Sunday, November 6, 2016

In Remembrance

A very dear friend died suddenly last month, his name was Nizam. 

A kind and gentle soul, he was only 36. There was no illness, no symptoms of note and he died alone. He lived on his own.

I believe that you shouldn't only remember a person who has passed away by recalling memories but you should also observe, in all its richness, what that person restored in others whilst he lived and what remains after. And if you can, for it is difficult, you must refrain from judgment.

I can trace remnants of memories in the strangeness of living amid a return to routine and the mundane, after being shaken by his death.

He was a banker, primarily a credit officer all his adult life; a Maybanker (as staff of a local bank affectionately call themselves) through and through as well as a heavy smoker. No doubt, the last part contributed to his shock passing at a young age. 

On smoking, he was undeterred despite the apprehension as well as repeated efforts of his closest friends and I will never look at a box of cigarette the same way again. For the living, regret remains; acute, distinct and resonant. If you smoke - please quit. If you don't but know someone who does smoke, advise them to quit. 

Emily Dickinson wrote:

"Death sets a thing significant
The eye had hurried by..."

The man he was restored a once depleted faith in friendship and I remain indebted for his compassion, companionship and willingness to listen. Taken too soon, he was a good man.

In remembrance, Nizam. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Midweek Poetic - A Coat

Back to the grind. A coat this time. A poem by William Butler Yeats.

"... Song, let them take it..."

Take these words then hold them close for a while. Let them go when you are done.

Let them take it

A Coat


MADE my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there's more enterprise
In walking naked. 



More can be read at the Poetry Foundation website.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Weekend Poetic - "Shouldered"


A brief one this week, missed my midweek poetic post so to redeem myself a new poem is in order.

Here goes something brief:

Heavy

Shouldered

A stage welcomes
covets and leaps
then erupts in jeer
at the gall 
of a lull.

Don't we all 
cast 
awareness out?  
For show-
shouldered.

Dare we not-
dance.

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Midweek Poetic - Independence Day & Invictus

Due to an ailment in the family I've been away from social media and this blog. The illness remains disruptive but a brief post for midweek poetic is definitely doable. 

31st August is celebrated as National Day in Malaysia (59 years young) and the meaning of independence to me on a personal level, for this decade, is encapsulated by the following Victorian poem (in public domain) by William Ernest Henley:

Bloom

Invictus


Out of the night that covers me,  
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,  
I thank whatever gods may be  
  For my unconquerable soul.  
  
In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.  
Under the bludgeonings of chance  
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.  
  
Beyond this place of wrath and tears  
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years  
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.  
  
It matters not how strait the gate,  
  How charged with punishments the scroll,  
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.


And yes, Invictus is also the title of a famous film featuring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. 

Mandela recited this poem to fellow prisoners during his imprisonment and was empowered by its message. I aspire to heed its beauty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Midweek Poetic - Hope is the Thing with Feathers

This is my first midweek poetic post. 


On Wednesday every fortnight, I will post bits of a poem or the full poem if it is in the public domain. To begin this regular column, I will start on hope. 

Few can match the emotion that Emily Dickinson can evoke with her brevity and resonant prose. For this reason, I have this poem tacked to my office cubicle.



Hope is the thing with feathers 


Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm. 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.



You can read more of her work and bio here.