Poems by the river

I was sitting by the Hippo River, just across Clark Quay (Singapore) watching boats pass by, and people also sitting by the river. Young couples, tired travellers having a short rest, and this young lady who seems to be waiting for someone... for the last 2 hours. 

I opened my book of poems by Nina Estrada (first published in 1959). Here is poem No. XVI

Wear high and proudly your defeat, my heart, 
Come, bare your wounds that those around may see
The triumphant banner of his victory.
With conquest swift, barbaric did he part
Your hesitating mouth, your virgin hair
Then pieced them all together with a kiss
That set them whole again. The magic this:
The new and old and one and yet compare;
The turbid past and luscent present see.
Where thirsty arms once mourned with weeping rain,
Now choirs of sunbeams sing but one refrain:
"Hosanna, Love! Behold! He loves but me."
How exquisite can willed surrender be
When it preludes a lover's victory.

Singapore, 2011 December 5


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