Lost vision

A poem by Edwin Thumboo called 'Lost Visions'.

Where are those peninsular dreams
And hopes of Ee, Agus, Ronnie, Jeyaraj,
And many of our northern tribes, shared
By Maha, Sup and others of our island?
Killed by acronyms, the latest 1MDB.

What certainties, what moves drove three
Merdekas Tenku thundered to acclaim, from
That very spot where A Albuquerque started
Histories of our subservience. Land, the land
Returned as nation. Great were expectations.

The Class of '57 was inspired as Tenku
Convocated us in Chin Woo Stadium.
We felt one, were one at that farewell in
Petaling Street, swearing promises to keep.
I feel the hugs, the tight shoulder grip.

Politics has laid waste, become a beast
With many heads, with serial appetites.
Satiation is high hunger. Stash the cash.
Bank accounts: appearance and reality.
Launder, Datu, Abang, Istri, launder on.

I too lament. Despite Separation we share
The sky and the percussions of the world.
A little telling should suffice. Bones of
Forebears lie in Ambong, Muar. Grandpa,
Supt. PWD, surveyed, cut roads and built.

Some poems started in Segamat, whose
Smile I married, whose eyes console, cure.
So I lament as your ancestral shadows limp,
Shrink away, and refuse to lift their heads.
Even your sun is tardy, black-rimmed, ill,

Awaiting the verdict of Hikayat and Sejara.




A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2016, with the headline 'Lost vision'. Print Edition | Subscribe