Singapore’s Favorite Poem

Ng Kah Gay, an educator, writes, “One of the poems that I remember very well is “Palmistry” by Gilbert Koh.” He read the poem first in the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore. “The subject matter works tenderly around a Chinese practice rooted in traditional belief, which makes it a particularly fulfilling local read.”


So take my hand and hold it,
bend it gently to the light.

Discover me, in a way
that I do not know myself.

Speak what you will, of my
health, fame and fortunes,

but know that I will put a finger
to your gentle lips,

if on love, you try to say
the things I should not know,

like where you’re going to
and how I will stay behind,

how our separate ways
are written in these lines.

By Gilbert Koh, from the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore

Used with the author’s permission

Gilbert Koh is the author of the book of poems Two Baby Hands, Ethos Books. He is also the blogger behind the popular socio-political blog Mr Wang Says So.


About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

One comment

  1. This, and “Accident” are my two favourite poems by Gilbert Koh. So beautifully put together


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: