The Search

He sought no nook to start his search, did not
Even know he had begun till it was well
Begun. Knowledge dilated his nostrils
And every road became an appetite,
The town and its people succulent food,
A ten-course Chinese dinner with suckling pig.
Everywhere was somewhere and everybody
Was somebody. It was not time to choose.
His diaries became thicker year by year.

On undulating loops of the trunk road
Replenished by leisured tributaries,
Surprise is far away. Yet still the journey
Has charm enough to invite continuance.
Here, one learns to like what one’s accustomed to.
Pleasure does not pall, though still one passes
Interminable scenes… the rubber trees
Inescapable almost as the forest is,
Coconuts, pepper-trees, hills of oil-palm,
Flats of padi green, mangrove and lallang,
Abandoned mining-pools that won’t be lakes…
There are no inns down here, only villages,
Small towns and big towns; the sun is everywhere.
The signs are not always where they should be
However; except, of course, Selatan and Utara.
One is always travelling up or down.

by Robert Yeo
from Leaving Home, Mother (1999)


SELECTED POEMS: “A Poem as a Fan” >