john tiong chunghoo

(Jan 21,1960 / NEW YORK)

1. Old Well


the old well is
an old woman,
dispirited, hunched,
aggrieved

a dark realm
reigns over here
ever ready to throw
its vengeance
on unsuspectful
strangers

only the heaven has
the generosity
to give it grace
- the rain fills it up
and when the weather is fine
the sky plays with it
a gentle childful
game of master sun,
queen moon
and angel stars

nobody ever
greets the old well
a good morning
afternoon or
evening

all they do
is ungratefully
bend over and
in a callous manner
start robbing it of its
luminuous peace
and tranquility
- an unkind bucket
that goes splash
before riding the
blessed sanctum
for its vitality yesterday, today,
tomorrow, everyday -
always in such a hurry
the water slushes,
sloshes, splashses
to play out its grouses

the old well
is an aggrieved woman
overused and
worn out with hatred
a restless soul
filled to the brim
with vengeance
and chagrin

to pass by one at night
one would be lucky
if one's heart does not
stumble and race
faster than one's feet
for the well's ominuous mouth
with all its sober
and solemnness
will draw your spirit in
with its damp, dark
and cold tales
and selfishly hold it there
with the tenuous
grip of a viper for
a thousand years

Submitted: Thursday, December 07, 2006
Edited: Saturday, December 04, 2010

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