for Eric Mottram
"Nur wenn das Herz erschlossen,
Dann ist die Erde schön."
An important thing in living
Is to know when to go;
He who does not know this
Has not far to go,
Though death may come and go
When you do not know.
Come, give me your hand,
Together shoulder and cheek to shoulder
We'll go, sour kana in cheeks
And in the mornings cherry sticks
To gum: the infectious chilli smiles
Over touch-me-not thorns, crushing snails
From banana leaves, past
Clawing outstretched arms of the bougainvilias
To stone the salt-bite mangoes.
Tread carefully through this durian kampong
For the ripe season has pricked many a sole.
la la la tham'-pong
Let's go running intermittent
To the spitting, clucking rubber fruit
And bamboo lashes through the silent graves,
Fresh sod, red mounds, knee stuck, incensing joss sticks
All night long burning, exhuming, expelling the spirit.
Let's scour, hiding behind the lowing boughs of the hibiscus
Skirting the school-green parapet thorny fields.
Let us now squawk, piercing the sultry, humid blanket
In the shrill wakeful tarzan tones,
Paddle high on.the swings
Naked thighs, testicles dry.
Let us now vanish panting on the climbing slopes
Bare breasted, steaming rolling with perspiration,
Biting with lalang burn.
Let us now go and stand under the school
Water tap, thrashing water to and fro.
Then steal through the towkay's
Barbed compound to pluck the hairy
Eyeing rambutans, blood red, parang in hand,
And caoutchouc pungent with peeling.
Now scurrying through the estate glades
Crunching, kicking autumnal rubber leavings,
Kneading, rolling milky latex balls,
Now standing to water by the corner garden post.