National Poetry Month: Echo Edition (Part 1)

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In conjunction with National Poetry Month, Echo Media is proud to introduce our first ever Poetry Special! We’ve compiled 6 equally compelling poems for you guys, each written by a member of our very own Creative Writing Team. 
Here are the first 3 poems, be sure to stick around for Part 2 *wink*. 
Enjoy!

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TEMPLE 

by Natasha Effendy 

“Temple” is a poem that talks about self-love, caring for yourself and femininity within subtle religious imagery. Based on the phrase “my body is my temple”, the poem highlights loving your own skin and accepting it. At the same time, it also emphasises how you have to personally build your own sanctuary in order to grow. This involves growing and watering your fruit and flowers, being vulnerable and finding solace within nature’s reach. But such efforts are never easy, so my poem is a reassurance; that it’s okay to struggle to establish your temple and make it yours. 

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you say your body is your temple. 

you pray to your structure and form 

and preach your sacred roots 

in the name of self-love 

as you purified yourself 

in the nearby lake- 

you had your bones ground up 

to make the cement walls 

that wrapped around you like skin

and your hair grew long enough

so you could take shelter

under the heaviest of rains 

and the blood that flew in your veins

became the holy wine and water 

that formed part of your nature. 

but why do you also take part 

of the exquisite agony 

of a capitalised self-alterations

that break down the doors 

of your beautiful temple? 

you poke holes into your walls 

with all these filler needles

and you erode the cement down 

with implants and piercings- 

it breaks my heart, really 

because i watch you make these 

decisions and artificial changes

onto what you deemed holy 

because this is painful to me, 

to have your temple ruined by 

the words of someone unworthy. 

your body is your temple only- 

you don’t have to hurt your body 

or wear your walls down

for the benefit of society 

who keeps calling you ugly. 

i think there is no such need 

for you to abuse your body 

with unhealthy routines 

that feed you just bad things

instead you making sure 

you’re feeling good and clean 

because the definition of pretty 

is forever ruined by somebody 

forever poisoned by jealousy 

because they cannot achieve 

your level of goddess-like beauty; 

i want you to water your flowers

and nurture them religiously. 

immerse yourself in nature 

and make use of the wasteland 

that exists between you 

and hundreds of fates. 

open the doors and the windows 

so that your temple can breathe. 

i want you to plant some trees

so you can harvest the fruit 

of your hard-earned labour, 

and savour the sweet, sweet taste 

of what it’s like to live on earth.

i want you to reflect underwater 

and fertilise the soils of your story 

so you can grow the colours

for the painting of your temple. 

***

 

To Be A Poem

by Lillian Lai Ruey Yee

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I have always been the type to bite my tongue-

To watch the way it wraps around my words and swallows them whole.

Holes and abysses of missed timings 

and things I should have said

And sentences I wish I could rewrite and 

rewrite and 

rewrite.

Surround myself with witty words until by proxy,

I, too, am a sentence.

I, too, was crafted to have more meaning than just 

a spit-slicked, flesh-and-bones sewed body.

More than paper mache:

shape and skin of a person,

a pin pricked balloon body,

All the parts of me I beseech myself to be.

You see, I long to be the poem instead of the poet.

I want to be written into stanzas of shifting moods, and spoken into existence-

How nice it must be to be carved into a caricature of beauty?

In poetry, even your pain can be picturesque:

You can paint your fears into a simile,

And plate your insecurities into consumable; bite-sized.

Into relatable, into just a little bit personal

But not too much, never too much.

I want to be just enough.

Just enough to fit into three minutes, or 300 words,

Or the same number of syllables in each line

Or telling the same story enough times

It starts to sound like it is worth something.

Somebody once told me, mouth set and spoken firmly:

“Poetry is not about the poet, it’s about the poem”

I don’t remember their face but 

I remember their words- verbatim.

Maybe if I am the poem,

If my skeleton   was the structure

If my blood were the way it flows off the page

If my skin were the words I never meant to say

But my breath were all the sentences I could rewrite and

rewrite and

rewrite.

If I am the poem,

Perhaps I will be enough.

***

 

Fleur De Lys

By Shay Azman

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Glass skin; chalcedony, 

Soft touch; warm as milk,

Smile still; sweet as honey,

Pale voice; songs of silk,

 

Eyes wide; dimmed yet hopeful,  

Thick roots; laced with ebony,

Modest frame; humble and faithful

Blush strokes of lilac stained peonies,

 

False tale of her fragility;

They’d say; Sing, grin but not loudly,

Twirl, spin, dance with agility, 

Pray, sin, but not proudly,

For there she was, a sight of a deity

In all the land, stood the tamest lily.

 

“Be my little flower; delicate and docile”

Where is the tenderness in your calling?

“Chin up, little flower, show a sweet smile,”

Why do I find you ever so appalling? 

 

Wait for me, stay with me, say to me;

“I am your flower”, 

How unfortunate it is he could not see,

I will not comply; And be your flower

Why is it that he had a say in what I was to be? 

This sense of foreign and undeserving power, 

He who knew nothing of me,

Though bright and docile, she was never a flower,

She was always a bee.

 ***

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