Flower dome Singapore


the world keeps coming to this rare home, some to stay on:
baobabs, other species, of Argentina, Africa, Australia,
some new hybrids, born of, say, cactus and bromeliad
jellyfish-shaped, they all adapt, maritime-attuned species
now self-sufficient in water, sunlight, other nutrients
on this island of myriad cultures, inside this sun-globe,
an air-conditioned, fertile, harmonious microcosm of diversity

long-distance migration's trauma is more than tempered
once nestled into this safest, most welcoming, of havens,
a showcase where jostling admirers visit by the thousands to tilt
only cameras at tulip blooms, 'invaders' from the land of windmills,
just as the sakura, beauty so fragile, transient yet resilient,
might never have felt more secure, amidst perpetual spring,
quake-free, so shielded from pests, pestilence, drizzle, even breeze

in a universe where DNA can just vanish without trace,
this is one way for identity, community, to seed, to be retained:
optimal conditions, conditioning, always trading space
for serenity, often offering up openness to be constrained

for livelihood is embraced as a harvest of mastering the elements,
adjusting to co-exist, accepting fruit from promises of sustenance


Koh Buck Song is the author and editor of more than 25 books, including three poetry collections and several anthologies. He was general editor of the literary journal Singa as well as The Straits Times' literary editor and columnist. He has represented Singapore as poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh (1992).

Inspired by his 2015 Japan Foundation programme as a cultural leader of Singapore, he launched a pioneering exhibition of haiga (haiku with ink sketches) in Singapore at the Esplanade's Super Japan Festival 2016.


A Brief History Of Toa Payoh And Other Poems (Imperial 1992)

The first of three verse collections, followed later by The Worth Of Wonder (2001) and The Ocean Of Ambition (2003).

Described as "a study of the Singaporean wrestling to make meaning of the wider world" (Westerly, Australia); and "an impressive debut" (Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong).

Singapore: Places, Poems, Paintings (Art & Artist Speak 1993)

Editor and poetry curator of a coffee-table book and exhibition of poems and paintings at the National Museum by 15 poets and 30 artists celebrating 30 places in Singapore.

From Boys To Men: A Literary Anthology Of National Service In Singapore (Landmark 2002)

Co-edited with Umej Bhatia, a selection of 50 of the best works and new public submissions by 30 writers, including four women, to mark the 35th anniversary of NS.

•For more on these books and others, see: http://eresources.nlb. gov.sg/infopedia/articles/ SIP_1717_ 2010-10-27.html

All books are on loan from the National Library, or available at Kinokuniya or Times bookstores, or on Amazon.com.

•The poem in the Rhyme And Reason series is brought to you in partnership with the National Arts Council.



A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Flower dome Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe