Labelled with a sticker on our lapels
dispatched from the hotel by taxi to the quay
our status as tourist recognised
we are personally escorted aboard the junk.
Encouraged by our Chinese lady captain
we help ourselves to coffee or coke.
Beyond the skyscraper surrounded harbour
ships anchor offshore in the South China Sea.
While passengers sit in plastic seats
or test their sea-legs on the swaying deck,
the captain reels off streams of statistics
stressing Singapore’s financial standing
over Hong Kong, its trading rival.
Past the shoreline of Sentosa,
the sky darkens; the rain comes down;
canvas curtains are lowered;
the deck awash,
we move bags onto chairs,
drift towards the drier, sheltered decks,
Braving the downpour,
at Kuso Island,
we run along the gangway,
through dripping trees
to the temple.
A television plays
in the kitchen
where a girl prepares food;
a snake slithers in a cage
by the shrine.
Incense mixes with the moistness.
in tee-shirts, sandals, shorts,
after the rain
sun soon steams us dry.
© Gerald England
Composed: Gee Cross, 28th June 2001
2006 Sons of Camus Writers International (Canada)
Taking a taxi back through time
3 months ago