Wang Gungwu, Head, East Asia Institute, National University of Singapore

Moon Thoughts

The moon, impure as ever, like tea-leaves,

Coffee dregs, on a cup of cream, cleaves

On to drooping leaves of rubber trees,

Scatters bright thieves to steal the keys

That open to mem'ries of home.


Distracted, home seems distant, fades

Into the light of nascent night, the same

That shone on ancient heroes born.

Thought loiters among glorious shades,

And martyrs and lovers, alike they came,

Welcome as dewdrops on to the evening lawn;

How they embalm the thought-cells,

How they sweeten the deepest depths of mind's own dells.


The Truly Great adorn these green arcades,

Marble images, idols, now but shadows,

Spectre-like in the moonlit glades

Have-beens; the night returns, but their lives

Come no more.

Think no more, home appears nearer;

The moon, impure as ever, becomes clearer.



Reproduced with the kind permission of Wang Gungwu.

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singapore Literature Overview

Last Modified: 25 July, 2002