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Malaika Okundi

on 3 June 2015

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Transcript of Lion Heart BY AMANDA CHONG

Done By Malaika And TAnvi
The spirit of the country is the mythical beast, mer-lion. The poet describes it as rising from the oceans and striding ashore holding in its fists the catch from the sea. The mer-lion had scales on its lower body that shone like burnished metal. The sand made markings on its back that looked like some historical writing that supplied proof of its oceanic origins. The animal’s heartbeat rang across the island like the beat of a drum. The forests in the island gave the animal shelter and refuge. Confident, the animal settled down in the island. Soon people from other parts of the world came attracted by the opportunities in this island nation. The mer-lion welcomes the people and they prosper. The fertile land sprouts plants and skyscrapers but through all this runs the spirit of the mer-lion. The poet exhorts the country to always remain true to its spirit.
Metaphorical reference and Mood
The poem Lion Heart is about the pride the people of Singapore have in their country. The emblem of the country is the mer-lion and this poem depicts its almost supernatural strengths as it rose from the waves, walked ashore and established the city state. Over the centuries, people from various countries have come to its shores and worked hard to enrich the country with their culture. Today, Singapore is one of the wealthiest nations and its skyscrapers stand testimony to its wealth and power. The poet exhorts the country to keep its flag flying high all the time so that the country remains one of the world leaders.

The mer-lion which is the symbol of Singapore, comes gliding out from the sea with its burnished scales shining in the sunlight. It rides the waves effortlessly and as it comes ashore, it stops being an aquatic creature. Its gills close and its lungs open out. It masters the shore and the patterns made by sand on its back seem to be like a prehistoric language that provides testimony to its sea origins. The strong beat of its heart resounds like a drum made of stretched animal hide that heralds the arrival of a prince. The forest on the land shelters it. Confident, the mer-lion settles down and roars to let everyone know that it is the ruler. From the corners of the world, people of different cultures arrive, and are nurtured in the city state. The people prosper and the land turns verdant and skyscrapers spring up that reach out to the sky. The poet does not want the city to forget its royal beginnings, the valour that lies in its heart and its martial arts. The red flag with its five stars should ever flutter proudly.

Literary Devices
The poem "Lion Heart" by Amanda Chong depicts the pride of Singapore's roots and origins as a nation, constantly reminding Singaporeans to stay true to their country. The author uses metaphors such as "five stars in the red tapestry of your sky", referring to Singapore's flag, and is a call for them to look to their country in all that we do. The symbols in the poem "you came out of the sea, skin dappled scales of sunlight" and "the beast" are representative of the national icon- the mer-lion, and they are used metaphorically to resonate the spirit of the nation, one that is brave, courageous like the "emerald blaze", and also capable of overcoming challenges, as it had "conquered the shore".
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.
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