The Civil Servants Picnic, by Joshua Ip

26 January 2013

in my big picture, only vampires quail
at stakeholder engagement, only knights
attend roundtables. only doves dovetail.
only a horse is harnessed, and makes strides.

a stovepipe smokes: a silo is for grain.
the wheel’s invented. doggies jump through hoops.
you need a roadmap when hor-lanned in spain,
a rollercoaster is kept in the loop.

but leave firefighting to the firemen.
let cashiers run change management. at noon,
we’ll close, leave a key thrust in every lock,
convene a picnic in the park with friends.
we’ll watch a lonely clown float his balloons
and eat low-hanging fruit out of the box.


This content is impossible to transcend in ‘high’ poetry – knock something that’s full of hollow language, and it will sound hollow. But it’s clever in it’s construction, and entertaining for all of those who already know they are guilty in their desk life, even as they try to avoid it. Poetry has many purposes – sometimes, this is just enough.

[Read in Sonnets from the Singlish, published by Math Paper Press.]


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