Monday, December 20, 2010

My Heart Is Not Made For Goodbyes

Dear God. It has been a privilege bringing Your presence to the Sophia Girls' Home and to the youth camp in Jhapa. But why does it always have to be marred by the inevitable goodbye? Dear Lord, does it get any easier? We build these relationships, pour our love with these feeble tools you have given us: these words, these emotions and limitations of time. Is there no other way? My heart is not made for goodbyes.

Do we have to constantly have to shed these tears? As if they were rains and we were the fields; soaking up every drop so that we might bear these fruit? Am I the bastard farmer leaving no time for fallow? Always sowing and reaping, sorting and sifting. Shivering under the mint blue sky as the sun pulls back her glory. Why have You left us to find meaning in revealing what the world tries to hide? This collective beauty hidden in a bowl of dust, a valley of brown. All the while you gently speak, "Lift up the dusty leaves of these fruitless trees."

Dear Lord, watch carefully as one of them clings to me. As if afraid that I'd never return. As if I would leave when she wasn't looking. She pretends not to notice the cold when we join the older ones in the field beside the home. And when I grow tired of carrying her about, setting her down on the grass browned by the dry cold air, she wraps herself around my leg. I pry her arms off and encourage her to play with the other girls. She dances a little dance to hide her shivering limbs, laughing so hard that I'm almost convinced that this moment, was the best she's had in her life. All seven years of it.

We gather in their main hall for our final evening. And right on cue, the girls open up to us. There's nothing like the urgency of goodbyes to dispel shyness. We tell them we'll miss them and some of them say 'see you in six months!' as if we were the decision-makers. In my heart, I plead with God to make it happen. But my desperation is soon distracted by their last-minute photo requests. From the corner of my eye, I see Bersha, sweet-faced and sad, sitting by herself on a bench. She watches, almost overwhelmed, by the proceedings. We never get used to departures of those we are fond of. Those like her simply can't hide it as well as others. I offer a smile and my hand. She holds on to it like it was a precious jewel.

They thank us for the bags they have yet to receive. I keep reminding them that it is the people of Charis Methodist Church that love them and prays for them. I'm privileged. I just get the hugs. Dear Lord, I miss them so much.

Shut your eyes tightly
Clench your fists 'til they almost bleed
Cautiously, lightly
Gently expose what's underneath

And all you feel now
Is the scarlet in the day
Even if it's real
You can't stay...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love Revealed 2010 - Part 2

Don't Give
I (Daryl) work in a charity organisation where donations are crucial to the service to our beneficiaries. Very often, the term 'donor fatigue' comes up. This is where generous people like you become so inundated with so many requests for funds for so many different causes that it no longer is a joy to give. In this article, I'm supposed to be writing about our team's trip to Nepal on 3 - 12 December 2010. I'm supposed to write about how much we need to raise and I'm supposed to inspire Charisians to give generously.

Maybe the best thing to do is NOT to give.

Why am I asking you not to give? Because it can become quite a strain on the supporter in a missions-minded church like ours, especially during missions season in December. Maybe the best thing to do is to take a step back for a little while and pray. Allow God to inspire the joy to give. The last thing we want is become a burden to the church. I think the Apostle Paul explains this concept in his letter to the church in Corinth. (2 Corinthians 9)
He told them not to give reluctantly or under compulsion.
He understood that when we give cheerfully,
it allows God's Grace to abound in every good work.

In our last trip, we were invited to accompany the girls to school. This was a 20-minute walk away. The girls were as vibrant as always, joking among themselves, preening each other in preparation for school. School was a privilege for them and it seemed that they were all very aware of it. When we began our journey, I noticed that one of the girls had not properly zipped up her bag. As I moved closer, I saw that the zips were actually broken. (see pictures on reverse side) Looking around, I quickly spotted several bags that were in a similar condition. 

We have seen a need.
We would like to invite you to be part of the solution.

Ultimately, what we want is to translate the joy of your giving into blessing the ministry in Nepal. With your partnership, we seek to lift up the overlooked, the unloved, and the forgotten. We want to cause smiles and coax tears. We want to be there when their eyes light up when we tell them about Jesus. Do prayerfully consider if God has put it in your heart to support this ministry to meet the needs of the youth in East Nepal and the girls in the Sophia Home. We know that you will rejoice with us when you see the fruit of your giving.

. The Love Revealed Team .

Trip Information:
·         Daryl Goh, Samuel Teo, Gerald Wu, Jon Tang, Stefanie Oh, Georgina Tay, Elissa Oh,
·         3 – 12 December 2010
·         $7500 left to raise

Our involvement:
1.      Youth Camp for 60 youth in the Jhapa District in East Nepal
o   Facilitators in the games for youth camp
o   Teaching the youth a mass dance
o   Ministry (Prayer / Worship)

2.      Sophia Girls’ Home
o   Painting the walls of the common areas
o   Organising some activities and games
o   Doing devotions with them
o   Buying school bags for the girls

Ways to contribute:
  • Pray for our team
  • Giving cash or a cheque made out to cash;
  • Bank fund transfer to POSB savings account ###-#####-#
    *Do SMS the amount and reference number to Stefanie @ ########

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You Fought For Me

Most would begin with memories of growing up together. But by the time I had any recollection of you, you were already on the edge of adulthood. What I do remember is that we were roommates for a few years and our room smelled of girly things. Everything was pink. From the figurines of sheep, dolphins and precious memories dolls to the bedsheets. Most days, you would stare into the mirror putting on makeup, almost poking your eyes out with those pesky contact lenses.

And there were books everywhere. They were thick and the pages were brown. They never ever had any pictures and they smelled funny. I hated them. But when you weren't home, I would read because you were always engrossed in them. I thought that maybe, if I spent the same amount of time looking at the words it would work for me as well.

I was going into secondary 3 and my teacher said my results weren't good enough to get into the literature stream. I just didn't understand why they had to ask all those stupid questions about the characters when all we needed to do was enjoy the story. But you saw it differently. You barked at my teacher for not giving me a chance. You said you were an expert in Literature (always so humble) and you would ensure that I would do well for my exams. You said you would guarantee it. On hindsight, I'm glad I didn't get into that stream. They might have killed my interest for reading.

You used to be so aggressive. A forest fire or an avalanche. You might think that you've toned down. But I think you've gone from fighting loudly to fighting wisely. You choose your battles now, shaking your fists at the enemy - Ignorance, faithlessness and fear. But loving its victims back to wholeness. Most of the time I overhear stories about you. Whispers of how you inspire and how well you teach. How your name comes up when we are discussing who could serve up something to satisfy those who are hungry for the Word.

Most of all, I'm grateful for your consistency in pointing to Jesus. Thank you Jie Jie!
Happy Birthday, Lynette.

Monday, November 8, 2010

That You May Fulfill Every Resolve For Good

I’m a sucker for good stories. When I was a little kid, my dad would lie my head on his chest and weave worlds out of words. These were not fantasy or science fiction. These were worlds of children blazing through paddy fields, growing up with cows on farms, and adventures of bare feet. Maybe that is why I am drawn to Nepal. It is where the stories are fleshed out. It is where sight, sound and smell take imagination by the hand.

After this trip, I am convinced that the Love of God has to be demonstrated through the time spent building relationships. I am convinced that as we bless unconditionally, we allow for others to get a glimpse of God's character. And I am convinced that God uses us as an instrument to create opportunities for them to experience Him.

I will never forget the last night when the team prayed for all of us.
I could sense God’s presence so strongly in the hall that I broke into tears.
| 17 year old from the Sophia Girls' Home |

I love happy endings. They are the best things about stories. There is resolution. When our team went to Nepal in June this year, we were heavily involved in the youth camp and the praise festival. But as I said goodbye to the friends I made in the church in Nepal and the girls in Sophia Girls' Home, I couldn’t help feeling that this story wasn’t finished yet; that God still had more to say through us. That is why we are going back; to continue to bring the resolution of God’s Love.

Pray for us. That our God may make us worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in us, and we in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My First Haiku

i can't do haiku
its too short for me to write
i am too lor sor

- Daryl Goh

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Impossible Flights For An Interesting Light

Intrigue me with your silence. Your mysterious mannerisms. Information classified in your eyes, prized, disguised like spies. I am six secret numbers to decipher you. Or a wicked crooked crowbar to try and pry you. If you were an open heart. I would hang around you like a heavy coat, thick like a heavy haze after a heavy rain. 

Tread lightly, I hear You say. But fragile finds me forceful. Brittle yet I bend. A heavy heaving man spent. You are tender petals and I am clumsy fingers, patent brutality, Wretched caveman.

Your smile is patient. Pardon this awkwardness. I am still getting used to this pretense. We are by the water so walk with me. The reflections grow brighter with the lights of the city. Little sparks dip and rise when we meet. A kind of quiet sharpening. Gentle like the touches of my sleeve on your skin, lingering just a little while. Just enough for you to listen now. For you to long for the long haul. But then I begin to fold, doubt takes hold.  Then I am unsure. Then I disappear.

- Daryl Goh

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've Been Dirtier Than You'll Ever Know

I am not a ripple-making rock thrown into the pond of eternity with my significance fading away as it gets further from me. I am a mighty meteor crashing into the middle of the ocean. You are terrible tranquility and I'm here to tsunami your psalm trees and shake up your sandy beaches, your obsession with the sin-ery.  God's thoughts toward you are countless like the sand. You were meant to build castles and kingdoms, not number them. Consider the time that each grain represents, as it slips away through the hourglass of eternity. Tell me. These words. Don't you love these words? Don't you love their sound, their comfort. How they never expect anything except your satisfaction? You could never afford this. You have never paid your dues. We are never easy. And yet we are prostitutes; Why did you let them throw pigs among pearls?

Tighten your hold. Vice-like grip.
This dagger would never slip.
Blade blaze. Already blasé
from the taste of blood.
Must possess beauty. Must mark it.
Exist only in memory.
Dagger's tip and Masterpiece must meet
First lightly. And slowly.
Fingers fleet over terrain; Over dreams slain.
Feel destruction in every crater,
As flesh gives way to steel, to lead,
To voices in your head.
Where perfection retreats.
Left hand stabs. Right inspects.
Soon we're playing five-finger fillet.
One-two, one-three, one-four, one-five, one-six
Two-six, three-six, four-six...
Sooner or later you'll be playing butcher.
Squeeze me. What did you expect to see?
Tear out these veins and see worship stain the pews.
Go ahead and stare. Make a scene.
Scream and call it horror.
The greater horror are the millions dying slow deaths
in buildings we call places of worship
Playing a game called religion.

- Daryl Goh

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Home Was A Gift Of God

back then, where you lived was where you were alive
and you climbed trees, you could touch the sky
back when houses hid behind garden forests and felt safe,
when homes were families,
not masterpiece monuments of brick and glass,
to flaunt prestige and class.

the mailbox hung proud upon the gate.
letters went in the slot,
the newspaper in the cylinder on top
and life was that simple
because everything was where it was supposed to be.
the gate was rusty red with diagonal grills,
which made it tricky to climb.
every contact left a mark,
guilty like bloodstains.
evidence that revealed your rebellion
simply because dad demanded it locked.

you could sit beside it and count cars
as they cruised by,
when mom and dad left for school to become
other children's parents.
one day they would put you in a bus for your first day of school
you fought them as long as you could
but those arms weren't strong enough.
you exhausted them the evening before
as you stood in the driveway trying to fly away
wishing to the stars that could be seen
from this city of meritocracy,
telling them to take you away,
while a rolling tear cries 'no!'
and your 7 year old heart resolves to never grow old,
to never grow cold, to never withhold.

and some wishes do come true
and while you stood in that driveway
behind a rusty red gate
of a house on a hill
on a road of jasmine
a voice above your head will say
you are
in the right place;
you are a gift of God.

- Daryl Goh

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wait For Her

With an azure drinking cup studded with lapis, wait for her
In the evening at the spring, among perfumed roses, wait for her
With the patience of a horse trained for mountains, wait for her
With the distinctive, aesthetic taste of a prince, wait for her
With seven pillows stuffed with light clouds, wait for her
With strands of womanly incense wafting, wait for her
With the manly scent of sandalwood on horseback, wait for her
Wait for her and do not rush.

If she arrives late, wait for her.
If she arrives early, wait for her.
Do not frighten the birds in her braided hair.
Wait for her to sit in a garden at the peak of its flowering.
Wait for her so that she may breathe this air, so strange to her heart.
Wait for her to lift her garment from her calf, cloud by cloud.
And wait for her.

Take her to the balcony to watch the moon drowning in milk.
Wait for her and offer her water before wine.
Do not glance at the twin partridges sleeping on her chest.
Wait and gently touch her hand as she sets a cup on marble.
As if you are carrying the dew for her, wait.
Speak to her as a flute would to a frightened violin string,
as if you knew what tomorrow would bring.
Wait, and polish the night for her ring by ring.
Wait for her until Night speaks to you thus:
There is no one alive but the two of you.
So take her gently to the death you so desire,
and wait.

| Mahmoud Darwish - A Lesson From The Karma Sutra |

A poet of global significance. A writer formed in the crucible of migration and asylum, he powerfully evokes his experiences in poetry and prose that transcend time and place, drawing on collective memories of loss and longing, and expressing the mutuality of trauma and desire for peace.

Born in Palestine in 1942, he suffered two violent expulsions and spent more than 26 years in exile in Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Tunisia and France before being able to settle in Ramallah where he now lives. His highly acclaimed publication Leaves of Olive was published in 1964. His poems reveal the struggle to assert a sense of belonging and identity, and his prose masterpiece Memory For Forgetfulness (1982) powerfully evokes the experience of forced exile.

Mahmoud Darwish has published more than 30 collections of poetry and prose, and his work has been translated into 35 languages. He is the founding editor of the highly regarded literary review Al Karmel which fosters intercultural debate on intellectual issues and links Arab writers with the international literary community.

Friday, August 6, 2010

You Have Stolen My Heart  (updated for submission)

Calling unpublished poets: Firstfruits publications seeks submissions of poetry in English from Singapore poets who have yet to publish a full-length, single-author collection of poetry. Selected work will appear in an anthology to be published next year. All submissions must be sent before 1st September 2010.

there will be a void when i leave.
a void that follows me when we are apart.
you plugged it whenever I saw you or heard you or held you.
otherwise, i am a leaky bucket.

every time i stand in front of you
to sing or speak, my heart beats
so fast, i stare out this glass, its audition day.
scream to the world, impress me, please!
show me something great,
be the risk i cannot take.
and for those moments i am powerful.
i am commander and you,
you are my century.
and in each one, endless possibility.

but from where i stand, all i see is
a single highlight in her hair.
my eyes are drawn, they seem to like that blond
frame for her face.
she is a picture i could hang on my bedroom wall
so every morning i will see her and remember.
she is like deep breaths.
sooner or later i've got to let her go.
so i give up her ghost.
the one that tells me - the ones who love you matter most.

what about the ones i love?
what about those thieves pretending to be precious angels?
eyes haunt me every night.
she fights me to keep my promise.
she writes we love you in their little notes
torn out from her copy books.
we because i wouldn't be appropriate.
it would be too intimate.
let me love you, at that age it is pure.
innocent like hanging between two thieves.
like holding you as your tears soak my sleeves.
holding your little body,
between your chest and your belly,
it fits my palm perfectly.
how did you hide my heart in there?

my heart is with you.
it was cold. shivering.
wanting to beat for someone or something,
and you, you have warmed it with your smile and your song.
your arms are the arms of real women, loving yet strong.
your eyes are fiery jewels, filled with intelligence and honor, just burn on.

remember that God is in every inhale and exhale.
he is in you. around you. with you.

look at your hands.
they may be tiny, but they are perfect.
hold them up to the sky.
see the sunlight shine through the gaps and know,
these are God's hands.
they gather and give, always gather and give.
and when there is nothing to gather.
when the clouds hold themselves in
and the fields are naked.
remember that these are God's hands.
creator hands meant to touch and transform,
hold and heal,
revive and restore.
be fearless and they will prosper you.

do you know you are marvellous and beautiful?
do you know you are meant for something great?
do you know how precious you really are?
do you know how much you're loved?
you must know this.
you must feel it,
experience it
every time you sing or pray,
shout or play.
do you feel it in you?
i do.

but tell me: how did you fit my heart in there?

- Daryl Goh

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Slipping In Between You And Your Big Dreams

Calling unpublished poets: Firstfruits publications seeks submissions of poetry in English from Singapore poets who have yet to publish a full-length, single-author collection of poetry. Selected work will appear in an anthology to be published next year. All submissions must be sent before 1st September 2010.

on the seventh day, when God was resting
when he was sure no one was looking,
he reached in and pulled parts of himself,
lit from the embers of his heart.
fit between pinched fingers,
sprinkled into lines singled,
licked the ends so it would stick,
rolled into a cigarette.

drawn out puffs, calming this child,
long hard drags, quieting this hell.
i barely even notice the smell,
the life-giving breath just overwhelms
my eyes follow the rising smoke, down to this cylinder,
my sight leaps like salmons against the flow of the river.
he brings me in, burning these sins
you'll never see such destruction.
(normally this structure is damaged but not the foundation)

i see him bent over and brittle
hunched with hands over head
the lashes latch on, his back spurts passion
while he mutters again and again
the sacrifice makes it sacred

the sacrifice makes it sacred

the sacrifice makes it sacred...

and you catch a sliver of a smile against the darkness,
let out a breath kept since creation,
these tears chart a path across blood stained cheeks
past the lips gently nursing that cigarette
would you ever go toe to toe with a terrorist
ever one-on-one with a broken fist
you wouldn't even leave for groceries
without the sure and sacred shopping list
and yet we try to navigate life like this.

i hear God yelling,

- Daryl Goh

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So Open My Eyes

I have been busy these couple of weeks and my mind is constantly on the responsibilities of my work. The past week has been unusually draining with preparations for the Tree of Life display at the Singapore Garden Festival. But in moments when I'm alone, sitting in the train or walking home, I imagine that I am back in Nepal. Suddenly the seat I am on is no longer contoured for comfort. The path which I am walking on is no longer concrete. Instead, sand and dust is kicked up behind me. A signal of where I've been. The traffic, just inches beside me, blares its musical notes, spewing black smoke. Like those jazz musicians.

I remember one of the nights when Pastor S was driving us back from the Sophia Home. He mentioned that he was going to pray for a family. We heard that their child was feverish and the parents were afraid. Charmaine and I decided that we should go to visit because we knew them as well.

The father recognised us immediately and was grateful. He was the lead singer and guitarist in a Christian rock band and being a performer, he was used to a different kind of attention. Suddenly, we became royalty in their house. They gave us drinks and talked to us, and tried to make us feel special.

I asked myself. Why the big fuss? We are only here to pray for you.

And my God rebukes me. To you, it is just prayer. To them, it is healing and salvation for their child. It is their only hope. This is why you don't see Me working more often. Because you think it is just prayer. You need to magnify me, Daryl.

When we prayed, I laid my hand on the father, the head of the household. Compassion flowed and we both knew he had received an anointing for his family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You Have Stolen My Heart

Thieves with the faces of angels. That's what they are.

These girls have been such a joy to be with. We spent two days painting the activity room at the Sophia's Home and what I really looked forward to was their reactions. Seeing the girls walk in through the door, greet us with a convincing Jayamercy! (a greeting that means Victory to God) and their eyes would grow and glisten in the wonder of seeing the mural that we painted.

Watching them play and run about brought a deep sense of peace and joy, as if God was showing us how simple it is to enjoy life.

There will be a void when I leave.
A void that follows me in my heart when we are apart.
You plugged it whenever I saw you or heard you or held you.
Otherwise, I am a leaky bucket.

Do you know you are marvellous and beautiful?
Do you know you were meant for something great?
Do you know how precious you are?
Do you know you are loved?
You must know this.
You must feel it, experience it everytime you sing or pray, shout or play.
Do you feel it?

I do.

My heart is with you.
It was cold. Shivering.
Wanting to beat for someone or something,
And you, you have warmed it with your smiles and your songs.
Your eyes are fiery jewels, burning with intelligence and honor.
Your arms, arms of real women, loving yet strong.

Remember that God is in every inhale and exhale.
He is in you. Around you. With you.

Look at your hands.
They may be tiny, but they are perfect.
Hold them up to the sky.
See the sunlight shine through the gaps and know,
These are God's hands.
They gather and give, always gather and give.
And when there is nothing to gather.
When the clouds hold themselves in
And the fields are naked.
Remember that these are God's hands.
Creator hands meant to touch and transform,
Hold and heal,
Revive and restore.
Be fearless and they will prosper you.

- Daryl Goh

Monday, May 31, 2010

This Photograph Is Proof

I'm living in a story that proves that when God calls, we don't have to worry. I have spent the last decade learning to trust God to provide. He always has. Maybe not the way I would have liked it but He always made things work out. Learning about Faith in bible school strengthened that desire to live like the heroes of faith. I had requirements for God though. I told Him that He had to provide for me and I wouldn't ask for any financial help from my family.

I was working part-time, at one point with two jobs, so as to support myself. Money was still tight though. There was one night, near the end of my shift at a Christian bookshop, I discovered that I had no money in my wallet, my farecard was empty and I had less than 6 dollars in my bank. I was contemplating borrowing money from the bookshop's cash register but that would have been really difficult to explain. I even thought of the possibility of walking home from the city, but that would mean I would get home too late to wake up for bible school the next morning.

So I prayed and worried, and prayed and worried. And gradually the worry faded away. There wasn't any solution but peace seemed to override every other emotion. About 20 minutes before my shift ended, my brother called me up. He was 'in the area' and asked if I needed a lift home. There is a difference between faith and pride. God takes pleasure in one and distances himself from the other. Faith believes for help, pride turns it down when it doesn't look like what you expected. I readily agreed to the lift.

Deep down, I longed to be able to rely on God like the heroes of faith did. Like George Mueller, or Smith Wigglesworth or like my grandfather. And I would ask God, 'Is faith for the poor? Can I not learn faith if my family is middle class?'

God must have smirked.

And so I quit my part-time job to focus on the last year of my bible school. It was financial suicide. But even when things made no logical sense, God always came through. Meals were paid for, people gave me lifts to school and home so I saved on bus fare. I made it till the end of bible school. I found a job 2 weeks after the last day of school at Christian Outreach to the Handicapped and I've been working there for just over 2 years.

I have a diploma in Information Technology. The job market suggests that I can earn up to $3000 in the IT sector. But that would mean that I would be doing something that I did not enjoy. I wanted to go into Mass Communications back in my polytechnic days and I would have if I were confident enough. My results were good enough and I passed the written test. If only I could answer the questions during the interview. I froze because of insecurity.

Incidently, my friend wanted to get into the same course later on. He borrowed photographs that I took on a trip to Israel to use in his 'portfolio'. He was handsome and smooth. I wanted to write. Get into journalism, advertising and media. He wanted to get to know the chicks. The last I heard, he had become an air steward. Probably for the same noble reason.

He got in. With my photographs.

Well, more than 10 years later, I find that I'm learning to use what I love, in my work. I write, I photograph, I create simple advertisements and I use social media to promote my organisation. Communications. God has a great way of bringing you to your calling.

I'm planning a missions trip. Its happening this Thursday for 3 weeks.
It started out with just 2 people unsure if they could go. Now we have a team of 6 who will not be stopped.
It started with zero finances and a missions policy that would not support our team members. Now we are only 500 dollars away from the budget and a product sponsorship worth thousands of dollars from an internationally reknown cosmetics company.

God is good if we let Him be. If we allow Him the opportunities to fulfill His promises.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Love For What You Hide Is Growing Like The New Born

Dedicated to the most beautiful birthday twins that I know.
Lysandra and Lavinia.

Hide. Hide behind these words
They are a shield for my ego, my precious ego,
easily bruised and so sensitive.
You could fill it until it stretches and grows
and yet it would fit in one clenched hand
like a single gold dollar
of a boy in a video game arcade.
And that boy would wander,
looking at every screen, every ticket-spitting machine
wishing he could win some meaning.
He would ask, what drives you in this place?
And shrill alarms bells and spinning flashing lights
would reply and he would never know
if they were the answer or the distraction.

I know two women,
born nine minutes apart
Their eyes are strong,
nourished and trained;
But unlike the twenty-something executive with a gym membership,
meaningless repetition with polished metal and black numbered weights.
No. Picture the labourer in the humidity,
carrying a thick stink, covered in the raw sheen of perspiration
his muscles the by-products of actual labour, straining with purpose.
See life's necessity chiseled into these women's faces.
They have never backed down,
I believe they don't know how.

Pride props up her chin.
Confidence her second skin
She dresses dangerously.
No one is safe, especially not me
Her smile is oil,
rare, precious, fueling my moods
Diamonds highly desired
and yet unaffordable.

Win all the attention and affection in the room
Send ripples down their spines
with your laughter, like bells rejoicing,
like peace from a mountain stream
Everything will be alright
because you are here, you are happy.
You are the reminder of hope.

- Daryl Goh

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blind Faith Revolutions That I Can Watch But Hate The Sound

We are always trying harder,
Crying out for more committment, demanding discipline.
But the problem is we've never
come to the end of our own effort.
Am I a failure because
I refused to live disciplined?
Because I rebelled?
Or could I somehow have become a believer too?

I'm sorry Johnny,
I'm not great like you
I cannot do what you've done
I cannot write hymns and I haven't started a movement.
Hey Suzy, could it be
you spent all that time
in the meeting rooms and under the tables, simply because
you wanted to be near daddy?

We've unwound this red tape
and entangled our heart
We've used it to blindfold compassion
no wonder our love got lost.
They tell us to pray for revival
But recognise that I've been living
my revival for a decade now
And it started with failure.

- Daryl Goh

You Can Do Amazing Things With A Fifth A Third

One-fifth One-third ain't bad. At the end of the poetry writing month, I have written 9 poems. 9 out of 30. I wish I had more time and more inspiration but I am somewhat satisfied at what I've managed to achieve. Anyway, this is the most I have ever written in a month.

I should try again after the missions trip in June.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Closer by Anis Mojgani

come closer.
come into this. come closer.
you are quite the beauty. if no one has ever told you that before know that now. you are quite the beauty. there is joy in how your mouth dances with your teeth. your mouth is a sign of how sacred your life truly is. come into this. true of heart come into this. you are true of heart. come closer. come closer. know that whatever God prays to He asked it to help Him make something of worth. He woke from His dreams scraped the soil form the spaces inside Himself made you and was happy. you make the Lord happy.
come into this.

come closer.
know that something softer than us but just as holy planted the pieces of Himself into our feet that we might one day find our way back to Him. you are almost home.
come closer come into this. there are birds beating their wings beneath your breastplate gentle sparrows aching to sing come aching hearts come soldiers of joy doormen of truth come true of heart come into this.
my heart was too big for my body so I let it go and most days this world has thinned me to where I am just another cloud forgetting another flock of swans but believe me when I tell you my soul has squeezed into narrow spaces. place your hand beneath your head when you sleep tonight and you may find it there making beauty as we sleep as we dream as we turn over when I turn over in the ground may the ghosts that I have asked answers of do the turning kneading me into crumbs of light and into this thing love thing called life. come into it!

come you wooden museums
you gentle tigers
negro farces in two broken scenes.
come rusting giants!
I see teacups in your smiles upside down glowing. your hands are like my heart. on some days how it trembles. let us hold them together. I am like you. I too at times am filled with fear. but like a hallway must find the strength to walk through it. walk through this with me. walk through this with me. through this church birthed of blood and muscle where every move our arms take every breath we swallow is worship.
bend with me. there are bones in our throats. if we choke it is only on songs.

- Anis Mojgani
(Check out his blog for his 30 in 30.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

#9 I Heard A Voice Through The Discord

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

Do you hear these clashing chords?
That is us and the noise we make.
But a single note played indefinitely
can stir up these strange feelings
draw us out like water from a well
from the darkness of this prison we've created
This personal hell

For many, music is a mystery
It is the next bend in the coastal route
or a birthday present in the middle of a room
A plunging neckline or an infant's cry.
Women's shoes or a quiet sigh
So the search for another note begins,
the key to this melody, come sing with me

We are all notes on a keyboard
clashing, shoving, struggling to be heard
But there is a Pianist who plays
and beauty spills like blood
and fingers flow like water
and dissonance turns into a delicate sonnet
with gentle rhythms

We blend, becoming one
our purpose is found, our dream fulfilled.

-Daryl Goh

#8 In The Back Of My Mind A Voice Speaks, Spells Out The Master Plan

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

It grates against me like singing a different key
A half beat slower and way too loud
It isn't natural, this restriction
Its wrong like a broken finger on a fretboard
It drains me more than when you have to dissect a song,
Tearing it apart with these hands, desecrating it before they understand.
Why not let the song lead you? Listen to what it has to say?
Let it into your heart and out again
Let it show you what to play.
Because some songs are weapons loaded with the right words
So sing what needs to be heard

We've branded truth as selfish pride
And pride often exists in the shadows, in solitude.
And sometimes humility is called into the spotlight
where they are crucified and cursed for the attention they receive
Some callings require a sacrifice of fame or fortune
On some days, that might just be easier then having to embrace it.

- Daryl Goh

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

#7 Gravity Release Me And Don't Ever Hold Me Down

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

These hands, my greatest weapons
They will be great
I know this
I have heard it said
These hands, meant for service
they know how to imitate
They learn in different ways
They play so they can learn to create

Give me more chances to fail without being a failure
to learn where they would not humiliate
let us remove these barriers
and if we cannot then let them depreciate
so that they are no longer a hindrance
let knowlege permeate
and give these hands,
these creator hands, a chance to be great.

- Daryl Goh

#6 You're Mistaken For Someone Who Cares

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

Can we try something for just a moment?
Let us be different
we'll swim upstream find out what it's like
What it's like to have your whole world against you
Like hands holding back a flailing assailant
Jealous of the direction, desperate for failure

Try this:
Fold up your compassion, put it in your shirt pocket
keep it close to your chest,
but keep it hidden, keep it secret
Think of only yourself. Be selfish.
Sacrifice nothing, give nothing.
Love no one.

Do it intentionally and realize the effects
spread like disease
or radioactive waste.
Will anyone be able to tell the difference?

- Daryl Goh

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

#5 Making My Heart Feel Sore

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

my primary school friend added me in facebook today
and through his friends, i found another classmate.
she was the only girl i really remember from primary school
we hardly talked even though we were in the same class
she was royalty and i, i was shy.
we would wait together at the shelter beside the gate for our parents to pick us up after school
that was "us" time.
i would show her how brave I was by jumping into the drain beside the school gate
almost climbing into the darkness to come out the other side
but i wouldn't dare.
i would tell her about giant spiders with glowing red eyes that were in my path
red eyes meant they were poisonous.
she believed me for 2 days,
and then she jumped in herself to see.
she came out the other side and declared that the spiders were gone.
i fell in love and shame...
her dad's car was bigger than my dad's
i think it was white
and it would whisk her away
i haven't seen her since
there's a guy and a child in her display photo
and a dull ache in my heart

- Daryl Goh

Sunday, April 4, 2010

#4 She Moves In Mysterious Ways

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

Culture is a thief and a prince,despised for his crimes, yet adored for his rugged charm
His silhouette, strong in the dawn of a new day, adds to the mystery, and they worship him
Revolution is an elegant dancer, always with an open invitation to join her delicate dance of time
to move in step to the rhythms of change

She is shunned, maybe even feared
In the proud world of their shallow minds, their envy turns to hate
They ridicule the story she longs to tell
Her movements restricted because she is bound
And she is battered by the fists of their stares
Bruised by heavy criticism, thrown like stones

He watches from beyond the crowd
wanting to come to her aid
but their desperate hands keep him away
their frantic cries prevent him from being heard

Let us handle this, let us defend your honor
We serve you and love you
We will discipline her and teach her some respect
This is how it is supposed to be

He shakes his head,
His eyes dark, hard to make out
This is not what I wanted
This is not how it is supposed to be

She is hard to look at now, a bundle of shame
Just a glimpse, a glistening of tears
a glance which looks a lot like forgiveness.
Tomorrow she will nurse these wounds
She will bind them up, put on a smile
and she will dance as if pain was never felt

- Daryl Goh

#3 Be Careful How You Frame Your Argument

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

I sit alone in this café.
The cheap fake wood that lines these walls
Covered with lines and lines of words that make no sense.
The lull of the evening crowd punctuated by explosions of laughter
I hide safe, shielded from distractions by a mug of Chai,
pushing thoughts, twisting them as they flow
from my mind to will, to the pen on paper.

I summon confidence and creativity,
I wield them like a scalpel in a surgeon's hands.
But I'm not used to their cold precision.
And yet I ready my pen as if to make the final incision.

Possibilities stack up like a deck of cards,
and I remember the conversation with the Queen of hearts
I remember the heat of the day spilling over into the heat of her words
An angry red painted on an angry face
Forgetting for a moment that we were all hearts.
That we were all on the same side.

What consequences are left to be carried?
Her raw, rude gestures, suddenly drastic.
As if deliberate, as though practiced,
The fury of words released like a rehearsed script,
The delivery perfect. Brutal. Award-winning.

I never stood a chance.

- Daryl Goh

Friday, April 2, 2010

#2 Go Do

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

There is a song I have in me
And I stayed up all night to sing it
I won't leave unless you're with me
Could that just be procrastination?
I could pretend that I didn't hear
That I was unaware of this call, this undying call
That I'm not made for here, not meant to stay

My heart is painted with envy, slapped on thick and heavy
When I see others go before me,
It makes me wish I knew how
Makes me wish I was there now
Makes me wish I could go do
Make these wishes come true

- Daryl Goh

#1 A Revolution Has Begun

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. This is my attempt at 30 poems in 30 days.

A revolution has begun today for me inside, the ultimate defense is to pretend
I let these words reverberate within me
I repeat them like a child discovering echoes for the first time.
There are love songs, their lyrics like the texture of a well-made suit
They wrap around shoulders like a lover's whisper

Our purpose and our passions press down
Words are wheels, carrying the weight
After all, our pretense sprouts from fear
We all fear.
Or we all lie.

We accuse the Revolutionary of stirring up the people
As if pointing to dreams and fuelling the pursuit of vision was a crime
God is light and we are afraid of being exposed
He is seen but He is not understood
We prefer our flaws kept hidden in the shadows
Why do we keep crucifying Salvation?
Does what has always been mean that it should always be?
Separate these heavy expectations
They are beyond me

- Daryl Goh

Friday, March 19, 2010

Discover The Dusk Of Your Day Has Turned To Dawn

Something doesn't sync. I wish I could figure it out but I cannot pinpoint the cause. People tell me, "No one has it all figured out. That's what life is for isn't it? "

Isn't it?

I think life should be more than a struggle to stay in balance, trying to avoid one extreme or the other. We forget that God IS the spectrum; our characters and personality are all from Him. He exists and owns it all. He is anger and justice and judgement. He is Love and forgiveness and pardon. At the same time.

The problem is He is the spectrum and we have no idea how to embrace it all. 

As I said before, I've been out of sync. As much as I am able I'm remaining faithful with what ministry I've been assigned to. I've served in my church almost all my life. I throw my life into my work at Christian Outreach to the Handicapped. I throw my life into the Worship Ministry in my church. I throw my life into the Youth Ministry in church. I've been giving and serving from the overflow of what God has given to me.

But lately, its not been fulfilling.

I feel a little bit betrayed lately. I feel my heart is a little bit raw. Like a prime cut, beaten pink, and ready for the heat. People are not the cause. There is a underlying reason for all this frustration. A desire that has not been met, a path not travelled, a direction mistaken. Where did I veer off?

Andrew Loh was preaching about my favourite passage in John chapter 4 recently. It was about Jesus when He met the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus was alone because the disciples had all gone to buy food. Andrew then made a little observation, "Why did it take 12 disciples to go and buy lunch? Maybe the food was really heavy!"

And there was my revelation and it hit me hard. Like the 12 disciples, we get so caught up in life. We're struggling so hard, arguing with one another about which is the best way to buy lunch. We've abandoned Jesus. We aren't where the miracles are happening. That is my frustration. I'm letting life entangle me with its meaningless squabbles.

Lift up your eyes! I want to be with Jesus.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tears Don't Fall For No Reason At All

I couldn’t sleep last night. After the weekly ritual of season 9 of American Idol, I went back to my room and lay there while thought after thought, person after person coursed through my mind. This is not normal. I don’t usually have trouble sleeping. I’m not that kind of person. In army, I held the record for getting some shuteye during our brief breaks. It didn’t matter that we weren’t allowed to sleep on the beds. The floor was clean, cool and welcoming. We only had 15 minutes for ‘admin time’? Didn’t matter, I was out in 15 seconds.

I don’t usually have trouble sleeping.

But last night, I did. I lay there trying to figure out why? Was it the excitement of watching the shrewd and talented Didi Benami, American Idol Contestant - and in my opinion, season 9 champion - get into the final 24? No. Was it the coffee and milo mix I had in the morning in the office? No.

It had to be the anguish of going through another round of silent questioning during the Lunar New Year visitations. Their eyes giving away their revulsion of handing a twenty-seven year old yet another red packet. Grand Auntie Gladys encapsulated it beautifully when she lovingly looked at me, the words sweet yet stinging.
No girlfriend yet? Why not?
Her tone revealed that she was puzzled at the absurdity of it.
How could you not be attached? Such a wonderful boy.
At least it made me feel slightly better. But that wasn’t it either.

I was staring into the darkness trying to summon the sleep. But it just kept slipping away. And then it hit me. Wave after wave after wave of frustration, disappointment, anguish and loneliness. I closed my eyes but it didn’t help.

I’m in the wrong country, the wrong job, the wrong church. I’m chasing the wrong girls; I am the wrong kind of guy. I have the wrong ambitions and dreams. I’m living in the wrong house with the wrong people.

There it was, all laid out. Fair enough, it was truth mingled with lies, but it was all real and it could be felt. The tears started to flow. It was quiet, tired tears. The kind that cannot be stopped, even if your eyes were closed. Like dew dripping off the edge of a leaf, the moisture being coaxed from the heavy morning air.

If there's one thing I've learnt, its this. Everytime a new wave of depression tries to bring me down proves that there is greatness around the corner and I must not get distracted. Tears may signify sorrow and sadness, but they also mean hope and promise for those who wait.

My sister shared this on her blog. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.
She also messaged me this morning saying that she had prayed for me in the night. Sometimes, that is all that is needed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This Is The New Year

Many people take time to reflect when they come to a new year and I am one of them. We proudly bring our acheivements to light, while we desperately try to hide failures and regrets. Here is a humourous definition of the word 'reflection'.

An action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter.
| Ambrose Bierse - The Cynic's Word Book |

As with all good humour, there is always an element of truth in it. Sometimes, on reflection, we cultivate fear instead of drawing the positives from the experience. We say of the pain of the failed relationship, "I'm not going to do THAT again," when instead, we need to keep reminding ourselves to pour out love. We need to recalculate the equation that says that rejection equals failure. Or that the fizzling out of a movement meant that it was a mistake.

No. The opportunity for change and resolution look like splashes of colour on canvas, the visionary artist trying to emphasise each stroke. As if to say you have more chances if you didn't get it right the first time around. Well, this is my attempt to make sense of 2010. To take the 28th year of my life and live it for others.

To Owe Ten.
This is the goal for 2010. Based on Romans 13 verses 8 and 14, which basically tells us to owe nothing except Love. The act is simple. Find 10 people who need to be shown unconditional Love, Extravagent Love, Ridiculous Love. Because Love fulfills. Its time we paid up our debts of Love.