Poetry / December 2017 (Issue 38)


by Lim Lee Ching

(For my friends in Hong Kong)
Where? What remains of my life and love left broken?
How can the great plans of man leave so much broken?
My love carried off, to serve others' ambitions.
Hard hearted corvee, our matrimony broken.
The dreams man dreams range large. Vanity, even more.
Yet my dreams, with one edict, beaten down, broken.
They say to build up they have to dig deep, stakes in.
Building narrow-mindednes, words and backs broken.
They say to touch Heaven, man's fancies must reach up.
But Heaven sees only the stretched and the broken.
They say when done, it unites this fragmented land.
But walls never join, they divide, break the broken.
Devoted, fixed in purpose, they sing to the soil.
Prayers for blessings that it all stands unbroken.
Toil, a simple word, speaks miles and miles of sorrow.
Boulders on shoulders, backs crushed, knees and souls broken.
And blood, the one true cement to bind the unbound.
How else to hold together the ruined and broken?
Through it all, you my love my husband, remain gone.
No word, no news, no trace. My tears flow unbroken.
But how can I know? Heaven hides from me its tears.
For the fancies of great men must not be broken.
I see in my closed eyes, your sweat for man's vision
Of glory for one. But your bowl remains broken.
Kings and queens, warriors and heroes, are honoured, mourned.
Common folks' monuments are in soil barely broken.
Each man a brick, each man a load, each step fumbled.
These are better words. The history book's broken.
Their public words feed the chronicles, their lies cast.
Yet the truth of love and loss are never broken.
History, they say, is the fiction of empires.
Its human toll is redundant, records broken.
Greatness wanted the world altered, our lives improved.
Instead, themselves are changed. Ours unhinged and broken.
They who built had no will but finally believed.
We who've lost, we too must believe hope's not broken.
And hope alone must rely only on vague tales,
Rumours, hearsay, dark whispers, stories half broken.
Insinuations in half-light, like the dusk, leaves
Hope teetering between joy and joy broken.
My journey, my search, like the breach, are my last stand.
Among million men, million steps, a million broken.
We alone in our loss are alone together
For this bricked snake, we millions of lives are broken.
It will stand, this pride and joy of generations, 
Testament to ruler and ruled, rules unbroken.
They say to move Heaven, they have to dig deeply.
This grave keeps forgotten men who lay still, broken.
I say to move Heaven, we dig into our hearts.
Cry tears, drown sorrows, wet the blood of the broken.
Dear love, I cry into your bones. Sleep my loved one.
Our unity is two, your remains are broken.
Who weeps for the weepers, remember us who've lost?
History as good as the tale of the broken
Can be preserved by a recital of the ruined.
I will cry to Heaven to write from the broken
Tiles and bricks and mud and sand. My love could not rest.
Now his sleep is eternal, his dreams unbroken.
I, Meng Jiang, lay next to you, muddying history.
We who've lost, with tears and blood, can break what's broken.
Editors' Note:
"Unbound" first appeared in
Pure and Faultless Elation Emerging from Hiding (Delere Press, 2017).
Website © Cha: An Asian Literary Journal 2007-2018
ISSN 1999-5032
All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.