POEMS IN THE MIDST OF HARDSHIP Latiff Mohidin At dawn they returned home their soaky clothes torn and

approached the stove their limbs marked by scratches their legs full of wounds but on their brows there was not a sign of despair The whole day and night just passed they had to brave the horrendous flood in the water all the time between bloated carcasses and tiny chips of tree barks desperately looking for their son’s albino buffalo that was never found They were born amidst hardship and grew up without a sigh or a complaint now they are in the kitchen, making jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves Translated by Salleh Ben Joned HE HAD SUCH QUIET EYES Bibsy Soenharjo He had such quiet eyes She did not realise

They were two pools of lies Layered with thinnest ice To her, those quiet eyes Were breathing desolate sighs Imploring her to be nice And to render him paradise If only she’d been wise And had listened to the advice Never to compromise With pleasure-seeking guys She’d be free from ”the hows and whys” Now here’s a bit of advice Be sure that nice really means nice Then you’ll never be losing at dice Though you may lose your heart once or twice 1968 NATURE H.D. Carberry We have neither Summer nor Winter Neither Autumn nor Spring. We have instead the days When the gold sun shines on the lush green canefields Magnificently. The days when the rain beats like bullets on the roofs And there is no sound but the swish of water in the gullies And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds. Also there are the days when leaves fade from off

guango trees And the reaped canefields lie bare and fallow to the sun. But best of all there are the days when the mango and the logwood blossom When the bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey, When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air, When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone. ARE YOU STILL PLAYING YOUR FLUTE? Zurinah Hassan Are you still playing your flute? When there is hardly time for our love I am feeling guilty To be longing for your song The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo Uncovered by the breath of an artist Composed by his fingers Blown by the wind To the depth of my heart. Are you still playing your flute?

In the village so quiet and deserted Amidst the sick rice field While here it has become a luxury To spend time watching the rain Gazing at the evening rays Collecting dew drops Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers. Are you still playing your flute? The more it disturbs my conscience to be thinking of you in the hazard of you my younger brothers unemployed and desperate my people disunited by politics my friend slaughtered mercilessly this world is too old and bleeding

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