All My Kingdoms

All my kingdoms and my crowns
They come tumbling down.
Paper castles, empty thrones
Revealed truly, I stand alone.

Where are the ramparts
From which I perched
To gaze upon my rule?
Under pride’s weight
They tumbled down
And revealed me as a fool.

The crown I wore –
A shroud of vain-glory.
The throne from which I reigned:
Merely a place
Entrusted to me
A season for me ordained.

My kingdom a vast
But empty land
In the end ’twas truly r’vealed.
For I had stocked
That which was not
Worth any, in any man’s field.

For what is gold
To a broken heart?
What is silver
To those who weep?
What is glory
To the friendless?
What is power
When, in death, asleep?

What treasure dare I boast
To show my kingly rule?
At the end when all is done
I truly am a fool.

O mortal man
Before the end
Seek now this sacred wisdom:
All that glitters
Is not gold
And great castles make not a kingdom.

This took a long time to write! I started this more than a year ago before finally finishing it. I was ruminating about how much I wanted to “succeed” in life – in a way that people around me, from my past, present and future, would be hard pressed to ignore. And then, suddenly, the first and second verses came to me and I realized that I was tempted to go where angels fear to tread. Then came the long hiatus before the rest of the poem finally arrived.

I still want to be successful, especially at the age of this writing (going on 25 this year!), but I’m hoping that my success would be in the end (and that’s when success is truly measured), not just paper castles and empty thrones.

Copyright (C) Wong Giok Leigh, 23 April 2003 – 2 July 2004. All Rights Reserved.


A Hymn To Procrastination

So here I sit all but alone
Facing the computer screen all on my own
I should be asleep, it’s getting so late
This is what you get when you procrastinate

Goofing off when I should have worked
Fooling around when I should have slaved
Is this my punishment? Is this my fate?
It this what happens when I procrastinate?

But lo, I cannot help it, ‘tis surely was fun
When I had loads of work that I had left undone
Instead of diligence, instead of haste
I chose, instead, to procrastinate

I watched the telly, I slept in my bed
I went online and idly chatted
And still my work was left undone
But, what the heck, I was having fun!

Still, I hope to learn this lesson well
That procrastination can make my life hell
I shall resolve never to procrastinate
But, hrmm… I think that can just wait.

I really should be doing a final paper, rewriting another final paper and studying for a final exam. Instead, I do this. Damn.

Copyright © Wong Giok Leigh, 26 April 2003, 12:46pm. All Rights Reserved.

Here I Sit Waiting For A Heartbreak

Here I sit,
Waiting for a phonecall
Waiting for a heartbreak.

I still love
I still adore
I still live with heartache.

But I don’t know
What tidings may come
When the phone rings.

No clue, no sense
Of what she might think
No clue, no sense
Of what she might say
No clue, no sense
Of what she might feel

But she knows my heart’s whispers
My longings and my sighs
And she is contemplating
While my heart waits on a butcher’s block.

And so I sit
Here I wait
For a phonecall and a heartbreak.

The curse of those who truly love is that they don’t know how to stop. No matter how much they’ve (or say) ‘moved on’ a piece of them always remains behind. Thanks to my friend, A, who gave me the illustration of a heart waiting on a butcher’s block.

                                                                                              Copyright (c) Wong Giok Leigh, 12 September 2003. All Rights Reserved.

The Only Thing I Know

The only thing I know
Is that I don’t
Should that scare me?

God, bigger than understanding
Grace, greater than comprehension
Mercy so easy to misunderstand
So where can I stand?

The only thing I know
Is that I don’t
Still, why am I afraid?

The God I don’t fully know
Fully knows me
The Love I don’t fully have
Is mine eternally
The faith I don’t fully own
Is my security

God is bigger, grace is greater, mercy misunderstood
I should be afraid.
The only thing I know is that I don’t
So in God I trust
In grace I rest
His mercy will cover

I Love My Aunts And Uncles

I love my aunts and uncles
I truly, really do
I write this on my own volition
I swear that it’s all true

They have always loved me
Even from a babe
That when they first laid eyes on me
Their mouths were left agape

Echoing my father
Together, with such a hoot,
“Why is his head so shaped like that?”
Though it just came out, “How… cute!”

I know they always adored me
In such very loving ways
With every sarcastic barb they’d throw
I’d learn new things to say

Everything I did was “adorable”
It was done with such an ease
In the way I’d order three-course meals
And my feeble Cantonese

Now things have slowed down just a bit
It’s not that they’re getting old
But since they’ve had their own kids
They’re just not quite as bold!

These are beloved aunts and uncles
Growing up was such a blast
It’s just like graduating from Shaolin
Facing the Twelve Mighty Men of Brass

I love my aunts and uncles
And now I’ve had my say
This has helped my therapy
Maybe now the bad dreams will go away

Tears Come Too Late

Tears come too late
When the weeping is done
The aftermath has already come

But where were your tears
When Mercy called?
When Grace tugged?
When Conscience shrugged?

Every step the Father called
Did I hear, was I bothered?
I shut my ears, my heart hardened
So now I stand alone
With my price to pay
Heavy as it is, my debt, this burden

Tears come too late
When the weeping is done
The aftermath has already come

And yet these tears
Can water something new
In God there is Life
In tears we can yet reap in joy

Tears come too late
But when the weeping is done
God’s Redemption Work has already begun

I had written this after a day of crying… My heart had been left broken, and I have no one to blame but myself. Our actions do bring consequences – even though we may not think so at the time. But yet, Father God’s words challenge me: “I can still raise the dead!” With God, there is always hope and redemption – even when things seem already ‘dead’.

Copyright © Wong Giok Leigh, 14 November 2002. All Rights Reserved.