Hong Kong: a dot on the world map, a grain of sand on the margin between a giant continent and a fathomless sea.
This grain of sand is a world of its own, just as a world, seemingly sufficient to itself, is but a grain of sand, jostling with other sand worlds in the wide expanse of the universe, interconnected with all, and mutually dependent. So the Buddhist sutras say.
And, coming from the same land that once colonised this tiny speck, William Blake wrote, with a vision that pierces through the veil of power: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.”
Hence the title of this collection, A Grain of Sand: Poems from Hong Kong.
This tiny dot on a map is a world. It has its own history, language, and culture, and hope.
This grain of sand sings. As we listen, we relate.
The poets presented, originally from Hong Kong or elsewhere, have either taught or studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The university is located in Shatin, which means literally Fields of Sand in Chinese.
The poems read are chosen by the poets themselves. The images in the videos are mostly of Hong Kong in 2016, one year before the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.
The recording hopes to preserve certain poetic voices of Hong Kong while promoting an appreciation of poetry. Written in the English language, most of the poems memorialise and celebrate the local scene, while the local context, including the Chinese written script and the Cantonese tongue, infuses into the poetic imagination and language. This confluence of cultural forces energises and connects different worlds, diverse grains of sand.
Ching Yuet May
Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of English
For Prof. Evelyn Chan’s reading of the Foreword, please click here