Lion heart by Amanda Chong

Our literature teacher made us do an assignment of the poem «Lion Heart». We had to answer some question. Here are my answers:

2)Crest: Highest part of a hill

Ivory: pale

Squall: A sudden, violent gust of wind.

Throb: To palpitate

Raw: exposed

Vault: arched structure

Unsheathed: To plow from a sheath, sword, knife,etc

3) Amanda Chong wrote the story at the age of 14.

4) Merlion is the lion.



Amanda was only sixteen when she wrote the poem
The poem talks about the stablation of the Singapore’s city-state and also about the people of the country, who have to stay true to their origins and take pride in it
Structure: 6 stanzas of 6 lines each // irregular rythme and rhyme


You came out of the sea,
skin dappled scales of sunlight;
Riding crests, waves of fish in your fists.
Washed up, your gills snapped shut.
Water whipped the first breath of your lungs,
Your lips’ bud teased by morning mists.

Have lots of “S”
“You”: he Merlion, by extantion, it could refer to the origins of all Singaporeans
“Out of the sea“: the fact that the Merlion came out of the sea refers to how closely Singapore is tied to it for its existance and prosperity
“Riding crests“: the fact that the Merlion is riding crets is refer to its skill and maestry over its aquatic element. “Riding” could also mean travelling to a destination
“scales of sunlight // waves of fish in your fists”: This image gives a sense of the Merlion’s power
“Gills snapped shut”: It means that the Merlion is adapting himself to live a life on land, a violent process
“Water whipped“: The repetition of the “W” emphasises the verb “whipped”
“Your lips’ bud teased by morning mists” (personification & syntax): “lip’s bud” refer to the Merlion’s adaptation to life on land. The repetition of the letter “M” might be a Merlion’s exppresion of satisfaction


You conquered the shore, its ivory coast.
Your legs still rocked with the memory of waves.
Sinews of sand ran across your back-
Rising runes of your oceanic origins.
Your heart thumped- an animal skin drum
heralding the coming of a prince.

“Conquerd“: refers to de defeat, and afterwards, the domination. The Merlion was victorious and claimed ownership of the land
“Ivory coast“: refers to the purity of white leading to “virgin” territories. The Merlion formed a settlement
“Still rocked“: Although the Merlion is adapted to the land it is always adapted to the sea. “rocked” is like a shooting force
“Sniews“: imply it is ganining strength
“Rising runes“: runes means in Old Germany a mistery or a secret. However the alliteration gives the sense of an event. Perhaps that the runes suggested that the Merlion’s emergence was predestined
“Oceanic origins“: The poem refreshed us that the Merlion is tied to the sea. The alliteration of the word “O” gives a sense of wonder
“animal skin drum heralding the coming of a prince“: this represent the arrival of Prince Sri Tri Buana who founded a settlement after seeing beast upon landing on the island of Tumasik


In the jungle, amid rasping branches,
trees loosened their shadows to shroud you.
The prince beheld you then, a golden sheen.
Your eyes, two flickers; emerald blaze
You settled back on fluent haunches;
The squall of a beast. your roar, your call.

“rasping branches“: This refers to something dry, unpleasant and harmful
“trees loosened their shadows to shroud you“: even thye flora responds to the need of Merlion
“The prince a golden sheen“: conveys value on Merlion. He seems transformed in this constract, suggesting that it was waiting to reveal its trueafter seeing a beast upon landing on the island of Tumasik
“emerald blaze“: “Emerald” suggests a brilliancy and great worth in the Merlion’s gaze. “Blaze” means ferocity
“You settled back on fluent haunches“: The Merlion settled in the place that later on will be Singapore. This signifies the Merlion’s ability to respond to change or threat
“squall of a beast.“: Squall is a storm in the sea or a cry. Both things might convey an element power to the Merlion
“your roar, your call“: The repetition of “your” conflates the roar of the Merlion and the voice of Singaporeans. “roar” became a triumphant rallying


In crackling boats, seeds arrived, wind-blown,
You summoned their colours to the palm
of your hand, folded them snugly into loam,
watched saplings swaddled in green,
as they sunk roots, spawned shade,
and embraced the land that embraced them.

It is show how important the sea is, since it is their transportation
“seeds arrived, wind-blown“: the seeds seems to be destined to arrive
“summoned their colours“: This means that the Merlion commands the colours: the flags and the seeds
“ folded them snugly into loam“: “loam” is a fertile soil. Literally speaking, the Merlion wanted to plant seeds. Metaphorically speaking, the Merlion wantts to create a connection between the people and the land ir represents
“saplings swaddled“: It refers to an image of the growth of a new plant
“sunk roots, spawned shade“: links together the process of humans settling the land
“embraced the land that embraced them“: The repetition of “embraced” convey a sense of security, unity, love & affection


Centuries, by the sea’s pulmonary,
a vein throbbing humming bumboats –
your trees rise as skyscrapers.
Their ankles lost in swilling water,
as they heave themselves higher
above the mirrored surface.

“sea’s pulmonary … a vein throbbing“: The sea transports the lifeblood of Singapore, its trade
“humming bumboats“: “bumboats” is a small boat
“trees rise as skyscrapers“: It suggests the development from a rural to a urban environment
“ankles lost in swilling water“: The modern city is still sink into the water
“heave themselves higher“: “heave” is refer to a great effort to develop a city
“mirrored surface“: the city is reflected in the sea


Remember your self: your raw lion heart,
Each beat a stony echo that washes
through ribbed vaults of buildings.

Remember your keris, iron lightning
ripping through tentacles of waves,
double-edged, curved to a point-

flung high and caught unsheathed, scattering
five stars in the red tapestry of your sky.

“Remember your self“: to remember their shared history
“raw lion heart“: their past must not be forgotten by the modern life. “lion heart” gives reference to something or someone brave
“a stony echo that washes // ribbed vaults of buildings“: metaphor. The connection with the mithological origins, their culture and traditions, formed the city.
“Remember your keris“: its an asimmetrical dagger. symbol of Malayan culture
“iron lightning“: visual image. Links the shape of the keris to an elemental force
“ripping through tentacles of waves“: violent image
“caught unsheathed // five stars in the red tapestry of your sky“: act of daring

6)Yes, the peom shows love and respect towards Singapore. He wanted people to feel proud of it.

Notes in class:

Lion heart
– Symbol of Singapore –> it represented braveries
– Topic:
1. Love for Singapore/ the nation
2. Love for identity and nationality
– Stanza 1 –> «you» personification of the Merlion (powerful symbol)
– The Merlion standing out, representing all Singaporeans
– Dappled=colorful
– Crests= «fish»
– Vocabulary in connection to see –> semantic field (sea/water)
– Stanza 2
– «Ivory coat» «Shore» «Waves» «Sand» «Oceanic»
– Although the Merlion is on land, it’s always connected to the sea
– Stanza 3
– Now the setting is on land «jungle»
– Described as full of life («eyes») –> as Singapore
– The repetition of «your» emphasis the personification of the museum.
– Stanza 4
– «Boats» «seeds»
– The British arrived by boat
– Colonization
– Singapure grew a lot
– Disadvantages of colonization:
– Loss of identity, culture & freedom
– Stanza 5
– Power of sea –> exonomy (trade)
– Singapour economy depends on the sea
– Singapore–> from rural to urban «skyscrapers»
– Stanza 6
– Renember your origins/culture/identity/who u really are
– Lets ise the sea dor its advantagea (trade) but kets feel proud of ourselves our identity! We are singapureans
– Theme:
– nationalism/strong sense of nation
– Love for your country/nature
– Colonization
– Urbanization
– Tone:
– Reminding, inspiring, nationalistic, proud, admiration (awe)

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