Casuarinas in Johore

The casuarinas form
  a fretwork fleet
    of bright vermilion butterflies
      that fall across the beach
        in orange and sudden warmth;
So, when thunder rains
  come slantwise down across the sky,
    their leaves unlatch
      and ply like sampans down
        from the damp moss-trees;
Until they’re poised below
  the istana’s minarets,
    like rapid fleets in a whirlpool shoal,
Or disappearing silhouettes.

by Margaret Leong
from The Air Above the Tamarinds (1957)


SELECTED POEMS: "Tonight the Moon is Locked" >