Deeper Than A Lifetime

In response to “The Knife” by Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas describes his poems as “extrospective” meaning that they are focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. I believe, “The Knife” does not fall into that category and thus intrigues me the most out of all his poems. I would describe “The Knife” as a love poem; a love poem written in the midst of war at the point where dead was most evident. Hence, I believe it is one of the most sincere love poems that could be written. Although it is a love poem, its title is a word associated with danger, hurt and death for which I believe the poem was written for Ying Cheng. Ying Cheng also known as Betty Sze was an elegant Chinese lady who dated Keith during his university days. Unfortunately, her love for Keith was not as deep as his and thus the refusal of his proposal which lead to her being the unrequited love in Keith’s life. “Deeper than a Lifetime” aims to give Keith a second chance at a love that seemed so pure, to tell Betty all the things he wished he did and how differently he would have done things.

 

Dear Betty,

To turn back time and make my choices again,

I wish I could say that I would do everything exactly the same,

But unrequited love is only less painful when compared to once-requited love.

I wouldn’t have loved you as hard.

I wouldn’t have dived into the deep end of the pool just like that.

I would have tried much harder, with more suave to make you fall at your knees for me and my love.

I would have made you shed the sophisticated coat you wore whenever you met me,

The one I knew you wore to mask your true form.

I would not have hid the romantic that I was.

I would not have pretended not to be the simple guy who just wanted you to love him, who took this to be more than just a fling.

I would have took you to feel the breeze in your hair more often and to take long walks in the parks arm in arm, so that you understood the small yet important things in life.

I would have brought you to rooftops to watch the sunsets and sunrises that although were beautiful, weren’t as beautiful as you.

I would have brought you to water bodies to swim so that you could wash away all the uncertainties that you carried on your shoulders, so that you stopped calculating every move before you made them.

I would have ensured that you knew that time stopped when I looked at you, when I was with you.

I would have made sure that my ‘I love you’  s were loud and seductive but could only be heard in the wind as your long black waterfalls danced to its melody.

I would have made sure you thought of me every day without fail, the same way that not thinking of you each day felt like a bad day.

I would have made sure you understood that such selfless, aching love only came once in a lifetime and try to make you more courageous to follow the tune of your beating heart.

I would have made sure that you cried when I had gone to the army and that you sent letters, letters that would have been a small form of remedy and a reminder that you hadn’t forgotten me.

I would have made sure that the next time I saw you, would be as I, with you boldly held in my arms.

I would have made sure that I hadn’t die in a war when I had much more I wanted to say to you, to scream at you, to show you as Keith Douglas.

Don’t say that I am full of regret, because I am not.

It would be easier to forget you entirely,

But I guess I can’t.

My love for you runs deeper than just a lifetime and I can’t

Say goodbye until I have achieved what I truly believe is

Worth living for.

Book Review: Book vs. Movie Edition – The Great Gatsby

uBook

The Great Gatsbyjpg
The Great Gatsby

Name: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
ISBN: 978-0-00-736865-5
Genre: Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 140
Difficulty: 4/5 Dictionaries

 

 

 

 

Plot Summary:

From the eyes of Nick Carraway, who we eventually find out is the only true friend of Jay Gatsby’s, we learn what Gatsby has sacrificed and done for Daisy Buchanan’s love.

In short, the story is about love and how unreliable love can be especially when it is built on lies and misguided principles.

Favourite Quote:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:

1. It’s a great book to boost your vocabulary.

Basically, for half of the book, I was stumbling on two or three new words on every page. Words such as hilarity, echolalia, caterwauling. It’s also a recommended book for those who shall be taking the SAT.

2. You learn a number of moral lessons.

You learn the ugly trait of greed and carelessness. You learn the hard truth that life isn’t always fair. You also learn that eventually the ones that we can truly depend on when all things fail is family. There are some friends that might become family, but not if the relationship was built on lies.

3. It’s a classic.

The book tells a story of the bygone age of US history. In the 20s, the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and by 1933, prohibition ended because it was clear, it had backfired. People were making their own moonshine or getting alcohol through other illegal means. The Great Gatsby is a window to the world that most Americans wanted to learn from as America became a wealthy superpower in the years after.

 

Movie

The Great Gatsby (2013 Edition)

 

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If I had three words to describe the movie, they would be: wild, jazz and elaborate.

In my opinion, the book trumps the movie because there is more sincerity and emotion in and between the characters. Such as that seen through Daisy and Gatsby’s love, Wilson’s pain and Nick’s disappointment at the end of the novel. I believe this is because the movie was produced for the big screen and is thus flamboyant. The audience is distracted by all the glam and the focus on the moral lessons are minimized.

In addition, although I understand it is natural for there to be some slight differences between the movie and the book, I am pretty surprised by one. In the movie, I think Gatsby is portrayed to be a villain. One example would be when he takes Nick out to lunch and decides to tell him his story while speeding across town. It was clear that he was scheming – trying to confuse Nick and get him to believe his lies. Also, there were strange phone calls and expressions that supported such an impression.

In the book on the other hand, upon my first reading, Gatsby is portrayed to be a man who is foolishly in love. Even though he isn’t a saint, his mistakes and evil doings all seem to be the fault of Daisy’s or have Daisy as the reason.

When it comes to a book with a movie, I always read the book before watching the movie (which ever was published first, books/plays based on a movie are not as common). I would recommend doing so because you get the most accurate version of the story. What about you? What’s your habit? 

P.s I would love to hear your take on which was better, the movie or the book?

P.s.s The review was also uploaded to Goodreads, do have a look!

Nail Polish

credit @googleimages

For the first time in 18 years,
You dared to paint your nails.
Your selected colours, pastel purple and light gold.
You don’t know why you never dared to before, or do you?

Girls half your age doll themselves up with more gusto
Than you could ever dream of.
Yet, you have always been conscious of getting too mixed up in
All those stuff.
I think I know why.

I am proud though.
Proud that you are no longer afraid.
Proud that you are learning to do what makes you happy.
Proud that you are saying goodbyes to what ifs and embracing ‘how about now’s.

Simple thing have always made you happy.
You must have been over the moon these past few days.
I am glad you have realised that
You have been the one making yourself even unhappier.
It’s time to let go.
It’s time you start being yourself for yourself.

Your worth or lack of worth
Is not in how well you doll or don’t doll up.
Though you shall never actively wear make-up
Because you think it destroys ones skin, I wonder what shall happen in the years to come.
I hope that whatever the case, you never succumb to societal norms.

At least promise me that.

3.50AM

At 3.50 am in the morning,

I am awaken by a loud wail.

The foreign sounds of someone who doesn’t often shed.

Although clear that it is sincere, I am bewildered that it sounds fake.

What is wrong with emotion?

Why put up a tough front and wrap it with pride when truly,

No one wants you to,

Especially when no one wants you to?

Why succumb yourself to such torture when it’s so much pain?

My, the trouble and the difficulty.

I am not ignorant.

I see both sides and thus wake,

I wake at 3.50am in the morning.

Aflame-d

Nothing could have prepared me for what I had to do next. I ran into the woods and towards the soccer field, running uphill with only the vaguest sense of direction. In the dark, fallen branches and moss-covered rocks appeared. There was a fuliginous fog thick in the air giving an eerie feeling.

An omen of what was to come.

I tripped and fell repeatedly and worried but I have never felt so sure of doing something before, not ever since the accident. I ran. I ran like I had golden shoes.

Five minutes later, I was crouched behind the trees fifty feet from the soccer field. My heart thumped like a techno drum-beat.

The plan? Simple. Light and run.

It lit with a sizzle that reminded me of every July Fourth spent with her. I was mesmerised. The pooping started. The fireworks bangbangbang in sync with my heartbeat. When the firecrackers finished, I heard, “STOP OR I’LL CALL THE POLICE!”

I mentally cursed. I should have ran before the firecrackers ended. Regrettably, the distraction had failed. I doubled my speed, my heartbeat that of someone suffering from asphyxia. I avoided the brightly lit areas, moving zigzag, wishing that the overweight security guard would not catch up with me.

I finally reached the stairway. Taking two steps at a time, I traveled to the third floor science lab. As foreseen, the doors to the lab were locked. The fire extinguisher near the lab aided me in breaking in.

Upon entering, my nostrils were attacked by the fetid lab. I walked straight in, passing through the labyrinth of cabinets with bottles of chemicals to turn on the gas chamber.

I walked to a table bent down, took a Bunsen burner from the cabinet, connected it to the gas pipe and turned it on. The flames came alive and I was instantaneously hypnotised. I chortled and then came the waterworks.

The addiction began exactly a year ago today after I drove my best friend into a truck that had jackknifed. I was in the thousand -yard state of intoxication, we both were, but common sense had flew through the window when I entered the car turning me namby-pamby. She fell into a deep slumber to the highway’s monotonous lullaby while my right-side burnt.

For a year now, I have failed to comprehend my survival. I think of her every moment and see her in my dreams, the exact identical dream each night. Her weight falls dead on me, crushing my chest, stealing my breath, and she is cold and wet, like melting ice. Her head is split in half and a pink – gray sludge oozes from the fracture in her skull and drips down my face, and she reeks of formaldehyde and rotting meat.

Guilt, cold wrenching guilt had formed deep in my heart, thus the need for warmth.

Thus the need to finish the job.

I walked back to the cabinet full of chemical, picked bottles labelled with ethanol and splashed them around the lab. I got another bottle this time labelled methanol and watered myself with it. With a hand full of wooden splints and the Bunsen burner, the science lab is aflamed.

I laid on the table in the middle of the lab and waited for the fire to engulf me. Second thoughts began to leak into my head but I did not move an inch. As I watched the ceiling, I played back the accident, replaying how I killed someone and lost half myself in the span of seconds.

Footsteps and shouting resonated through the corridor as I had begun to lose consciousness but it was too late.

At least, I hoped I would have been dragged out to sea by the undertow before they arrived.

“Whether or not you believe in Fate comes down to one thing: who you blame when something goes wrong. Do you think it’s your fault – that if you’d tried better, or worked harder, it wouldn’t happen? Or do you just chalk it up to circumstance? I know people who’ll hear about the people who died, and will say it was God’s will. I know people who’ll say it was bad luck. And then there’s my personal favourite: They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then again, you could say the same thing about me, couldn’t you?”
– Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult

Heartbreaks

She broke up with him today.

I’ve never seen her so distraught,
So vulnerable like ever before today.
For the very first time, her stubbornness had dissolved into water droplets.

It’s been said time and again
that love is a complicated thing.
There is a certain amount of courage, almost foolishness that makes you put your heart on your sleeves, each time.
Yet, almost like an addiction, I see them throw themselves at the risk.
Repeating the process that has now come to be normal with growing up – heartbreaks.

The thrill of a companion is what drives them most times.
I wish it wasn’t.
It’s a downhill fall if the solution to the hole within was to fill it with the sweet words of a companion.
For why would teeth be plucked out from excessive intake of sugar?

As ladies of a new generation,
I wish we wouldn’t be so vulnerable to societal norms.
I wish we would learn to see that self-worth is the best filling.
I wish we would learn to throw away the items society has thrown in our face to hide our flaws.
I wish we would learn to be comfortable in our own skins.
I wish we would learn to eat and dress for ourselves.
I wish we would learn to never be afraid to let out the warriors in us.
I wish we would learn to see how much more we could be,
if the strength came from within.

Named Hurricanes

In response to Anna Akhmatova’s ‘You Will Hear Thunder’


“It is poets and philosophers who tend to think clearly of death”
~Sherwin Nuland

I shall dance in the pouring rain
And my footsteps shall create sandstorms.
My spins and twirls more on point that tornados in
Glass bottles.
My movement: poetry that will swallow you deeper
Than the waves of tsunamis.
My name shall live longer than named hurricanes.

* A poem a little early than usual as I shall be participating in an MUN competition this Sunday.