The Theme of Transience in Edwin Thumboo's Poetry

Ee Tiang Hong

The impression running through the entire development of Thumboo's poetry is the poet's consciousness of the transience of things. Thumboo attaches great value to the very things he knows are not everlasting, but can be enjoyed all the same as sensations while they are still present; as memories when they are gone. What matters most, when all is said and done, is his poetry. It is the core of his existential self, his very being, and the vital element of his self-image, his selfconcept and his self-esteem. It colours the mental and emotional schema for his construction of reality, for assigning meanings to things, and for evaluating their worth, characterising his way of looking at the world, of apprehending beauty, love and friendship.[77]

The preceding passage has been quoted from the late Ee Tiang Hong's Responsibility and Commitment: The Poetry of Edwin Thumboo, ed. Leong Liew Geok (Singapore: Centre for Advanced Studies/Singapore University Press, 1997. It can be ordered from Singapore University Press, 10 Kent Righe, Singapore 119260 [GPL].

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