Each year through the student societies, students from Cultural Studies (CULS), Bilingual Language and Literature Studies (BLLS), and Professional Communication and English Studies (PENG) form a team to vet and edit student essays and creative work submitted to This and That. The Journal celebrates the College of International Education’s writing talent. It is headed and produced by English lecturers at CIE.

It is our honour to have one of our published poets, Conny Zheng Cui Ting from BLLS, to share with us the creative process behind her poem, Hold Your Hand.

The poem

Hold Your Hand

Conny Zheng Cui Ting

She pulled out the needle from her patient’s backhand,

threw it in the garbage can

and listened to her ravings.

Stood side and looked at that woman on the bed.

A face full of wrinkles, like mountain ridges.

When she clutched the calloused hand on the bed,

she could feel the rushing time, fixed with bitter.

This was the patient she had been taking care of for the longest time.


The old hand gripped the young hand,

like children, holding their favourite toys.

She stayed bedside, stared at her and sighed

How long has it been?

Since they last held hands like this.


Two shadows.

One sat, one lied.

Hearing the steady breath, feeling the loosened grip.

She slowly put her hand into the quilt.


Good night.

The poet speaks

The poem was written in the library actually. At that time, I just sent a message to my mom and comforted her that everything here was alright. Don’t worry too much about me. Soon, she replied, “I’m long winded, am I?”

It reminds me of the current busy and rushed situation in every industry, not just about being a student. Most people would focus on personal demand but ignore the relationship with their family and friends. There was a piece of news about a father registering in a hospital in order to visit his son, who is a doctor. I got inspiration from this kind of events and depicted a picture about an ill mother and a nurse daughter. The daughter could finally have a good look at her mother. Although the medical profession serves others for life, not many take the time to stay with family. What we should always keep in mind is that we should get in touch with our families.