On p. 34, from the poem titled “West –> East”:
an old man sits in a crowded carriage
eyes quietly closed, waiting to reach
the end of his line,
I was holding on to Marc Daniel Nair‘s poetry collection with one hand, and steadying myself with the other whilst standing in the train carriage.
My wife asked me how I read a poetry book.
I looked at her with my poker face and said, “I try not to be interrupted”.
And I got a physical poke back.
Then more seriously, I explained to my wife that I’d read the poem once. Then read it again. The second time was for meanings between the lines.
To my unschooled mind, there are two aspects to Marc’s poetry. The obvious one was an “In-Your-Face” sensation that his words seem to convey. But prying for hidden nuances, I seem to detect a second more subtle aspect to his writing. The second layer made me constantly ask what the poet was thinking/ worried/ angry about, that sort of angle.
That’s the sort of poetry I like.
The kind that hints at what’s to come, or what has passed. Another layer in the undercurrents. Poetry of that sort makes me feel like I’m involved in the poem. Especially when I ‘Get’ it.
Some of Marc’s poems have that quality.
Although some I don’t to get the meaning (like “Nails”, p. 38: “knocking nails for thirty years/ knocking nails in your father’s house…”)
Most, I think I do.
(p. 38, “Ang Mo Kio”: “25 years in the same HDB flat/ is enough to wear down comfort…”)
This is one Singaporean poet whose words I can connect with.
Do check it out at your nearest public library.