Writer: Boem Kim Cheng who is from Singapor which is very urbanised and one of the fastest developing countries. All of Japan is modernised and they have even made their island longer.
Summary: The poet is talking about progress and how they can be boring in the sense that we organise everything so neatly and there is no mystery left and history is constantly destroyed and never saved. Everything is perfectly done until it is wrong to be human and make a mistake. So he is wondering about whether progress is positive or negative. He is concerned about Japan's future.
Form: There is no indentation in the stanzas and every line starts in exactly the same area showing how accurate the planners are and the level of perfection that we find in progress. It could also show the writer's boredom of having the same structure in the same way. They are free verses with no structure to give a sense of irony in the 'mathematically designed' city and is shown as a form of rebellion against the conformity.
Tone: Unhappiness and anger at the rapid urbanisation, he feels despair and loss for Singapore's future and history, more hopeful towards the end of the poem,
Language and Imagery:
- 'They plan, they build'-'They' repeated six times in the poem all put in capitals which suggests it is like a titile and refers to the companies that run the world. this is short sentences which are fast and punchy to show a sense of speed of the rapid urbanisation and reflects the criticism of the writer,
- 'All spaces gridded, filled with permutations of possibilities.' Technical terms used here like 'gridded' so indicates the thought of progress is etched into the minds of society and no longer a choice. The plosive alliteration exaggerates this,
- 'The buildings are in alignment with the roads which meet at desired points linked by bridges all hang in the grace of mathematics'-The perfection is described as quite beautiful and very precise and there is a sense of admiration that it is so perfect OR it could be irony that it is meant to be beautiful but isn't. There is long sentence with fast pace to show urbanisation is continuous and everything was crammed in one small space in that sentence which reflects how he feels about Singapore,
- 'Even the sea draws back and the sky surrenders.' this is personification and sibilance which emphasizes that even nature can't stop and fears the urbanisation. There is war imagery here-a lexical field of war and how nature has been defeated.
- 'All gaps plugged with gleaming gold. The country wears perfect rows of shining teeth.' This is a metaphor and personification of the country. the poet is talking about the buildings which are in perfect rows and the 'shining' exaggerates that they are always perfect.There is the sense of getting rid of the old and in with the new.
- 'Anaesthesia, amnesia, hypnosis' Triple to emphasize that the country itself or the people are brainwashed to surrender to control of the city and nature. All three described fool the brain into thinking something it was originally. They can be associated with plastic surgery so hiding the old with perfecrion but in reality it is impossible to achieve,
- 'The piling will not stop. The drilling goes right through the fossils of last century.' Poet is emphasizing that progress is etched in our minds and we can't help but progress. 'Fossils' connect us to our past and are precious. he is suggesting that progress has destroyed our interpretation of the past as we try as much as we can to look to the tuture.
- 'But my heart would not bleed poetry.' The 'my' is a personal pronoun and relates this poem back to him making it more emotional. Personification as hearts can't bleed or his poetry will be ruined.
- 'Not a single drop to stian the blueprint of our past's tomorrow'-He doesn't want to destroy the past and won't allow it to destroy his poetry. He doesn't want his poetry to be destructive like the planners, showing how powerless he is but through his poetry, the past will have a future, creating a hopeful ending. Blueprint=architectural plan already made=ironic metaphor,
Links: The City Planners as towards the end, she addresses the conspirators of the City Planners and this is similar to the poet in 'The Planners' who addresses the unknown plans of progress and they both hate the uniformity and the perfection and how nature can't fight back.