“Cloud Forest” and other poems by Ellen Chia

Ellen Chia

Cloud Forest

On montane roofs,
Veil-thin sojourners
Serpentine through green
Flightless birds —
Myriad crowns perching
One-legged, spreading
Multi-tiered wings
Plush with plumes now
Dripping fresh
With the gilded bath.

In the plumage larders,
The green birds set to
Spin their sugary fares,
While at it,
Gazillions of their
Tiny lungs
Are humming the
Three billion-year-old gift;
Coursing far and wide
Through life’s tributaries,
Even of those
Who wish to silence
The gift
With their acute myopia.



The Asian openbill stork alights
Amid the wheeling terns,
Then drifts along
On the hyacinth raft –
The raft by now
A seasoned drifter;
Growing organically
And by fortuitous mergers
On this placid
Cloud-mottled river.

That makes three drifters
On this course of the river
Giving ourselves over to
The current of the moment –
My thought self
Long embarked with the stork
On the raft.


The Balcony Wall

The alliance, one of an
Indefatigable nature
Forged between
Time and Weathering
Has rendered its coat
What was once a gleaming
Eggshell white into
A variegated sooty black.

Cracked peels
Like cartographers shape
Tattered maps
Of its worst battered regions –
Laying bare
Raw cemented pasts to
The potted ferns;
Their frondy tips tracing,
Seeking sense
The genesis of these elements
Now breathing.


The Island

Enter a southerly wind,
A whiff of saltiness
And from the recesses
A stealthy seepage …
Then wave
After wave,

Recollections lap up
Against the shore
Of the room –
Now an island skirting
With long-tail boats
And wooden stilt houses
Perch on pebbly beaches

Where a hog resident
Forages with impunity
Right into its hills
Overlooking routes
Promising sightings of
Pink dolphins (I remember
our host prostrating to give
thanks at the Naga Goddess
shrine after the sighting of
a pod deemed auspicious by

I bask in my island room –
Relishing the sea salt
On my cupid’s bow,
Giving myself
Over to the lulling
Rustling of coconut palms
When a flower crab
Scuttles from my gaze
Into the shadowy depths…
Do excuse me,

I must get going,
There are nooks yet
To explore:
The wind is like
A postman bringing
Summons of dues.


A Bangkokian’s Consolation

An April morning,
A pewter-grey
Volvo 240 sedan
Lingers in the shade
Of a Golden Shower tree
Now at the zenith
Of its bloom.

There’s still time
Before igniting
The infernal
Tarmac regime;
Enduring to and fro
The crawly
Lengthy hours
Of fumes and jams
Alongside the
Metal herd –
Huddled in the
Urban cauldron
Rage and anxieties.

Yes, these are moments
To be solitary still,
For the windscreen
To indulge in
The tree’s silhouette;
To drink in the
Sprawling sinuous branches
Where floral clusters
Droop like ponderous grapes,

Where their petals now
Dust the roof and bonnet
Like gilded butterflies
Frozen in time.


Cloud Forest” and other poems are © Ellen Chia

Ellen ChiaEllen Chia enjoys going on solitary walks in woodlands and along beaches where Nature’s treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. Her works have been published and are forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, NatureWriting, The Honest Ulsterman, Zingara Poetry Review and The Tiger Moth Review.

Image: Ellen Chia & ‘Giken’

%d bloggers like this: