Sunday, July 5, 2009


apsara, the first of them i saw
were trapped on the angkor wall
three hundred years of cold storage
with their blossoming bosom
that could carry your eyes through
a prism of pleasures given only
to the mighty kings who once lived here
so lonely they stood now in all the corridors
they sent shivers down my spine

apsara, the second time i saw them
was in the cultural theatre in seam reap
fair skinned ravishing damsels with voluptuous
physiques and high octaved songs lifting
the spirits of those from near and afar

they were children of old apsaras, nymphs who
nearly had their wings clipped by revolutionaries
but peservered to keep the steps of their triumphs alive
so that young apsaras can be born and stand tall on
mount meru again, churning the milk of creation
and sing their heart's content night after night
their costumes and dance steps were luxuriant, their
hands and finger graceful as butterflies, setting them
setting them apart from the Thais and Malay dancers

the third time, i saw the apsaras was at the Cham
Museum of Sculptures in Danang, fragments of an
enchanting and glorious past that had been torn apart,
torn apart like the temple stones, altars and pillars
where apsaras struggled to glimpse at the world,
their voluptuous physique and bosom entrancing as ever

john tiong chunghoo

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