Monday, November 07, 2011

(Image courtesy of: link)

Inspired by Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Blackbird

Between us
The only moving thing
Was the world’s averted Conscience


The blackbirds in Malaysia warble
one heretical song all day long.
Am and pm, they intone, Allah,
We are the bumiputera


Under their heels, Among The Believers
the silk saris of Sanskrit and the songs of God
in the flat world joust for liberty
the five Pandava brothers are
our remnant


In the melodious red riches of our blood
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
In the meticulous study of the word, and
the Vedas, God runs like notes on a river
We are not the only ones
Tanah tumpahnya darahku

Among the believers
under the shadows of vast trees
looking up! I am both Draupadi
and the woman at the well; now
No man can confiscate that!


We are not the only ones trod underfoot
Theirs are not the only mouths

Opened to sing
Or shut under green umbrellas
Tanah tumpah nya darahku


We are not the only ones
sons and daughters of the earth
The progeny of birth
Heirs to our homeland


Once in innocence
Our unclean lips puckered
Under the sun. That was
When we believed we
belonged to nations and to men


I sang the song of nativity
until my tongue like cut ribbons
Fell to the ground. Still. The river
runs nubile, singing…
tanah tumpahnya darahku

In the silence that came after
In the year of the palindrome
I rocked backwards and forwards
In my heart


Then one day writing in my cell at noon
As the two hands of the clock came
To rest one on top of the other
I uttered a prayer


That left the circle like blackbirds
shot out of the poisoned tip
Of the lying pens that looped
us like galley slaves
Hung like question marks
in our own throats


To find such welcome in the embrace
of a true God, and mothers of God
who will not permit halving the body
of believers………………

Here in the emptiness of space
In an interior castle
Bereft of the supremacist race
I belong to no one
Here the blackbirds sing
Here I lift my head
Here I hear God. Here I hear God.
Here I know there is no God but God

And this God showers roses on
Blackbirds rising to sing their litany
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Tanah tumpahnya darahku

0 poetic mutterings: