“(Hour 2 of 12) some recipe”

These maternal issues aside, he wonders,

What do you think is a life well lived, he ponders,

Would it be fame and fortune and ruddy good health?

Or a simple unremarkable life that’s borne without stealth?

Would you prefer trials and tribulations and constant bloody crises?

As opposed to calm and contentment and no base pleasures?

I’ll just go through the future with an open mind,

And just deal with what life throws at me, I opine.



© 2020 S Phua

“(Hour 1 of 12) another mother”

Shall we begin, says my shrink,

Now tell me what you think,

If I ask you what you remember,

All about your mother,

Not the ego and the id,

But just your time as a kid?


In truth, there isn’t much to say.

She would not let me have my way.

Her own fears to me she projected,

My natural instincts stifled and rejected,

From childhood to adulthood, so much regret,

Such a trying time, I would much rather forget.


But I have imagined, in some alternate history,

I was a singular person of some notoriety?

Sired in secrecy, mired in anonymity,

A libertine Don Juan, a rake of profligacy,

From the Virgin Queen I sprang, in this other reality,

That scion of Elizabeth, a bastard of the monarchy.



© 2020 S Phua

“Greetings and Salutations, fellow marathoners!”

As I always tell myself every time:

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

If you gotta take five, take five.


For a change of perspective, step out occasionally to breathe in fresh air, walk the dog, play with the cat, whatever.

Write what you want, how you want; it’s just an opportunity to share and leave a little of yourself out there among like-minded souls.

At the end of the day, it’s like an virtual outing.

All the best, and have fun, everyone!

“It doesn’t get any easier, but it’s still fun …”

Good morning to all fellow 2019 Poetry Marathon participants!

Silvester here in North Vancouver, up for my 5th TPM.

Wasn’t really sure I could join you folks this year, so it was a last-minute decision, but here I am, ready to call upon Euterpe once more to aid me in my poetical travails.

Wishing everyone inspiration, energy, and joy as they create and share over the next 12 or 24 hours. Each of us has prepared in our own way but all I just wanna say is, pace yourself, and fresh air always helps!


(#24/24): “Vista”

The day has been long.

And on the cusp of yet another,

Dawn will almost break,

But not my flagging, weary muse.


Though there are only street lamps,

And dark clouds marring my view

Of the beloved mountains on the North Shore,

I know I will see them soon.


So I have passed this final test,

Now let me put these last words to rest.

Another challenging 24 hours, I must confess,

My marathon is done and now, I convalesce.


© 2017 S Phua

(#23/24): “Yearning”

Is this what I really long for?

Not family nor even friends,

But only the many delights

Of the local cuisine back home.


From sock-filtered ‘Nanyang’ coffee roasted in margarine,

To the carefully produced nine-layered ‘Kuih Lapis’ cake,

And succulent chicken rice that’s pressure-cooked to perfection,

To the humble carrot (turnip) cake well fried in lard and black soy sauce.


All this I miss, and much more.

A glutton am I, no less,

The pangs of my hunger cannot be satiated,

Oh, that I would be able to partake of them once again!


© 2017 S Phua

(#22/24): “Masterpiece”

The lady in black,

A profile of superciliousness,

Her manner haughty,

Turning away in disdain.


Some may think Madame Gautreau merely demure,

Her manner just an artifice,

Instructed in this manner and artistic pose,

By Sargent, that society painter of superficiality.


And yet, this scandalous work remains his tour de force,

A masterpiece of portraiture.

Time and critical appraisal have indeed

Been kind to his fame. And her reputation.


© 2017 S Phua

(#21/24): “Aggrandisement”

There is this orange bouffanted conman from Queens,

Who inflates practically everything it seems,

From the length of his hands, and height of his buildings,

To the size of his crowds, and all his ‘big’ winnings,

Let justice be served when the grand jury convenes.


© 2017 S Phua

(#20/24): “Relentlessness”

Along the winding canal where there was once

A long swath of overgrown grass,

That turned into mud whenever it rained,

Overnight, it was all gone.

The unruly ‘lallang’ removed, soil levelled,

And the ground topped over with concrete.


And yet, scarce months later,

The first green shoots sprouted up

And out through every single gap,

Nook and cranny in the concrete.

Modernity cannot be stopped,

But nature always finds a way.


© 2017 S Phua

(#19/24): “Vastness”

The International Space Station.

Our stepping stone to exploring beyond

The confines of our solar system.


The nations of the world

Continue to build this gateway to the stars,

Module by module.


And yet, this complex feat of science and engineering,

The largest man-made structure ever put into space,

Is still no bigger than a football field.


We are humbled by what we have yet to achieve.


© 2017 S Phua