detail how I come to a poem that someone writes. I would be repeating myself here and choose not to. Grammar, meter, sense and sound come into play with every poem presented here. I see and hear this poem differently than you.

      • Joe Spring

        OK, no problem. Those points are valid and are certainly made to safeguard the definition of classical poetry. True, it’s syllabic rather than metric. True, there are debatable points on cohesion and cohesiveness. I think those points could be made in such a way that is less offensive to the poet though, while still defending the bounds of classical poetry. Hanniel has done some really clever things in the writing, which would probably be the focus if published outside of a classical forum.

  7. Monty

    Well, I thought I knew what free-verse was; but if the above poem is to be labelled as such (as claimed by one commenter above), then maybe I don’t know, after all.
    The poem contains syllabic equality and solid end-rhymes . . what’s ‘free’ about that?
    And what’s wrong with a “naked idea”? It’s surely the author’s choice as to whether the idea should remain naked, or be dressed in “better garb”.

    Another commenter deems it to be a “problem” that the author is writing in ‘syllabic verse’ . . why? I’d like to know what the problem is with syllabic verse.

    It’s also been commented that the 2nd line is “not a coherent sentence”. It does seem slightly “vague” at first glance; but if one allows the mind to play with the line, it reads (to this reader, anyway) as: Apple trees in a garden.. in bloom.. hence ripe.. hence juicy.. hence dripping.

    The 3rd line also made sense to this reader: We (and by ‘we’ I refer to all species) ‘call’ for a mate . . a mate ‘hears’ . . and we mate!

    Reply
    • Joseph S. Salemi

      This is The Society of Classical Poets. Classic English poetry is not syllabic. Greek and Latin poetry is, but English isn’t. Deal with it.

      An incoherent non-sentence that doesn’t work grammatically does not, by definition, say anything clear. You can “allow your mind to play with it” if you are on an LSD trip, but not if you are reading coherent verse in standard English.

      There is no “we” in the third line. The subject is “Creation,” and the word “each” has no antecedent at all.

      I’m getting the impression from several of the comments on this site that many of our participants are clueless about genuine poetry, and are perfectly happy with emotional schmaltz instead.

      Reply
      • Monty

        ‘Deal’ with what? I don’t need to deal with anything. All I ask of a poem before I read it are 3 criterions: • A deeply-felt sentiment that the author wishes to convey.. • Syllabic and/or Metric equality.. • Strict end-rhymes . . . The above poem contains all 3.. thus I was able to read it, not deal with it. I’m not hard to please.

        Regarding the line which you deemed to “make no sense”: I personally chose to use the word ‘we’, ‘cos, in allowing my mind to ‘play with the line’, I perceived the word ‘creation’ to possibly be a metaphor for ‘a male and a female’ (more than one person, hence ‘we’); they call each other (mating calls) . . then they fuck. That’s how I interpreted that line: and as such, it made sense to me. Whether I’ve interpreted it correctly or incorrectly is irrelevant. The way I see things, with any line in any poem, no one has the right to say “this line makes no sense” . . they only have the right to say “this line makes no sense to me”.

        Being one who views the taking of lsd to be a deeply private and individual act, I don’t like to see the acronym used frivolously in an attempt to embellish ones text . . or to appear trendy.

        I don’t know how other participants at SCP will feel at being labelled “clueless about genuine poetry”, but if I may speak for myself . . I think you’re right: I am clueless. We sometimes hear people say: “Forget the genres.. music is music”. I’m in that camp. And, for me, that extends to poetry. I’d like to think that I can recognise what is good poetry and what is bad poetry; but I’m clueless as to what constitutes genuine poetry. Mr Wilde once said: ‘There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book; a book is either well written or badly written.. that is all.’ If one were to swap the word ‘book’ for ‘poetry’ . . that’s where I’m coming from.

        I hitherto thought that the ‘classical’ in SCP was in name only; but your previous comment would suggest that SCP accepts ONLY classical poems . . which we both know to be untrue (if it was true, I’m sure the powers-that-be wouldn’t let me anywhere near the SCP site).
        So, of all the non-classical poetry submitted to SCP.. why highlight this one for being such? It’s a thoughtful poem, containing all of the afore-mentioned criteria. It should be seen simply for what it is.

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