Epiphany: A Collection of Poems

From our creative writers Shay Azman, Amirah Farzana, and Lynn Hor

Le Puissant Soldat

By: Shay Azman

“Grown from bulbs, lilies are perennial flowers that will return year after year and require minimal care, provided that you plant them in the right place.” 

Towering stature; unflinching,

Broad frames; protecting,

Coarse speech; commanding,

Crystal gaze; daunting.

False tale of his masculinity,

They’d say; guide, provide, and sustain,

Protect, contest; ‘tis his duty,

Lone and fore; his destined reign.

Ache and woe, but never proudly,

Suppress, disguise; lest you lose graces of the Lord.

For there he was, a sight of divinity,

In all the land stood the finest sword.

Fierce presence; haunting,

Warm grip; reassuring,

Imperious strides; vaunting,

Unwavering supremacy; exhausting.

“Be my great protector, powerful and mighty,”

Where is the tenderness in your calling?

“Sword high, great soldier, surrender is unsightly,”

Why do I find you ever so appalling? 

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

“I will be your soldier,” 

How unfortunate it is they could not see,

I will not comply; and be your soldier.

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

This sense of duty disguised as reward, 

 They who knew nothing of me,

Though fine and mighty, he was never a sword,

He was always a lily of the valley.


The Dance

By: Amirah Farzana

Untitled painting by Zakariah Noor (1960)

I. Love beyond your boundaries

I don’t want to scare you, darling,

By going in with a bang.

Don’t be pointing daggers now, honey.

We’ll move slowly, charm you with chivalry.

I’ll tear down the reigns of your past inside your head,

Leave you some pennies for my thoughts,

A souvenir, all yours.

Your eyes, dulled with abandon,

Your eyes, I polish, 

Your eyes, metallic. 

You seemed to be lost,

so I’ll guide you.

We’ll embrace, hold hands,

In the ballroom entranced, 

Your foot, my foot, 

Don’t pull the ropes loose.

As my mirror, move, 

Follow my groove, 

1 2 3 1 2 and

Raise up, and bow. 

I made you, saved you, 

Travelled seas just to kiss you!

But you said you’d leave me too,

Abandon the ballroom, abandon the groom, 

Make your own moves, go back astray.

Those noisy colours you wore,

Shades of darkness all over,

It was troubling you, I swore, I was 

The white knight of your dreams,

Carry you away, cease your sufferings, 

Give you a slate, pure as white, 

Our palace, our throne, our kingdom we call home.

Fine then, I’ll set you free if you tell me you’re ready,

Just surrender your daggers and I’ll wrap my guns.

I’ll sign off my embrace,

And I’ll leave you with my grace.

If you can’t find the solace you seek, 

And dream of seeing the stars that blink, 

Then follow the trail that leads to me,

From the Vault I buried, onwards ‘cross the sea. 

II. Building spring, bounded by winters and summers 

I found the trail of crusted blood, 

From the vault he buried, onwards ‘cross the sea. 

A chest of secrets, underneath the blanket of his story,

A batik stained with tea, and a sarong all muddy.

I dreamt of seeing stars,

The frozen frame of glitter dust falling, 

Amid endless carpets I explore with my eyes,

Dulling the ones that blink in the West,

The superstars on crimson carpets.

I could have set myself free,

If it weren’t for the ropes of his laws, 

Looped under the lull of an embrace,

And was held a threatening sharpness against my eyes,

He seemed to behold, yet his pupils dilated to hold. 

My solace was in the night, 

Yet there was a solace in my Self lost under his scrutiny.

Why was there a crushing weight in my head,

If not for the pennies I never needed, you planted?

If this was love, where all my barriers bulldozen,

Then I wonder what love could feel like,

When the ropes are released, and my Self I raise,

I start to wave, walk the path I myself pave,

Walk into the sun and leave the shade of your shadows and run,

Retreat into the wilderness within to make myself home,

Hear the birds sing, listen to my heartbeat while I build the spring, 

Orchids, Hibiscus, rainpour and beaches, 

Twirling through the vine filled forest underneath my skin, 

Not in search for another shell to belong in,

My own embrace, my own tune, my own colour; my longing. 

So I tore down the reigns of my past in my head, 

I buried new seeds, grown in rays and rain.

This land is my home, my mind is sanctuary,

Cease your treasure hunt for the desert of pennies, 

Explore the vein filled forest and the true treasures of your country.


自由

 zì yóu

By: Lynn Hor

“At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.”

― Christine Mason Miller

Honour; a forgotten and distant gaze,

Guilt; not an evident speck of trace,

Trust; a tumultuous wave creeping in the shadows,

Power; the only venomous scent a tyrant knows.

You hold the eyes of the devil,

Watching silently as her mind spirals.

You made the demons crawl from under her bed,

While you hide behind a menacing halo crowned on your head.

You give your love in doses,

Of vicious cries and sinister lies,

Your words run like honey, 

But they cut deeper than a hunter’s knife.

An intoxicating whirlwind; a travesty of love,

Coated with sugar for the prying eyes.

But close the curtains; shut the blinds,

Every nook and cranny laced with cyanide.

Her fingers trail down a blushing palm,

Her cheeks brush the bitter gale of two twin peaks,

Her skin bears the burn and sears in agony,

But her empty soul only knows this romance as warm and sweet.

Scarlet flags billowed; sirens wailed,

But they drown somewhere between your deceitful wiles.

Champagne flushed the pains of cherry wine spilled,

A glorious mess; no less than divine and swell.

Chambers in her heart beat in black and blue,

A crippling canvas painted in verbena and lavender hue,

Hung before these exhausted and splintered drywalls,

When will the ethereal angels hark her calls? 

She looked up to ask the heavenly beams of hope above,

“To flee in spite of fear; or yet again cower?”

It was never a question about love,

But one about control and power.

Her tears washed away the rosy tints to shore,

Flames of her rage devoured the shackles in her veins.

She wears her scars on her hollow sleeves; a lesson to carry,

Unraveled from the spectres fed to her mind; a past to bury.

This facade was built upon nothing but mirrors and smoke,

Otherwise a blissful tale; should it begin with trust and honesty.

She seeks the very first to the eleventh stroke,

Longing for a grasp of sanity; a taste of sanctuary.

The vast universe now awaits with her newfound valour,

Soaring beyond the woven napalm skies; she looks back nevermore.

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