Rhyme And Reason-A Literary Series


Of all the ways we mark the middle
Of things - Zuhur prayers at the
Sun's zenith; Sext and its Psalms to
Banish the noonday devil - one
Of my favourites has to be how
Some calendars (the old-fashioned
Paper or cardboard kind) must be
Upended, flipped on their heads
After half a year - July peeping
Furtively on the other side of June…

Blinking at the opportunity, utterly
Undeserved, to set things once more
In their right station. To pause, then
Test if we hear the year finally start
Its six-month exhale. To wait for
The coming of the monsoon rain
Clouds and all they portend: wind
And thunder, cleansing torrents,
The precious chance to start again.

To understand that now we journey to the end
Of the year. Which in many ways is just the same
As making our slow way to where all things start:

To the other side of the beginning,
January and December
Only a page apart.


    The son of a Tamil-Eurasian father and Pakistani-Malay-with-a-dash- of-Chinese mother, Aaron Maniam sees poetry as a path into "the spaces between" - between histories and heritages, between geographies and, latterly, between and under the different meanings words can articulate.

    He has mentored young writers under the Ministry of Education's Creative Arts Programme and the National Arts Council's Mentor Access Programme. In 2003, he won the first prize for English poetry in the National Arts Council's Golden Point Award.


    Morning at Memory's Border, firstfruits publications, 2005

    Debut collection of poems exploring issues of identity, time and memory, silence and other things for which words are often inadequate. Shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2007.

    Poems featured in a range of local and international collections, including:

    • Over There, a collection of Singaporean and Australian poetry • From the Window of Our Epoch, a bilingual collection of Singapore and Malaysian poetry

    • &words and Little Things: A Poetry Anthology, collections of Singapore and international writing to promote the teaching of literature in Singapore schools

    • Fifty on 50, a collection to mark Singapore's 50th anniversary of internal self-government

    • French-English bilingual journal La Traductiere and the French Journal des Poetes; desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz

    • From Walden to Woodlands, a collection of inter-faith nature poetry

    •For recent poems and other writing, see https://medium.com/ @aaronmaniam2015/latest

    •Morning at Memory's Border is available for loan at the National Library, and is available on Amazon.com and www.firstfruitspublications.com

    MORE STORIES ONLINE For more stories, go to: http://str.sg/rhyme- and-reason •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 July 09, 2016, with the headline 'July'. Print Edition | Subscribe