Singapore’s Favorite Poem

Josiah Ng, a film-maker, writes of “Without You” by Tania De Rozario: “Anyway, this is my favourite sg poem for rather, well… personal reasons. Poems have the ability to communicate innermost feelings, and this was a poem that helped me get in touch with that unspoken emotion that I dared not entertain. I guess it’s as simple as that really, and I guess well, it’s true what people say about bleeding on paper?”


Before we parted, she told me this: she believed
we were soulmates, that in our next life, we would meet

again. I wanted to tell her that I knew nothing of this
next life she spoke of, and little of this current life

we seemed to be fucking up, that all I understand is
now-­‐the weight of the nod compelled by something

outside oneself: Yes, we say. I give in, we say. I will soften
like the light of morning, remember how it felt waking up

to love. I wanted to tell her that I don’t know if I believe
in easy tomorrows, am doubtful even more of second

chances for those who throw first chances away. What I do
know: we will watch years form lines across our faces;

that in your absence, I understand death, understand that
we are nothing more than fossils pressed together

by emergency; that I want more than anything
to write you poetry while I am able; not risk re-­‐birth

into a body whose heart is a knot tangled in the guts
of language; that even as you break us open like an

unkept promise, I will not watch my life go on without you.

by Tania De Rozario, from Tender Delirium, Math Paper Press

Reprinted with the author’s permission

TenderDelirium Cover

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. Pingback: Singapore’s Favorite Poem | Great Reading and Writing

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