Thursday 4 November 2021

Lisabelle Tay, "Pilgrim"

Lisabelle Tay writes poetry and fiction, often with a speculative bent. After completing her studies in English Literature at King’s College London, she returned to Singapore, where she now lives with her husband and son. Her story 'Surat Dari Hantu' recently placed first in the 2020 Dream Foundry short story contest. Pilgrim is her debut poetry pamphlet, and is published by The Emma Press.

About Pilgrim, by Lisabelle Tay

In her debut pamphlet, Lisabelle Tay leads the reader down through the underworlds of illness, motherhood and family histories. Lighting the way with her luminescent poems, the poet draws on Celtic, Classical and Chinese mythologies, appealing to the selkie, Eurydice, and Chang’e in turn as she seeks a path through the darkness – and back to the light.

Pilgrim depicts a journey and a return, moving from the expansive and mythological to the inward and personal. The pilgrim who left is not the pilgrim who returns …

The pamphlet is illustrated by Reena Makwana and printed in monocolour risograph at The Holodeck.

You can see more details about Pilgrim on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read two poems from the collection. 

From Pilgrim


Last night I dreamed of a garden on the moon
a stone rolled away, an empty tomb
a wall of violets dripping milk
a harvest of joy
Today I will pack my bags and start walking
pregnant Lazarus freshly woken
collecting dew in living gourds
bread falling from the sky
I will kiss my husband before I go
dust sleep from his clean-shaven face
then leave, slippery as an egg  

List of Things Beyond My Bedroom Curtains

A warrior cleaning her sword
beside a running river

Water off the tip of a wing

A cave full of immortals

Boats burning on the water

In the beginning God spoke summoning
to-the-light and to-the-darkness

A half-cracked shell

Morning and evening

White dew on the underside of a leaf

A gasp of air, something forgotten
now remembered

A bare kernel of deathlessness
sown silently at dusk

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