I’ve always put my work out there on the internet, never getting upset when people use it for their own purposes so long as they aren’t claiming it as their own or selling it in any form. After all, the whole purpose in doing this is to expose the work to as many people as possible. Periodically I check to see where it ends up. It’s interesting to see how several sites use my work on their masts, especially groups associated with archaeology who use my work from the Archaeology series.
The painting above, a piece from 2002 called A Journey Begins, was used back in November to illustrate the winning entry in the 2015 English Poetry Contest at Hong Kong Baptist University. The poem is titled The Lie and was written by Zabrina Lo, a third year student in Language and Literature. I was struck how well the two pieces of art blended, each fitting perfectly well with and complementing the other.
Here is the poem The Lie from Zarina Lo:
Her seat has been empty for a year.
Still we sit
together. Not together. Around the table
we eat the tasteless water chestnut cakes
which I insist ordering.
I lie that the plum rain of China in early January
nourishes the jade-like crunchy corms –
the best time to savour this New Year’s dish.
But I am silenced
by the huge heap of sliced cakes that remain
almost untouched by everyone here
and by my father’s empirical science of how autumn, not winter,
is the harvesting season.
But I can’t refrain from lingering on
the past winters when my mother, with her gnarled veiny hands,
insisted on making and filling my tiny childhood plate full with
her – not my – favourite water chestnut cakes.
She never knew that when I said I loved her cakes, I loved
her smile at the sight of me eating, savouring, appreciating her cake –
That sight gave her bland, unrecognized life the sweetest touch she’d ever known
in our home where water chestnuts never grew, cracked and bloomed
through the floors, walls, ceilings and
outside the window.
She never knew
that the sweetness I tasted was not from the cake
but her heart.
that if I listened hard enough I would hear the crunch of water chestnuts
from the empty chair next to me
where she would be sitting and smiling as usual
as if New Year never came,
and that I could tell her honestly
the blissful flavour she thought I liked
was never there
and would never be there again.