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 A Plate of Char Siew Rice
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Alson Teo

Singapore
10 Posts

Posted - 16 Mar 2005 :  16:21:27  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
Dear mentors,

This is my first serious attempt on poetry writing.

Please give me your honest comments. If it is bad please tell me why so that I can work on it. A thousand thanks.


Regards,
Alson Teo (newbie @work)

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A Plate of Char Siew Rice

Slices of tender pork roasted to perfection,
lay upon the fragrant rice,
that were soaked
in rosy sweet sauce.

My father used to say, itís sinful to indulge
in such luxury. Satisfied
with burnt-bread,
and tap water.

I lowered my head to avoid the gaze
of my brotherís envious eyes,
and licked off that last grain
on the plate.

Who could resist
such simple dish? Such
temptation? Not me.
A starving boy.


Edited by - Alson Teo on 16 Mar 2005 19:18:51

Hsien Min

Singapore
49 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2005 :  01:02:37  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
V. tired but here goes, honest comments:

1. "fragrant rice, / that were soaked..." - "was", surely? Better yet, leave it out: "fragrant rice / soaked..."

2. "rosy" - really? in what way?

3. Second stanza needs much rewriting. The father's quote should be set off more clearly, or else reported. "Satisfied... water" not only isn't a sentence in the strict sense, it doesn't link up to anything before or after.

4. "gaze" followed by "eyes" a bit tautological.

5. It might be useful to consider how to bring the brother's envy across to the reader without using the word "envious" (or similar).

6. "such a simple dish?"

7. Why's the boy "starving", esp. in the last line of the poem? If it were important it should've been conveyed earlier. As it is, the ending sounds like taking the easy way out.

Cheers,
HM
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Alson Teo

Singapore
10 Posts

Posted - 18 Mar 2005 :  13:22:35  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
Hello Mr. Toh

I noticed you posted this at 01:02:37 and I am truly grateful. Please accept my apology, it is not my intention to keep you awake so late in the night.

Guess my first poem is really not up to standard, too abstract. I will work on it again.

Thanks for the feedback. :)

Regards,
Alson Teo (newbie @work)
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Hsien Min

Singapore
49 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2005 :  00:07:05  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
No worries, I'm a night owl. But what's with this "Mr" thing? First names will do.

On your other comment, the poem is actually not too abstract. There's plenty of concrete detail in it, it just needs some more whittling...

Cheers,
HM
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Alson Teo

Singapore
10 Posts

Posted - 20 Mar 2005 :  23:15:31  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
Thanks Hsien Min

Iíve rewritten the poem. I think it is slightly better than the original version.(I hope) But I will still be working on it, so it is not necessary for you to comment on this one. Guess I will put it aside for a while, read more good poems and come back to it later.

Really appreciate your previous comments and the time to do so.

Cheers,
Alson Teo


A Plate of Char Siew Rice

Slices of tender pork roasted to perfection,
lay upon fragrant rice that was soaked
in rosy sweet sauce.

My parents said itís sinful to indulge
in such luxury, satisfied with brackish water
and burnt bread.
(God must be very pleased,
and soon called for them.)

Brother and I still attend church for prayers
and free buns. But today they served rice.
But today we were late.

Who could resist such temptation,
such a simple dish? With only a serving
left to share, not me.

I lowered my head to avoid my brotherís eyes
and licked off that last grain on the plate.

Who could resist,
such a simple dish?
Not me.

Edited by - Alson Teo on 23 Mar 2005 13:11:08
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Rui

2 Posts

Posted - 08 Aug 2005 :  22:20:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello Alson,

Heh. It's taken me this long to discover this space.

I totally agree that it'll be cool to start a pffa-style online workshop thingy here.

So here goes. Quick comments.


Slices of tender pork roasted to perfection,
lay upon fragrant rice that was soaked
in rosy sweet sauce.


the comma after 'perfection' doesn't belong there.
'that was' can be left out. just put a comma after 'rice'.

My parents said itís sinful to indulge
in such luxury, satisfied with brackish water
and burnt bread.
(God must be very pleased,
and soon called for them.)


The grammar in that first sentence feels weird.

I like the parenthetical comment, though grammar-wise it should be 'God must have been very pleased'.

Brother and I still attend church for prayers
and free buns. But today they served rice.
But today we were late.


Why repeat 'But today'?

Who could resist such temptation,
such a simple dish? With only a serving
left to share, not me.

I lowered my head to avoid my brotherís eyes
and licked off that last grain on the plate.

Who could resist,
such a simple dish?
Not me.


'I lowered my head to avoid my brother's eyes' is an improvement on your first draft.

The repetition is not really working for me here. This last section will be cleaner and more effective if you say things just once.

Hope this helps.


:) Rui

Edited by - Rui on 08 Aug 2005 22:37:04
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