An Oriental Smörgåsbord (cont’d)


The time for tossing has come! 
In traditions from time long past, 
A large plain platter is placed
Taking centre stage on the table;
A careful selection of ingredients 
Laid in distinctly colored clumps
Of carotene-orange and radish-white
Of raw ocean pink; of bright yellow
Each kind clamoring for space.

The honey and cracker are now unleashed,
Sprinkled, drizzled. Then the pepper and cinnamon;
Scattered, sowed in richly hued soil, dust
Of classic spices known for long.

The tossing begins. Every man (and woman) 
To a pair of chopsticks; then rushing, squeezing,
Fighting, even, for a space to poise the utensil
Right above the plate. Some adolescents
See not the top of the yu sheng,
But it’s fine. Then all at once, chopsticks dive right in – 
Huat ah!” and other auspicious hollers 
As elements are brought high above the table
Then flung back in, over and over again, 
Relentlessly, drowned by the prepared phrases,
Each voice a rival to another, as are 
The cramped bodies. 

When it wears out, little plastic bowls are drawn
All take some and go, perhaps being picky – 
The children squabble over crackers – 
And the remaining strands are strewn
All over the table.


(not sure if I could think of a part IV… noticed that this time it was more of a descriptive poem, not so personal/subjective.)


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