Kampong Bahru, 1975

The expanse
                  of sadness inherent in the Muezzin’s voice makes
              near:              a motion really
                    that moves the immediate
         the hair, the sleeves, the burnt grass
                        near the gravel. Dawn     or     Dusk, especially
                                          in the dusk that lays waste
                                     the skies;     Immutable     — from what
                                               neighbouring planet year
                                                          after year
                                 the same ray,    half-serene, half-
terrible as over an ancient battle-field?


Calling from all corners
                         not a corner
                             not his minaret.     The voice
                             looks in all nooks     &
a scent really,
from the earth.


If as a child I’ve said
                   “one day I shall have no home”
nearing that hour of the
                               day,     prompted by
                             that voice,     & partly in
                                    answer,     now it is said
               over     &     again
echoing everywhere, creeping like lizards
           the lostness that     20     years  later has
                                      fetched me here.

by Wong May
from Superstitions (1978)


SELECTED POEMS: "How I Too Hate Subject Matter" >