By Mahajan Aanchal
The morning rush of singing birds
begins with a daily sprint out of the door –
a slung backpack, an untied shoelace
as I jump onto the departing bus.
Crowds hustle through MRT stations chasing
an elusive desert mirage,
we are treasure hunters seeking a piece of paradise –
A treasure with neither shape nor map.
To the left of the station’s exit
a seated painter, a paintbrush, a canvas;
Fine strokes appear on paper,
a butterfly flaps its silent wings.
We are walking in a train coach – a silent empty coach –
Two chairs, two canvases for you and me.
Brushstrokes echo in the quiet as
we the artists,
What will you paint paradise to be?
Is it a dream of
sunlit skyscrapers twinkling like the stars?
Or are you the shy rosebud waiting
for your distant lover spring?
Is it the Garden of Eden, lost with a single bite of an apple,
Or a virtuous lotus blossoming in mud;
What will you paint for me?
We are in a train coach, a silent empty coach,
our finished canvases are ready for display;
Close your eyes and think,
of what I’ll see on your canvas
And here, I will show you mine…
There’s a portrait of a pen – and its song –
as it scratches poetry on paper next to a
half-sipped glass of water and sticky notes of
A mother and child smile on the desk corner as
two hearts echo
in a photo-framed embrace.
Paragraphing and indentations have been edited for purposes of digital publishing.
‘a blank canvas’ is one of the award-winning poems submitted for the NTUSU 30th Anniversary Writing Competition, organised by the Editorial Committee. To read the other entries, check out our website and the latest print issue of U-Insight!