Amanda Chong is a lawyer trained in Cambridge and Harvard, who writes poems on her lunch breaks. A winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, her poetry has been engraved on the Marina Bay Helix Bridge and included in the Cambridge International GCSE syllabus.
She is interested in exploring themes of gender and power in both her poetry and academic writing, which has been published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.
Amanda is somewhat of a prodigy who wrote her first poem in kindergarten. By 16, she had a poem – Lion Heart – engraved on the steps of the entrance to the Helix Bridge.
Before reading the poem find out what the merlion stands for
You came out of the sea,
skin dappled scales of sunlight;
Riding crests, waves of fish in your fists.
Washed up, your gills snapped shut.
Water whipped the first breath of your lungs,
Your lips’ bud teased by morning mists.
You conquered the shore, its ivory coast.
Your legs still rocked with the memory of waves.
Sinews of sand ran across your back-
Rising runes of your oceanic origins.
Your heart thumped- an animal skin drum
heralding the coming of a prince.
In the jungle, amid rasping branches,
trees loosened their shadows to shroud you.
The prince beheld you then, a golden sheen.
Your eyes, two flickers; emerald blaze
You settled back on fluent haunches;
The squall of a beast. your roar, your call.
In crackling boats, seeds arrived, wind-blown,
You summoned their colours to the palm
of your hand, folded them snugly into loam,
watched saplings swaddled in green,
as they sunk roots, spawned shade,
and embraced the land that embraced them.
Centuries, by the sea’s pulmonary,
a vein throbbing humming bumboats –
your trees rise as skyscrapers.
Their ankles lost in swilling water,
as they heave themselves higher
above the mirrored surface.
Remember your self: your raw lion heart,
Each beat a stony echo that washes
through ribbed vaults of buildings.
Remember your keris, iron lightning
ripping through tentacles of waves,
double-edged, curved to a point-
flung high and caught unsheathed, scattering
five stars in the red tapestry of your sky.
Amanda Chong (1989-)
Dappled – spotty;
Sinews – the tissue connecting muscle and bone;
Runes – a type of lettering from old Germanic languages;
Squall – a sudden and violent gust of wind;
Pulmonary – a vein that transports deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs;
Keris – the curved sword from the Singaporean flag.
Task 1: Let´s discuss the poem together
Task 2: Watch the videos and prepare a poster which includes the following:
-Who is speaking?
-Did you note any descriptions? For each image, name the sense that is being appealed to.
-What is the theme?
-Literary devices? Effect?
-Personal opinion on the poem
Web Tools to create posters
Task3 Read the following essay on the poem: IGCSE essay on Lionheart
Do you agree? Is there anything you would add? Leave a comment in the blog.
Task 4 Write an essay (250-350 words) Due Date: Tuesday 10
This poem proudly describes Singapore. The poet cleverly uses the Merlion to symbolize the magnificence and pride of her home country. Comment closely on this.
This mindmap may help you.