Excerpt from Complementarity by Cyril Wong


The following poem appears in our July 2015 digital issue. Read the rest of the issue by downloading it here.

A monk told me about how Niels Bohr
used Hokusai’s One Hundred Views
of Mount Fuji to explain the notion
of complementarity. The different lights…
that only together did they give the gull
and impressive picture, the physicist
was reported as saying, all angles
adding to the fullness of perspective.
An electron not just a particle but also
a wave; the men we were not distinct
from the men we are—the reality
complex, the knowledge no less erotic,
the truth non-finite and momentous.
We are the same. We are different,
with saggier middles and deeper lines.
We are the ever-changing. If repulsion
sets in, this becomes a symptom
of a limited imagination.

Cyril WongCYRIL WONG has been called a confessional poet, according to The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry, based on “the brutally candid sexuality in his poetry, along with a barely submerged anxiety over the fragility of human connection and a relentless self-querying”. He is the Singapore Literature prize-winning author of poetry collections such as Unmarked Treasure, Tilting Our Plates to Catch the Light, The Dictator’s Eyebrow and After You.  He has also published Ten Things My Father Never Taught Me and Other Stories and a novel, The Last Lesson of Mrs de Souza.

Cyril has served as a mentor under the Creative Arts Programme and the Mentor Access Project, as well as a judge for the Golden Point Awards in Singapore. A past recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award for Literature, he completed his doctoral degree in English Literature at the National University of Singapore in 2012.

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