Through his poem ‘the planners’, boey kim cheng explores the tactful characteristics of individuals associated with constructing and developing buildings and how the artificiality of these buildings slowly consumes all that is naturally beautiful. The structure, language and various literary techniques reflect on the idea of free space and unorganised splendour.
The use of free verse clearly expresses the purpose of the poem that is to signify how the arrangement of something simply limits the beauty it possesses in its original form. Cheng lets his poem flow freely, showing his opposition to planning and how it compresses everything. The three irregular and unmatched stanzas also show the same opposition to identical and aligned buildings we see today.
The first stanza initially employs caesuras to increase the focus as each of the features of the planners are being described. As Cheng begins mentioning the alignment of buildings he incorporates enjambments into the following lines, depicting the endless rows of identical structures as the idea flows from one line to the other. This description is concluded with a personification that illustrates mathematics as a graceful system and relates its unique characteristics of symmetry and equality to the buildings that the planners design. The use of mathematics to represent the buildings also shows how they interlink and symbolises their rigidity. Perhaps the most powerful concept that Cheng displays in the first stanza is how the most expansive spaces known to man must be intruded due to the planners’ never-ending thirst for progress and innovation. These buildings consume what lies in their path and the vast and mighty skies and seas surrender to the concrete threat that is mankind.
Another effective technique is seen in Cheng’s use of a conceit. The extended metaphor of referring to the planner as a dentist and the city as perfectly aligned teeth helps...