Singapore’s Favorite Poem

Grace Chia, poet and university teacher, nominates Grace Chua’s poem “Homesick” as her favorite Singapore poem. Chia writes, “We teach this poem for our Creative Writing workshops and it’s an effective, simple yet evocative poem, very dreamlike, nostalgic and memorable, with repetition being used very cleverly.”


by Grace Chua

I am standing in the snow
in the middle of the woods.
Somewhere a telephone is ringing –
in a red telephone box
standing in the snow
in the middle of the woods.
The call comes like geese
from a distant place.
Frost clings to the branches
as I make my way
to the telephone box
standing in the snow
in the middle of the woods.
If a telephone rings
in the forest
and there is no one to hear,
is it still ringing?
I pick up the phone.
Winter, she says,
is coming. Are you wearing a coat?


First published in Softblow, collected in the volume The Stamp Collector’s Wife, (firstfruits publications), the poem is reprinted with the author’s permission.


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.


  1. datta2014

    I read,reread the whole poem in first person ,the persona “I” and the “she” who says ,winter is coming is interesting and replete with meanings.Winter and the coat here signify something symbolic.Appreciate the read.


  2. Thanks for reading, datta2014.


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