S&R Literature

S&R Poetry: Four poems by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Four Poems
by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

stoicism is a beaded senryu

not matter of fact
from genus to rigid form
short of the ideal

the others now external

language running, head hurtling
then a soft canter

beyond simple means
beyond the protracted line
beyond the blue fir

the language hung by bouclé

into yesterday –
anguish of the lost onji
at odds with itself


for the constants of hokku

today big credo
not this leaf moment, white, washed
out, fragment visit

not the eclipse, pitch, pivot
when you look away, thistle

not this, modern rust
avenue talk to built crowd
loud and backed and stone

alone, ice, gin, eyes, ajar
pebble in paper, cupboard

not that, still life, sink
you in slip of pink, above
this ribbon city

but for memory, not now
cerise, kitchen, tile, dislodged

but today, return
unsaid the misshaping red
not landlocked and lips

are the whole pictures spinning?
prolix yet moving items


neo-impressionism and the feather-stitched haiku

tiers always, dispatched
a sluice of them, metallic
grey to french blue to mauve

there, standing water

walk into the blue lake house
stories below –

traherne poem suspended
stacked, tangential, old

your heart beating
sibilants a soft whistling

to say dive deep
into the square event –
hunter green and moss


Sea Salt: A Villanelle

The script of two brothers and a bargain
The script of turkey ham or leg of lamb
The script of Hermes and another descent

The script of fables before winnowing
The script of the old man as clairvoyant
The script of ghouls at the threshold

The script of a hand mill made of maple
The script of buckwheat and oats and rye
The script of peas and nuts and millet

The script of grinding out happiness
The script of new lights and field corn
The script of the secret on a pint of ale

The script of Cain drowned in herring
The script of Constantinople in a fresco
The script of the world’s barter of souls

The script of grief like a redder sorghum
The script of us as anonymous skippers
The script of salt and a boat sinking
The script of the sea and its taste of tears

* Based on the Norwegian fairy tale “Why the Sea Is Salt”


Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has two chapbooks, Bistre Junction and In Memoriam to a Marionette: Caudate Sonnet of the Year Ad Interim, forthcoming from Firstfruits Publications and Silkworms Ink. Trained in book publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters in world religions from Harvard and fine arts masters in creative writing from Notre Dame, Desmond has edited more than 10 books and co-produced 3 audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Desmond is a recipient of the Singapore Internationale Grant and Dr Hiew Siew Nam Academic Award. He also works in clay, his commemorative pieces housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Categories: S&R Literature, S&R Poetry

2 replies »

  1. These poems were truly beautiful, the language the symbolism was quite moving. I found the simplicity of sentences very meaningful.