SELECTED POEMS

Going

I came to prepare you, my friend,
on your cancer downhill:
I say: “There is only one thing important.”
Yes, health, you say.

I came again
further down your hill:
I say: “There is only one thing important.”
Yes, family, you say.

Faces blur in your eyes,
Voices float in from far away,
Fingers on you feel
like tickle touch
on numbed meat.
And you dream
family and friends
long gone.

And I came again:
“There is only one thing important.”
What? What?
You do not know
cannot hear
cannot understand
cannot be sure
what next?
or nothing?

And suddenly you have no more time
to find out
anything.

You go.

Going for good is hard,
going for bad harder,
hardest of all:
don’t-know-what for sure.

by Goh Sin Tub
from Moments in a Singapore Life (1993)

 

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