Commendable Awards

Senior Secondary

A visual representation of "Mama" by Akin Jeje

TANG Sze Wing
St. Mary's Canossian College

The poem, ‘Mama’, is obviously about the poet’s mother. Even with the setting sun, the endless ocean, and the vastness of the sky separating them, the poet still thinks about his mother a lot as he constantly keeps her updated on news around the world through text messages. In my drawing, the poet is small compared to his mother, echoing his feelings in the poem: his insignificance compared to the vastness of nature. However, his mother, the reader of stories of nature and life, is large; both in terms of his love for her and her size in the drawing. As the subject of the poem, she is as important as life itself to the poet. Yet, the colours I used for her are relatively dull compared to the blazing sunset behind her, reflecting the reality that she has passed her prime, and has fallen into the inevitable cycle of life.


The horned glasses –
tortoise-shell, bright and gleaming,
were all that remained
a shuffle rather than stride;
smooth cheeks caressed
into distant lands’
unknown planes, deep an’ wizened;
warm silica grin conceals
the barbs in back; the
varicose veins
brightly garbed
in uhuru caftan.

Of course, much has changed
for the one whose
baked cashew hue
resembles mine.

When I was a child, just before dark, she would
read baby Yemi and me
ancient tales of the mighty sun, the endless
earth, the brilliance of sky.

Now it is I
who sends these tales
in electronic blips
to an old woman

separated from i
the setting sun
an endless ocean
and the vastness
of the sky.

Akin Jeje

“Mama” was published in Smoked Pearl: Poems of Hong Kong by Akin Jeje, pp.21-22. Copyrights © 2010 by Proverse Hong Kong.