Muses: 15 Poems & 1 Play about the Creative Process by Young Asian Writers (Asian Voices)

These poems about creativity were originally posted on the AsianVoices Website (1997-2004), a site featuring poetry and fiction by young Asian writers. 



I paint with an inner
eye, gentle strokes
of fluid triangles.

Water colour writings are born, go through
the milestones, learn to
learn, then one day
live enough to be
hung on the wall.


Musical poems
hypnotize the ear,
shape stanzas
into notes.

~ by Jill Chan (New Zealand)

By Your Grace

You send delicate shivers
to my toes. You have tripped
my tongue, made me mute.

So I sharpen my pencil
Put it to my nose
and smell the old wood.
Feel its smoothness.
Press my nails into the firm
soft body, leave a newly
cut mark. I turn it slowly,
count its sides.

~ by Jill Chan (New Zealand)

Limerick for Sale

To write a good lim’rick’s a tale
Have rhythm and rhyme or you’ll fail
But only a fool
will follow the rule
Do you have a lim’rick for sale?

~ by Laura Lam (Hong Kong)

A poet who is drowning himself in his own poem

He is a poet.
The writer of his own love.
as he paints the mood.
candles. blown out.
windows. closed
doors. locked
life. detached

He is a rock
he starts to write
no love, no warmth
just another rock on the road
with only wind and rain
leaving him alone

Never once does he notice
the beautiful sun
the gentle breeze
but gives his all to his sorrow

He is a cactus
he continues
no rain, no being,
just another cactus in the desert
with the burning sun
carrying him away

Never once does he notice
the whistle of wind
the rhythm of sand
and the oasis
just a few steps away

He is inside
as he ends the story
a lost Shepherd
trying to find his way
to the house of the lord

Never once does he let himself notice
the map
the key
and the light
he is in the house of his lord already

~ Vivian Chiang (Hong Kong)

Like Children Randomly Play

Who’s to say
how long this masque would take
before I can peel it off;
if it does what it says;
how do I say
in a convincing manner
with the swings oscillating slower—
this plane will be depraved by
because you said
we do not need rhymes anymore
and we should only
understand what we want,
Do not say
a thing but tell
your mind—the poet
is the bard who, would you say,
Like Children
Randomly Play
By chance.

~ by Nicole Leong (Singapore, Britain). Commenting on this poem, Nicole writes: “By transmuting the familiar routine of facial cleansing, the mundane leads to the trivialisation of seeming madness in the persona, a madness which is triggered by the loss of innocence and stable wholistic knowledge. The poem subtlely comments on the deconstructive effects of Literary Modernism and subversion that renders readers disenchanted by fragmentation. The importance of ‘importance’ is negated and all becomes anchorless. Hence it also questions the role of the poet, if he/she is really the one who sees or a person who merely plays teasingly with ideas. The form of the poem is also quite a catch since the title of it does not appear on top but amidst the poem. The structure of indented words also parallels the title and the crux of the poem.”

Silk Kimono

I used to know this girl
who didn’t know how to cry
as the fingers pointed
and the mouth filled with laughter
pouring out
like lemon juice from a full pitcher.

She walked down the hall
being as careful can be
hoping no one would make her fall
and saying a prayer
hoping that it could be answered.

I used to know this girl
who didn’t know how to laugh
I used to know this girl
and I still do right now
she’s the one who doesn’t know how to cry
or to laugh
but she knows how
to write.

~by Eliza Tacogdoy (The Philippines)

verses and images unbound

the box laid there
for years

the poet’s dream
laid still
quiet but

for occasional
drops of tears

in confusing anger
the images laid

tied in strings
of poverty, despair
the verses

wrapped in truth
laid still

are images
locked in tight embraces

to be free
but verses

a poet’s dream
a kiss
a flame.

~ Jose Alibone A. Naboya (Singapore)

A Poem for the Senses

I TASTE the bleeding poison ink
And SEE the secret words revealed,
So HEAR the songs before they sink
And FEEL the balming rhyme distilled,
TO SMELL success in poetry
Release your SOUL, and set it free.

~ Mohammad Said bin Rahim (Singapore)

Where there is space, there can always be a poem

Where there is space for a thought
There can always be a moment to ponder.

Where there is space for a sigh
There can always be time to wonder.

Why are we always looking for reasons
When chaos readily replaces disorder?

And if there is space for emotion
There will always be lightning, rain, and thunder.

For in this heart, there is always space
For a poem – for you – this poem has its place.

~ Mohammad Said bin Rahim (Singapore)

Upon Looking at Picasso’s Weeping Woman

Your cries fragment my soul
Your weeping grips a silent hold
My hands they sweat as I
Paint your oily tears inside my eye.

Gushing feelings fill this void
A broken emptiness, a bloodless rush I can’t avoid
The pale, shy crying your face beholds
Unashamed, the shame of tears he moulds.

Picasso, how came you saw my pain?
Black, blue, yellow, orange, and black again
Brought forth the rainbow in the rain
My rainbows more oft they go than come, again and again.

~ Mohammad Said bin Rahim (Singapore)

Journey of the Conscience

The vicissitudes of conscience’s journey on this planet-earth is the only
true history of countries; conscience inhales the truth as oxygen- that
truth which is a great ocean.

The ocean does not sit at anybody’s feet and bark, the voice of a storm
does not know to say yes sir, The Mountain does not kneel down before any

I, maybe after all a fistful of earth, but when I lift my pen I have the
arrogance of the flag of a nation. I dip my travails in tears and munch
them like biscuits.

And unveil the great truth

that a man, who is stronger than life, alone,

can sculpture from word to century.

Cut off my hands, still they will return and join me. In my storms the
entire sky is blown away like a scrap of paper. So, now, of what value are
those crowds of stars on my path? I only know this much, that human life is
an exhibition of beastly forces.

Today my memories are visiting me, filling my journey with breathless
winds. I am one who runs in search of storms, wounds and drunkards.

But at the sight of the peaks of people, I melt into a poem and flow onto
the paper. An earthquake is born in my language. In the fiery blood flowing
in floods from broken hearts of words, human tongues are floating. Sweep
off all this rubbish of verbiage of words. Then will appear on the page
clearly, my pearl white voice.

~ Seshendra Sarma (India)

My Art

It’s my world, how beautiful!
The mysterious sky diffusing varied hues of blue.
The lazy moon flowing upon the ocean.
Dazzling stars singing above the singing hazel field.
Enchanting flowers blossoming on the snowy mountain.

On the bare plane,
I start sketching my wonderland.
My brush is my magic wand;
my spells turn
inspirations to imagineries,
death to life.

To each picture a dedicated meaning I bestow.
In twisted combinations of time, place and mood,
spiritualised and signifying,
Together they compose my autobiography.

I rule my world,
desperation conquers me
when my territory is deserted.
Oh my empire,
you shall never fade.
you live in me,
as I live in you.

~ Jess Yim Ka-mei (Hong Kong)


Agreed- the stars don’t shine forever,
But, they do shine every night!
Agreed- true love does suffer,
But- who wants to play safer?
Agreed- her feet ran faster than her ears heard,
But- communication of my love never was/is blurred!
Agreed- she has a choice to deny,
But-don’t I have a right to confess?
Agreed- dreams have gone to sleep,
But- is that reason enough to weep?
Agreed- tough times invade the soft heart,
But- to combat, don’t I possess the art?
Agreed- tears drop from the cliff of eyes,
But- is that not where the essence of poetry lies?
Agreed- memories annoy more than they soothe,
But- is that not an insignificant truth?
Agreed- the heart views just its favourite moments,
But- does a complete picture make sense?
Agreed- reciprocal love is a rare fortune,
But- doesn’t soothe this tune?
Agreed- they say it’s a play of words,
But- the fact remains,
They are sans wing birds!
Agreed- poets are
not practical,
But- life is so paradoxical!
Agreed- I am an escapist,
But- I am the Happiness Therapist!

~ Saurabh Niranjan Turakhia

La Mancha

Bereft of the poetry of his soul
The knight took refuge in the house of death
Into darkness he went with his mind crushed
Wandering lust gone and with his own trust.

The enchanter gone
And disenchantment entered
And the land of La Mancha
Slowly turned to dust & cinders.

Talisman of allurements or of feasts
Chimeras of windmills or of fabulous beasts
Golden liquors and the shining decanters
Tales of poets sorcerers and of wizards
Adieu to stillness and the romance
Tryst and other typographical stance.

His merry madness had to go
And sanguine sanity had to be constructed
Don Quixote had to be demolished
And Alfonso had to be resurrected.

Alas! there is no poetry left now
In the lands of the Al Toboso
And no veils of Dulcinea now accrues
Across the knight of the mournful rue

~ Durlabh Singh (England)

The Moon

The moon
Oh catch the moon
Put a noose in its nose
Bring it back to harness
The icy wilderness of the noon
Sprinkle it with flowered dew.

Catch it before it runs
To penumbra of sun hide itself
Oh run and run to recover
From suffocation of grief & bart
Stiffen its dust with tears
Or the ceremonial flood
Of the tidings of the present
The anti poetic
Peregrine of the sedged cart
The olibanum of crushed heart.

The moon
Oh catch the moon
Catch it till it runs
To the hilliard mansions
The septic pun
Where the master of hounds sleep
With his metallic face
Turned to the wall
Where under the greenish shadows
Shines the dool
The moon
Oh catch the moon
Catch it before it runs
To the penumbra of the sun.

~ Durlabh Singh (England)

Once Upon a Moon

Set in China during at the end of the Mongol-ruled Yuan dynasty, Julie Leung’s one-act play features a bored provincial lord who offers a condemned actress one wish before the dies if she is able to tell him a story that is sufficiently amusing.

Read Once Upon a Moon: A Play by Julie Leung (PDF format)

AsianVoices Archives: These poems were originally posted on the now-defunct AsianVoices website (1997-2004), which featured poetry and fiction by young Asian writers. Copyright belongs to the original authors. If you are the writer and would like to remove, add or edit this work, please contact me at and I will promptly carry out your request.

  1. Bloodlines: Family
  2. Passions: Love & heartbreak
  3. Edible Words: Food
  4. Life’s Journey: Innocence & experience
  5. Scenes: Everyday life
  6. Requiem: Death & remembrance
  7. Reflections: Self-discovery & spirituality
  8. In Class: School life & education
  9. In Transit: Travel & transportation
  10. Destinations: Places
  11. Nature: Animals & the environment
  12. Muses: The creative process
  13. Conflict: War and its effects
  14. Kids’ Corner: For younger readers
  15. Pets: About, for and by pets
  16. Friendship: Cherished bonds
  17. Emotions: Emotional states
  18. Haiku: Concise poems
  19. Brushstrokes: Chinese-language works
Return to AsianVoices

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s