Through the Lens

A Collection of Poems by Ken Shiu

Ken Shiu is an aspiring poet hailing from the borough of Queens. He has been interested in writing poetry since the 6th grade and often uses it to better capture his emotions. He enjoys reading about the news and loves to have philosophical debates about the ideals of the Republicans and Democrats.

Through the Lens:
A Collection of Poems by Ken Shiu


For Annie, my sister, friend and mentor.
Lost Friendship
At once I had it in my hand Now it's slipping away. Since the day we part, the friendship starts to slip. It'll slip away until there's none left, Till the very last drop of friendship. When we're a world apart, I'm a stranger to you. We used to talk about everything Sharing our joy and bitterness in life We laughed together, we cried together Guiding each other's path through life. I don't want it to happen, I don't want to face the truth But it's happening and I can feel it There's nothing I can do to stop it. - Yanjun Shiu



Poets to Come
Poets to come! orators, singers, musicians to come! Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for, But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known, Arouse! for you must justify me. I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future, I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness. I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face, Leaving it to you to prove and define it, Expecting the main things from you. - Walt Whitman



Table of Contents
Part I - A Single Gift - A Gamy Name Part II - Me. - A Night Out - My Sister: Cindy Shiu - Forgotten Beauty - Unrequited Love - SAT - Ken Shiu is - College Dance - Validation - The Comeback Kid Page 10 & 11 Page 12 & 13 Page 16 & 17 Page 18 & 19 Page 20 & 21 Page 22 & 23 Page 24 & 25 Page 26 & 27 Page 28 & 29 Page 30 & 31 Page 32 & 33 Page 34 & 35


Part I

A Single Gift
A single gift, Treasured by many, Yet, questioned by some. It's very common Usually taken for granted, Passed from person to person It's the most important thing we own, Yet is guarded worse than gold Should we not want it, Why should we not pass the gift on To some other deserving person? It is in every land, every ocean, As big as a tree or as small as a monkey Each one special in their own little way, May each of you choose what that gift is.

A Gamy Name
Met you last year, Awed at what qualities you had. Intelligence, compassion, and humor. Held you to a pedestal As time passed, my respect never faded, Yet you have tarnished it. Thought you were above peer pressure, Yet you proved me wrong. You started cursing for no reason I dismissed it as a joke, Yet, each day you took a bolder step, Cursing at me and your friends day after day. Still holding you in great respect, Still admiring you, Still aspiring to be like you, Fearful of the ruin of our friendship I kept quiet, yet is that a friend worth keeping? I’m sorry, I’ll take my leave.


Part II


Based on a poem by John Kim.

The F train roars through Chamber’s Street, Every day, dropping me off on the concrete. I live in Bayside Near the tide. I read the New York Times Reading about crimes and lifetimes. My idol is Edward Kennedy Clearly, “The Lion of the Senate.” My favorite subjects are Chemistry and History It’s all for a degree. I hate the urban jungle, It’s not at all blissful. Yet, I wish to be a business mogul, Caught in a squabble. Alas, one thing eludes me, The ability to be free. Nancy Ma once said lightly, “Adore your writing notebook and go crazy.” I’m 16 with a dream, But that’s for another day dream.


A Night Out
Outside in the dark, Bright lights Glimmering, Blinding me to a Halt. It was 9PM, Yet, I was still out and about, Finding myself at a crossroads. To the left stood the train, To the right stood a tourist mecca, Times Square. Questioning whether to go home Or to the “Crossroads of the World,” Would I be free and frivolous Or dull and bleak? I was a bystander, Far away Yet, at the Center of it all.

TImes Square won in a landslide, Brightly jeweled lights Dazzling me at every turn, Flashing cameras at every corner I was a star in Hollywood. Though it was snowing Warmth was around me. Perched on glass steps I glanced below, I was removed, Distant from the commotion

My Sister:
Cindy Shiu
Walking through the train, Noticing a metal monopoly token, Thought of you I held you close, Shady guys abound Predators nearby Shuddering at the though Phobia just that. Nonetheless, I kept you close My sister would be Protected Like an angel Your hair A golden halo Beaming A fiercely bright golden brown Playing monopoly together Till the light Let the darkness shine The path To our fantasy palace. Touching you with little Rays of sunshine Piercing through the darkness Of the night The gloom around me Breaking my silence With a single laugh We played outside In the yard, A large gathering Your dog And my top hat on the board. Yet, I would always Help you cheat Together we won.



Forgotten Beauty
The beauty of a place ever forgotten Overrun by manmade objects, A wall viewable from space, White hot jade from the depths of Mongolia. Overrun by manmade objects, Disneyland now stands where the emperor once lived. White hot jade from the depths of Mongolia The specter of Tiananmen Square ever haunting. Disneyland now stands where the emperors once lived Natural beauty overtaken by garrulous design The specter of TIananmen Square ever haunting, The Forbidden City now a mere Starbucks, Natural beauty overtaken by garrulous design. A wall viewable from space, The Forbidden City now a mere Starbucks, The beauty of a place ever forgotten.

Unrequited Love
WIll you not respond To my calls for your love Will you leave me grasping, grappling At what was never there. I stood late waiting to talk to you each day As you told me about the men in your life Till one day you kept me waiting in dismay TIll I realized your friendship would not suffice I was tired of waiting, For a love unrequited Slowly, I drifted apart, dating, caring for other people I was fool, for my love was unrequited. When you were finally available I was already but a world apart.


Oh what joy you bring to my life Expecting me to know 2500 “hit parade” vocabulary words. Whilst you test me on but a mere 19. You last 3 hours and 45 minutes, A mere 0.0107% of my high school life Yet account for 30% for my college application You bind, constrict and confine where I can go. You bring us fun passages on Esoteric topics like string theory paired With Robinson Crusoe. It’s such a shame we don’t reciprocate. You challenge us to find miskes hidden In cryptic sentences Far too enigmatic for us to solve. You challenge us in Math not to solve complex problems, But to plug in numbers and challenge us Not to make a silly mistake. The essay topics are inane Forcing people to be partisan. Maybe that’s why our government is in turmoil. When all’s said and done We rejoyce only to have APs, SAT II’s, ACT’s, TOEFL’s, Finals and Regents await us.

Ken Shiu is A trapped planet inside a black hole, Limestone about to be dissolved by rain A boyfriend grieving at what never was Amazed at the effects of religion, war and unity, Facing his demons instead of locking them in a closet A gun about to be fired with blanks A soul within a hardened shell A poet without his voice A dam breaking the unity of water A lonely Asian boy seeking no, not friendship, but love A shadow behind a picture of perfection A mind trapped behind the fact that is memento mori A drum broken with glass shards A cricket chirping at the crack of sunlight A liquid more volatile than that which was in Mount Eyjafjallajokull A brain about to explode from an aneurism A quick witted yet meek voice A piece of butter sliced by a dull knife An uncut diamond ore A soul trapped not in heaven nor hell but purgatory A leaf forced to travel down a stream’s current A one season show canceled before it even airs Waiting for yang to come and balance out the ying Waiting for the paint on the wall to dry just to paint it again A stranger in this world Finally just giving up and using the road more traveled by, Blown 10 li before he can even blink To find not a friend, but a lover.

College Dance
“You have been specially selected for your high scholastic achievement,” it goes Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia all come swirling in It’s a dance between you and the schools, Every school offers you a chance to dance.   They lure you not with the Waltz, the Samba, or even the Swing But with promises of vast campuses, a wide selection of majors A diverse student body and hundreds of clubs All to woo a prospective student.   Yet, just like the media, they seek to build you up Simply to smite you down You’re the object of their affection Junior year Yet, that feeling is transient,   At the fall equinox, the letters, emails, pamphlets suddenly stop. The relationship flip-flops You’re now the one wooing them Only this time, they’re a lot more selective.   Now they’re the ones ignoring you They’ll step on your toes And flirt enough to get you hooked Just enough .   Whilst you wait Till the long winter is through Only to find out You’ve been rejected.

I sit here alone on the subway wondering what I have become A product both of my arrogance and my prudence I refuse to accept the fact that I am both rude and crass And take it upon myself to make certain that This, that which I have become will make it onwards as Someone respectable I stand here before you ready to change To be molded into a picture of your desires After all that's all you've ever even wanted in the first place For years your validation has made me who you are But no, I am not a piece of metal I do not come to you soft and malleable No. I am not here upon this world To be but a shell for your litany of desires I am heretofore confident that the best person I can be Is but myself I can not and will not turn and be turned into an apparition A mere shell of a human here to heed your beck and call No, I am here to be on this world to seek my own path Your mistakes are not mine Until I put my hand on the stove I do not know it to be hot Until I am free to make my own choices, How can you choose to validate me You are the flashlight But you can not shine the path to which I shall walk Validation is not something that shall be sought I shall let none validate me for I am my own judge.


The T.V. screen flickered with the words “Comeback Kid” It was displayed split screen with an image of John McCain He had achieved something no one had thought possible Even his own party had thought that his campaign was all but over   I was in but 8th grade when he announced his campaign for presidency Yet, I paid no attention to his campaign. He had an aura of inevitability around him One news article even called him a “political celebrity.” Indeed, he seemed destined to win.   I entered Stuyvesant arrogant and pretentious But as I would soon find out, I was to be knocked down a peg. I did not become instantly popular as I had imagined, No, instead, I sat alone and without friends   Outside my Math class in room 435 at 7:20 AM sharp everyday. I hoped for a white knight, someone I would instantly become friends with But no, that person never did come, nothing but dim lights awaited me I was left with nothing but the pitter patter of footsteps echoing into the distance.            My attitude prevented me from making friends whom would help me succeed Ignoring the multitude of clubs and pubs available I soon fell behind both academically and socially I was drowning in a basin of red ink   I began to doubt whether I was really intelligent in the first place After all, how could I be with two 75’s in tow. People told me I’d be able to have two out of three things in Stuyvesant Sleep, Grades or a Social life. I had none.

The Comeback Kid

It was at this time, that I started to read about McCain’s campaign When he had fallen from grace, he took out a $5 million dollar loan In order to continue campaigning. But he taught me something, I couldn’t expect other people to believe in me, when I didn’t believe in myself   Over the summer, I began to overhaul my attitude Gone was the arrogant know-it all, In its place was an amicable, gregarious spirit. Looking back, it was a pivotal moment in my life,   I was finally able to find kindred spirits Ready to step in should I falter I entered each class with a smile, Ready and willing to learn.   John McCain inspired me to preserve through my setback His campaign was a source of hope and inspired me to change But I know, others have not yet met their inspiration They have not been as lucky as have I.   Which is why, I have found solace within By writing letters to pen pals through Letters, Stamps, Envelopes By mentoring a young freshman through Project Asta And by guiding budding young debaters through Junior State of America.   Today, as John McCain did On January 8th, 2008, I take upon myself, The mantle of “Comeback Kid.”



Ken Shiu is able to piece together wonderful poems that express deep inner emotions. He provides great similes and metaphors to draw the reader in. Ken brings details alive with his great sense of imagery. - Carmen Shum ‘11 Ken's poetry book does a really great job in showing the important aspects in his life. The organization of his poems make them easy to follow and the language smoothly follows one after another. In addition to that, the pictures he included added more insight and perspective into the places and aspects of his life. - Daphne Zhen ‘10 This book offers deep insight into the life of today’s teenager while faced with the bland life of high school, and more important personal problems, he manages to overcome them all through his poetry. - David Lin ‘10

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