The Planners and The City Planners

691 WordsFeb 19, 20183 Pages
The Planners is a poem focused on Singapore’s attempt to shed its colonial past and emerge as a post-colonial nation. In fact, the poem is formed by three stanzas without a discernible rhyme and meter. Cheng deliberately chooses a free verse style that shows how he protests against the strictness and order in building construction. In the quotation ‘filled with permutations of possibilities’ from the first stanza, plosive alliteration conveys a tone of anger. In addition, the nouns ‘permutations’ and ‘possibilities’ seem paradoxical. In the fourth line, Cheng talks about ‘roads which meet at desired points’. The adjective ‘desired’ shows irony, as it is not wanted by the speaker who is disdainful of the uniformity. The quotation ‘the grace of mathematics’ personifies math and, with an ironic tone, it is clear throughout the poem that Cheng is not in favor of such rigid order in planning. In the last stanza, ironically, the repetition of ‘they build’ gives poem some structure, which is what the poet is against. In the last quotation from this stanza ‘even the sea draws back and the skies surrender’, sibilance evokes the sound of the sea. Furthermore, the hyperbole and personification ‘skies surrender’ conveys the way the sky is ‘invaded’ by skyscrapers. The strong verb conveys the way the sky connotes a battle between man and nature. Again, in the second stanza, Cheng uses plosive alliteration to emphasize his anger, which is evident in the quotations ‘blemishes of the past’
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