The Migrant Worker Poetry Contest Organizing Committee comprises of a group of volunteers: Shivaji Das, Vishal Daryanomel, Gopika Jadeja, Noreen, Ting Mak Yu, Rolinda Onates Espanola, Ohim Rohimah, Yolanda Yu, AKM Mohsin, and Abhineet Kaul.

© 2019 by Abhineet Kaul

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Shortlisted Poets and their work - 2015

 

Zakir Hossain Khokon

 

Zakir, 38, was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He graduated from the National University and arrived in Singapore in 2003. He was the first prize winner in the inaugural Migrant Worker Poetry Contest in Singapore. He is currently working as a construction supervisor and freelance journalist. He has also published his own poetry collection, ‘The River reaches the town’ and a non-fiction work titled, ‘Singapore riots and a love story’

দুঃখিত

 

I am Sorry

Sorry, I am sorry,

for hanging on your spotless wall

this painting, mere strokes of colour

 

Don’t worry,

I’ll take it down right away

 

The subject of this painting:

Life in exile

Name:

The happy bird

(A beloved’s endearment

for a migrant worker)

 

To the right after the crossroads 

and there you are at the cluster of households

the fun-filled playgrounds of the child

and that green patch you see

moving from opaque to light

the half hearted lights that become yellow

spread out to the plane

 

From here begins the caress of the brush

that has dissolved slowly into the smoky brass of the sky

To the left lies diffused the abir-covered evening

standing still at the doors of the stars

 

Excellent, says the rain

and showers its many greetings

 

An old man stands

close to the painting

and says in a moist voice:

The whole canvas dyed

in the tired eyes

of innumerable workers

Unloved faces

And the poetic biography

that grows around stories of faded dreams

their grotesque domestic furniture 

the pollen of love, beyond touch

the fading signs of a kiss

 

Some people from the crowd said:

Craftsman of civilization

this world will bow before you in gratitude

forever

 

Embarrassed

I am removing the picture

and again I say sorry

I am very sorry

আপনাদের পরিচ্ছন্ন দেয়ালে

রংতুলি দিয়ে আঁকা চিত্রটি ঝুলিয়ে দেওয়ার জন্য দুঃখিত

নামিয়ে নেব এই এক্ষুনি

 

চিত্রকর্মটির বিষয়, পরবাস

নাম, সুখ পাখি

কোন এক প্রবাসী শ্রমিকের প্রেয়সীর রাখা নাম এটি

 

ডান দিকটায় অবিন্যস্ত বসতবাড়ি, শিশুদের আনন্দময় মাঠ পেরিয়ে

সবুজ যে আভা দেখতে পাচ্ছেন

গাঢ় থেকে হালকা হয়ে হলুদের ভেতর অনিচ্ছায় ঢুকে

ছড়িয়ে পড়েছে দিক থেকে দিগন্তে

এখান থেকেই শুরু হয়েছিল তুলির আদর

ধীরে যা ধোঁয়ায় আচ্ছন্ন তামাটে আকাশে মিশেছে

বাম দিকটায় আবির মাখা সন্ধ্যা

থমকে দাঁড়িয়ে আছে নক্ষত্রের দরজায়।

 

অসাধারন বলে তুমুল শুভেচ্ছা বৃষ্টির ভেতর থেকে

এক বয়বৃদ্ধ উঠে

ঘনিষ্ট হয়ে চিত্রটি দেখে

ভেজা কন্ঠে বললেন,

পুরো ক্যানভাস জুরে আঁকা

অসংখ্য শ্রমিকের ক্লান্ত চোখ, অনাদুরে মুখ

তাদের সং সাজা সংসারী আসবাব

স্পর্শাতীত ভালবাসার পরাগ

চুম্বনের মলিন দাগ

রঙ ওঠা স্বপ্নকে ছুঁয়ে কাব্যিক জীবন গল্পের সোহাগ।

 

সব দেখ শুনে ওই পেছন থেকে দু’একজন বলে উঠল-

ওহে সভ্যতার কারিগর,

তোমাদের সামনে কৃতজ্ঞতায় নুয়ে থাকবে

এ দুনিয়া জনম ভর।

 

বিব্রত আমি চিত্রাঙ্কনটি সরিয়ে নিচ্ছি আর বারবার বলছি দুঃখিত খুব দুঃখিত।।

Translated by Gopika Jadeja and Debobrata Basu with inputs from Souradip Bhattacharya and  Thanks to P. Mukherjee for his reading of the poems.

Mohor Khan

 

Mohor Khan, 34, was born in Munshiganj, Bangladesh. He came to Singapore in 2007 and works in the construction sector. Mohor writes sonnets but he has also written short stories, novels and non-fiction. His sonnets typically reflect social realities in Bangladesh and Singapore. Mohor likes to write sonnets because the formal structure challenges him to be more creative. He has been writing since he was 13 years old and has also acted in plays. Mohor’s favourite poets are legendary sonnet writers Michael Modhusudhan and Petrarch.

ল্যাম্পপোস্ট 

Lamp Post

  • খান

নিকৃণ যানবাহনের জনদুর্ভোগমুক্ত সমাকীর্ণ এ পথ -
এই শহরের সভ্য জাতির হিয়ার মত অম্লান।
প্রাসাদের কারুকার্যে বৈচিত্র্যময়
এই শহর,
মানব শিশুর  মত অত্যন্ত  যত্নে গড়া বৃক্ষরাজি
পাতার ফাঁকে ফাঁকে কোকিলকন্ঠে চিরবসন্তের যাদুকরি সুর।
এতদিনে এই স্বপ্নের শহর আমার অস্তিত্বকে গ্রাস করেছে !
রোজ আমার হৃদয়ের নিতল ভালবাসার নিখুঁত ছোঁয়ায় -
এ শহর, এ সিংহজননী যৌবনের ক্রমাগত  আতিশয্যে উজ্জীবিত বিশ্ব সারথি হয়ে উঠেছে যেন

দিনের পর দিন শ্রম বরণে
এই শহরের প্রতিটি স্তরে স্তরে আমার ঘামের নোনাগন্ধ তাই
আমি আজ  উন্মাদি এক শহরপ্রেমী।

আমি কি ভুলেছি? 
আমার জননী, জন্মভূমিকে ?
সময়কে সংবরণ করা প্রতীক্ষিত আমার  বধুকে?
আমার বংশীয় চিহ্ন রাখবে যে ভালবাসার শিশু তাকেও ভুলেছি আমি?

না ভুলিনি!
প্রতি রাত্রে একই স্বপ্ন বার বার আমায় তন্দ্রাহীন করে তোলে,
বিরতিহীন স্বপ্নের পাতাল রেল চলে অবিরত,
অর্থের লোভে অচেনা হয়ে যায় আমার গন্তব্যের স্টপেজ,
স্বপ্নের মোহনায় সোডিয়াম ল্যাম্পপোস্টের মত আমি  একাকী,
স্বপ্নের ভিতরে
এক পা  দু পা'য়ে  মৃদু আলোয় এসে আমার প্রিয় পুত্রের কন্ঠে শোকের আর্তধ্বনি, 

আমি  একাকীত্বে শুনতে পাই,
সে বলে
বাবা তোমার কোলে  চড়ে প্রিন্স বাজারে ঘুরবো আর কবে?
তোমার কাঁদে চড়ে আকাশছোঁয়া স্বপ্ন গেল ফুরিয়ে,
আমি হাটা শিখেছি, দৌড়ুতে শিখেছি
আমি এখন  বড্ড বড় হয়ে গেছি বাবা

এত দিনে তোমার ভালবাসার সমস্ত সত্ত্বা ভুলতে শিখেছি।
বাবা আমি বড্ড বড় হয়ে গেলাম।

ঘুম ভেঙ্গে  প্রতি রাতের মত আমি হই মধ্য  রাতের নিশাচর।

আমি শুধু  প্রবাসী শ্রমিক নই, একটি   পরিবারের ল্যাম্পপোস্ট।

Streets with no madding crowds, its traffic melodious 

spotless as the hearts of the civilized people of this city

diverse with crafted monuments

Trees nurtured as carefully as children

Among their branches the kokila sings

with the magical voice of forever spring

Everyday, with the perfect touch

of the bottomless love of my heart

this city, mother Singapore, has turned into

the chariot of the world

riding on the extravagance of youth

 

Day after day I labour 

Layers of this city are infused

with the salty smell of my sweat

Today I am a mad city lover 

 

Have I forgotten

My mother, my motherland?

My wife waiting for me all this time?

The child who will carry the flag of my family

Have I forgotten him too?

 

Every night, sleepless in the same dream

The underground train of dreams moves relentlessly

And the greed of money blurs my destination

At the delta of my dreams

I am as lonely as a sodium lamp post

Slowly in the dim light of my dreams

enters the miserable cry of my son 

In my loneliness I can hear him say:

Father, when will I go to Prince Bazaar

holding your hand?

The dream of reaching the sky

riding on your shoulders is over

I have learnt to walk, run

Father, I have grown up

I have learnt to forget your dear existence

Father, I have grown up

 

Every night, unable to sleep

I turn into a nocturnal creature

I am not only a migrant worker

I am the lamp post of a family

Translated by Gopika Jadeja and Debobrata Basu with inputs from Souradip Bhattacharya and  Thanks to P. Mukherjee for his reading of the poems.

Sharasyamsi Yahya

 

Sharasyamsi comes from Indonesia. She has been working in Singapore for nine years as a domestic worker. Her hobbies are singing and teaching music. She believes in learning continuously so that in the process, she can also help her family.

ENGKAU

Engkau,

Jadilah angin bagi awan-awanku

hingga aku tak lagi ragu berarak

Ke tempat niat tujuan kita

 

Engkau,

Jadilah angin bagi layang-layangku

hingga aku tak lagi takut mengarungi

angkasa harapan kita

 

Engkau,

Jadilah angin bagi semua kehidupan

Yang bisa menuntun jalan mereka

dan jalanku untuk kembali

meniti inspirasi dua hati

 

Engkau,

Jadilah angin yang menghidupkan angan-anganku

cita dan cintaku

hanya engkau mimpiku

berharap kita bersatu

satu dalam restu

yang tak lagi tabu

You

You,

Be the wind to my clouds

so that I may go forth confidently

to our destination

 

You,

Be the wind to my kite

so that I no longer fear crossing

the skies of our hopes

 

You,

Be the wind to all life

Show them the way

and my way back

treading the inspiration of two hearts

 

You,

Be the wind that gives life to my dreams

my hope and my love

you alone are my dream

may we be joined

in a blessed union

that is no longer taboo

Translated From Bahasa Indonesia by Looi Siew Teip

N Rengarajan

 

N Rengarajan, 29, was born in Pudukkotti, Tamil Nadu, India. He came to Singapore in 2014 and works in the construction sector.  Rengarajan’s poems are often satirical and make fun of politicians and social ills. He has won awards in several poetry competitions in India. His favourite poet is the Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu

"வெளிநாட்டு வாழ்கையின் கூட்டலும் கழித்தலும்"

The calculations of migrant life

கூட்டல்
    * எங்கள் தாய் நாட்டில்  சிலர்
       விளைநிலத்தை விற்று படித்துவிட்டு
       வேலை தேடி அழைகிறார்கள்!
       நாங்கள் இங்கு வேலையால் உழைப்பை விற்று
      அங்கு விளை(லை) நிலத்தை வாங்குகிறோம்!

*    தாய்நாட்டின் நாணய மதிப்பு
      சொந்த நாட்டில் இருப்பவர்களை விட
      வந்த நாட்டில் இருக்கும் எங்களுக்குத்தான்
      அதிகம் தெரியும்!

*   நாங்கள் இங்கு இருப்பதால்தான்
    அடிக்கடி வங்கிகளுக்கே !
    சென்றுகொண்டிருந்த எங்கள் வீட்டு நகைகள்
    நிரந்தரமாக தங்குகின்றன வீட்டிலேயே!

*   வங்கியில் கடன் கணக்கிலேயே
     பணம் செலுத்தி பழக்கப்பட்ட
     என் பரம்பரை
     இப்போதுதான் சேமிப்பு கணக்கில் செலுத்துகிறது!

*  அருகில் இருந்தால்
    வயது கோளாரில்
    என் ஆண்டவர்களிடம் (அம்மா , அப்பா)
    சண்டையிட்டாலும் இடுவேன் என்று
    தொலைவில் கூட்டிவந்து பாசத்தை அதிகப்படுத்திய
    வெளிநாட்டு வாழ்கைக்கு நன்றி!

கழித்தல்
      *  இது ஒரு
         பணவாசம் தேடிய
         வனவாசம்!

      *  திருமணம் ஆனவர்களுக்கும்,
          ஆகாதவர்களுக்கும்
          கிடைத்த தற்காலிக துறவு வாழ்கை!
         
      *  திருமணத்தை தள்ளிப்போடுவதில்
          ஜாதக  தோஷத்தை விட கொடியது
          இந்த வெளிநாட்டு வாழ்கை!

        * காதலுக்கும்,வெளிநாட்டு வாழ்கைக்கும்
           ஒரு சிறு வித்தியாசம்தான்
           காதலில் நடக்காததை யெல்லாம் கனவு காண்போம்!
           இதில் நடப்பதையே கனவாக காண்கிறோம்! 


           ஆம்! நாங்கள் இங்கே! எங்கள் உறவுகள் அங்கே!
           ஒற்றுமை என்னவென்றால்
           இரண்டிலுமே! வலிகள் அதிகம்!

    *    என்னதான் பணம் இருந்தாலும்
          பரம ஏழைகளும்
          நாங்களும் ஒன்றுதான்
          நல்ல சோற்றுக்கு ஏங்குவதால்!

    *   வெளிநாட்டு வாழ்கையில்
          விலைமதிக்க முடிந்த
          எல்லாவற்றையும் வாங்கிவிடலாம்!
          விலைமதிக்க முடியாத
          அன்பையும், பாசத்தையும் தவிர!

    *   நாங்கள் வாழ்வது
         வெளிநாட்டு வாழ்கை அல்ல!
         எங்கள் வாழ்கையே வெளிநாடு!

                                                       என். ரெங்கராஜன்

Pluses

 

Back home, people have sold

paddy fields to pay for education

but have no jobs.

 

Here we sell labour

to buy paddy fields back home.

 

**

 

We who labour

know the true exchange rate

of our home currency.

 

**

 

Our jewellery was often with the bank.

Now that we are here

our jewellery remains home.

 

**

 

Our forefathers

used to pay money into loan accounts.

Now, we have savings accounts.

 

**

 

Our dynasties used to grow

on the strength of loans.

Now we save for our progeny.

 

**

 

Perhaps, proximity

and vagrancies of youth

led to arguments with my parents.

 

Thanks to migrant life,

distances have increased

and so have affections.

 

 

Minuses

 

We are lured

by the smell of money

into exile

 

**

 

Both the married and the unmarried

are temporarily transformed

into ascetics.

 

**

 

When it comes to marriage

life in a foreign land

proves crueler than a

flawed horoscope

 

**

 

There is little difference between love

and life in a foreign land.

In love we dream of events that may not happen.

In exile, life is a waking dream.

 

We are here, our relatives are there.

Both love and life in exile

mean pain.  

 

**

 

We have money

yet are no different from the poor –

like them, we long for good food.

 

**

 

Living in a foreign land

we can buy everything that has a price

but love and affection

 

**

 

Ours is not a foreign life

Our lives are foreign to us.

Translated from the Tamil by Krishna Udayasankar and Gopika Jadeja.

Thanks to Mythily Anandakumar for help in reading the poem. She works at the café at the United World College of South East Asia, Dover.

Sandeep Kaur

 

Sandeep is from Punjab (India) and has been in Singapore since 2013, working as a domestic worker. She has many dreams and is confident that she will achieve her dreams one day. She is hard working and likes to write in her free time. On her off day, Sandeep goes to AIDHA to learn financial management. She looks forward to running her own business one day.

Untitled Poem

Untitled Poem

ਮੇਰਾ ਨਾਮ ਸੰਦੀਪ ਕੌਰ ਹੈ । ਮੈਂ ਭਾਰਤੀ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਲੜਕੀ ਹਾਂ ਅਤੇ ਸਿੰਘਪੁਰ ਵਿੱਚ ਪਿਛਲੇ ਪੌਣੇ ਤਿੰਨ ਸਾਲ ਤੋਂ ਕੰਮ ਕਰ ਰਹੀ ਹਾਂ ।

        ਭਾਰਤ ਵਿੱਚ ਇੱਕ ਬਹੁਤ ਹੀ ਬੁਰੀ ਬਿਮਾਰੀ ਫੈਲੀ ਹੋਈ ਆ ਕਿ ਕੁੜੀਆ ਨੂੰ ਜਨਮ ਲੈਣ ਤੋ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ ਹੀ ਮਾਰ ਦੇਣਾ । ਕਹਿਣ ਨੂੰ ਅੱਜ ਸਬ ਜਾਣਦੇ ਆ ਕਿ ਭਰੂਣ ਹੱਤਿਆ ਕਿੱਨਾ ਵੱਡਾ ਪਾਪ ਆ ਪਰ ਫਿਰ ਵੀ ਆਏ ਦਿਨ ਖਬਰਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਇਹ ਪੜਣ ਨੂੰ ਮਿਲਦਾ ਆ ।

          ਇਸ ਕਵਿਤਾ ਵਿੱਚ ਇੱਕ ਅਣਜੰਮੀ ਧੀ 'ਤੇ ਉਸਦੀ ਮਾਂ ਅਪਣੇ ਦਿਲ ਦੀਆਂ ਕੁਝ ਗੱਲਾਂ ਕਰ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਆ ।

 

ਧੀ...

 

ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਵੀ ਜਿਊਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਵੀ ਇਸ ਦੁਨਿਆ 'ਚ ਆਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਤੇਰੀ ਗੋਦੀ ਦਾ ਸੁੱਖ ਪਾਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਬਾਪੂ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਰੁਸ਼ਣਾਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਵੀਰੇ ਦੇ ਗੁੱਟ ਤੇ ਰੱਖੜੀ ਸੁਝਾਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਵੀ ਜਿਊਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਨੀ ਮਾਏਂ ਤੇਰੀ ਧੀ ਅਖਵਾਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਆਂਗਣ ਚ ਕਿਕਲੀ ਪਾਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਨੀ ਮਾਂਏ ਤੇਰਾ ਦੁੱਖ-ਸੁੱਖ ਵਡਾਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਇਸ ਸੋਹਣੀ ਦੁਨਿਆਂ ਦਾ ਅਨੰਦ ਪਾਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਅੰਬਰਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਉਚਾਈਆਂ ਛੂਹ ਜਾਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਨੀ ਮਾਂ ਤੈਨੂੰ ਮਾਂ ਬੁਲਾਉਣ ਦੀ

 ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਵੀ ਜਿਉਣ ਦੀ...ਹਸਰਤ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਵੀ ਜਿਉਣ ਦੀ...।

 

ਮਾਂ....

 

ਖੁਸ਼ ਹੋਈ ਸੀ ਬੜਾ ਮੈਵੀ

 ਪਤਾ ਲੱਗਾ ਜਦੋਂ ਮੈਨੂੰ, ਮੇਰੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਹੋ ਇੱਕ ਨਿੱਕਾ ਜਿਹਾ ਜੀਅ

 ਦਿਨ ਗੁਜ਼ਰੇ ਰਾਤਾਂ ਗੁਜ਼ਰੀਆਂ ਸੰਜੋਇਆ ਇੱਕ ਮੈਵੀ ਸੁਪਣਾ ਤੇਰੇ ਲਈ

 ਮੇਰੇ ਕਾਲਜੇ ਦਾ ਟੁਕੜਾ ਤੂ ਸੀ ਬਣ ਗਈ

 ਕਦੀ ਮੈ ਇਹ ਨਹੀ ਸੀ ਚਾਹਿਆ ਕੀ ਤੂ ਬਣ ਜੇ ਮੈਰੀ ਅਣਜੰਮੀ ਧੀ

 ਮਰਦ ਪਰਧਾਣ ਸਮਝ ਨਾਲ ਮੈਂ ਲੜ ਨਾ ਸਕੀ

 ਇਸ ਦੁਨਿਆ ਦੇ ਕਾਲੇ ਰੀਤੀ ਰਿਵਾਂਜਾ ਕੋਲੋ ਮੈ ਵੀ ਡਰ ਗਈ

 ਹੁੰਦਾ ਦੇਖ ਕੇ ਅਤਿਆਚਾਰ ਨਿੱਕਿਆ-ਨਿੱਕਿਆ ਬਚੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਇੱਕ ਕੌੜਾ ਘੁਟ ਮੈਂ ਵੀ ਗਈ ਪੀ

 ਹੁਣ ਤੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਬਸ ਸੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਸੀਨੇ ਚ ਹਰ ਵਕਤ ਤੇਰੀ ਪੀੜ

 ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਲਈ ਮੇਰੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਹੀ ਦਫਣ ਹੋ ਗਈ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰੀ ਅਣਜੰਮੀ ਧੀ..।

Daughter—

 

I want to live

to come into this world

 

lie happy in your lap

make my father proud

tie a rakhi on my brother’s wrist

 

I want to live

 

I wanted to

be called your daughter

play in your courtyard

share in your happiness and your grief

 

I wanted to live in this beautiful world

To touch the skies

 

I wanted to call you mother

 

I wanted to live too

 

Mother—

 

I was happy too

when I knew I had a little life growing

inside me

 

Days passed and nights

I sowed a dream for you

 

You were a part of my being

 

I never wished for you to become

my unborn daughter

 

I could not fight this patriarchal society

I was afraid of the dark customs of this world

 

I saw the victims, little girls

and swallowed the poison

 

You were not with me

But your pain remained in my heart

 

You were buried forever within me

My unborn daughter

Translated by Gopika Jadeja with Manpreet Kaur

Glory Ann R. Balista

 

Gloria is a proud Filipina and proud to be a FDW in Singapore for almost 5 years. Whatever she writes is based on her experiences and feelings. The poem that she has written for the contest is all about a mother's feelings and wishes for her children, for being away or for leaving them at their young age. She dedicates her submitted poem to her son and to all FDW's children, to let them feel how the parents loved them and to let them know that they're not the only one who feel sadness, pain, and suffering; their parents feel the same too. She is also one of Aidha students in UWCS. 

Pangungulila at Hiling ng Ina sa kanyang Anak

Sa aking pag-alis

Dibdib ko'y puno ng hinagpis.

Nadaramang lungkot sa puso ko'y..

Sadyang aking tinitiis.

Sa pagtulog ko sa gabi

Iniisip ko na sana,

ika'y aking katabi

Pilit kung pinipikit,

ang aking mga mata...

Ngunit di mapigil ang pagpatak ng mga luha.

Patawad anak ko...

Dahil sa murang edad mo,

ako'y lumayo.

Sana'y maunawaan mo

Dahil hangad ko lamang maibigay..

Ang magandang kinabukasan para sa iyo...

Sana antayin mo, ang aking pagbabalik

Dahil ako'y sabik na sabik ,

na makasama ka ulit.

Huwag ka sanang magtanim,

ng matinding galit..

Dahil ang malayo sayo'y..

Sadyang napakahirap at napakasakit.

Sana'y dinggin mo, Anak!

Itong aking munting hiling,

Na ako'y bigyang pagkakataon..

Na muling ipadarama sa iyo,.

Ang pagmamahal ko at paglalambing.

Desolation and Request of Mother to Son

My departure

 filled with resentment.

Feelings of sadness in my heart

I just endure.

When I sleep at night

I wish,

you are next to me

I try to close my eyes. . .

But cannot stop the tears flowing.

Forgive me my son

Because I have been distant

Since you were little.

I hope you understand

I just wanted to make

A bright future for you

I wish that you wait,

for my return

Because I was so eager,

to be with you again.

I wish you will not hoard,

so much anger.

Because being far with you

Is very difficult and painful.

Hopefully you hear, Son!

This is my little wish,

That I have to create opportunities

To again express to you

My love and tenderness.

Translated from the Tagalog by Dawn R Flores and Shivaji Das.

Rolinda O. Espanola

 

RoIinda is from Bacolod, the Philippines, the city of smiles. She has been employed as a domestic worker for 3 years with her ‘very supportive and kind’ employer, the Sim family.

Her poem is a very personal message for her daughter who celebrated her 7th birthday recently and for all those missed events while working here.

My Wish

I wish to see you blow those candles each year

To be a part of the crowd who sing and cheer

 I wish to be on that stage every school end

To see those beaming smile when medals and ribbons pinned

I wish to give you bathe, dress up and tie your hair

To hold your hand and walk to school

and be glad if you say its my mom standing there

I wish to hug you every time you come home crying

To make your milk and on the light if your dreaming

But more than that I wish to be a good mother

And the fact that I can't be if I have to stay there

So here I am going far from you

And wish someday you'll understand what did I do

To work abroad is the only decent act I know

To support your education and give a better tomorrow

Those are simple wishes that can easily be granted

But the reality I have to stay here though going home is what I wanted.

Hou Wei

 

Born in Nanchang, Jiangxi in China, Houwei, holds a diploma from Jiangxi Technological Institute of Education. Hou Wei came to Singapore in 2011 and works in a logistics company. He writes in his leisure time and favors Chinese classical poems, especially the 8-line poems. His favorite writers  include Li Bai, Du Fu, Bai Juyi, and he loves “Three Kingdom” and “Three Hundreds poems from  Tang Dynasty”. His hobbies include watching movies, reading, playing basketball and traveling.

乙未杂诗

Random poem in 2015

千里过番落南洋,廿岁卅载未还乡。

孤衾残枕话凄凉,夜闻霪雨入寒窗。

沧桑羁旅多少秋,转徙图存鬓白头。

艋艟难载桑梓愁,唯把星洲作神州

I crossed a thousand miles and settled in the foreign land of Nanyang.

It has been twenty to thirty years since I returned to my hometown.

Loneliness left its residue all over my pillow and blanket,

At night I heard the downpour seeping through my shabby window.

 

How many autumns have it been since I got trapped in a strange land?

Moving around and struggling until my hair has gone grey.

Even the ship cannot bear the load of my homesickness,

All I can do is to imagine Singapore as China.

Translated from the Chinese by Yolanda Yu and Yu Yan Chen.​

Grimaldo Nora Rioflorido

 

Nora Grimaldo is from Manila, the Philippines. For the last six years, she has been working as domestic worker in Singapore. Prior to arriving in Singapore, she was employed in a Hotel Restaurant. While in Singapore, she has developed passion for local culture. She believes in lifelong learning and is undertaking micro-business entrepreneurship course at AIDHA.

The Journey of My Life

There is a woman in my mind

As I wrote a poem tonight

I feel like she is always in my side

And become my candle that gives me a light

She decided to leave the country

As she faced her own journey In a place that has a lot of opportunity

For the sake of her beloved family

As her journey starts on

She knows she needs to be strong

From the time she felt alone

She will stand on her own

Because she wants to earn money

To achieve on the glory

Not only for herself and also for the family

She needs to work in other country

When she woke up in the morning

She starts the day with a Prayer

Praying for the health and safety of everyone

And thanking for what He done

While at work she always thinking

In her mind she always asking

She will do is look up in the sky, and answer is searching

And everytime she do that she always keep smiling

Because she know God is there watching everybody

Watching everybody and also with her

So she got a peace of mind day by day

While she is in the other country that stay

She will get a box and put something

Her heart, gifts and all everything

For the little boys and girls, she has everything

Although for herself she left nothing

And when the night fall, after tiring the whole day

She will sat and stare in a wall

Thinking what will gonna say

Then she will end her night

Praying For the God she always wishing

Always strong, healthy, happy long life

For the success of her JOURNEY

she went by She will sleep late at night

And she will wake up before the sunrise

That’s all she do all her life

This is her THE JOURNEY OF MY LIFE

For her love that never been lost...

Anjia Mutiara (Ratini)

 

Ratini, 28, is from Kebumen, Central Java, Indonesia. She began working in Singapore since 2013. She likes reading and writing because it makes her feel like she is living through the story.

KEPAKKAN SAYAPMU

Let my Wings Flap

Di sana, dalam wadah penuh cita

Menunggu gesit jiwa kesatria

Memapah semangat yang membara

Kuat, hengkang dari segala prahara

 

Di sana, sinar kesuksesan melambai

Mengayuh pedal diri tanpa lunglai

Membangun di atas pondasi

Hingga menjulang tinggi

 

Kepakkan sayapmu

Hingga mewarnai mega biru

Melesat secepat kilat tanpa ragu

Membubung tinggi hingga tercapai semua asamu

Terhapus derai air matamu

Terbayar tunai tetesan peluhmu

Tanpa ragu,

Kau tersenyum pada dunia

Dan kau teriakan

Inilah ketegaranku!

There, in a vessel full of hope

Waits nimbly the spirit of a warrior

Fostering burning zeal

Tough, far from all storms

 

There, the light of success waves

Pedalling without weakness

Building on the foundation

Rising high

 

Let my wings flap

Till they fill the pale clouds with colour

Streak like lightning, single-minded,

Soar high to reach all my goals

Banish my stream of tears

Wipe my dripping sweat

With my wages.

 

Single-minded

You face the world with a smile

And shout

I have persevered!

Translated From Bahasa Indonesia by Looi Siew Teip​

Pujiati

 

Pujiati is from Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia. . She likes to write micro-poem when she has free time, especially Haiku and Sonian. She has joined HaikuKu Indonesia, Sonian, 

Haiku and micropoetry International group on facebook. She finds sharing her feelings in a short poem an amazing experience. She is also active at Sekolah Indonesia Singapura as a student of the Open University and volunteers at PMUT (Perhimpunan Mahasiswa 

Universitas Terbuka ),Singapore on her off-day.

KERINDUAN

Yearning

Memandang lautan

Rasa tenggelam

Paling dalam

Hatimu

 

 

Debur ombak laut

menghanyut rasa

Biru rindu

Cintaku

 

Lambaian sang nyiur

Memanggil rasa

Dua hati

Menyatu

Gazing at the sea

I feel myself drowning

In the depths

Of your heart

 

The roar of the waves

washes away

the melancholy

Of my love-longing

 

The waving coconut palms

Tell of how it feels

When two hearts

Become one

Translated From Bahasa Indonesia by Looi Siew Teip​

Guan Zhiqiang

 

Guan Zhiqiang is from Luoyang, a historical and beautiful city in China. He loved literature and calligraphy from a young age. Wang guozhen, Xu Zhimo and Zhang Ailing were his idols during high school. He never gave up calligraphy though he doubted his capability after getting only consolation prizes in competitions in high school. After Guo started working, these hobbies started fading. Now, in Singapore, being far away from home and wasting less time with friends, he finds that he has started reading again. On the day of his birthday he heard about the poetry competition which brought his memories back. He is glad to find back his old passion.

今天

写个自己作为生日礼物

Today

To myself as a birthday gift

小时候

今天

是个喜庆的日子

因为

可以吃一顿专为我做的

里面还有两个

荷包蛋

长大了

不知道

从哪一年的

今天

我讨厌了今天

不是因为

我妈做的

比饭馆的面好吃

也不是因为

小时候的面里有

荷包蛋

或许是

小时候觉得

今天以后

所有一切都是属于

我的

而现在

觉得

今天以后连我自己都越来越不属于

小时侯的盼望

长大后的盼望

一个天上

一个地上

When I was young,

Today

Used to be a happy day,

Because

I could have a feast, all for myself,

Noodles,

With two poached eggs!

 

As I grew up,

Unsure

Since which year’s

Today,

I started to hate today

 

Not because

My mum’s

Noodle

Tastes better than the restaurants’

Also not because

There were poached eggs

In the noodles from my childhood

 

Maybe because

As a child, I felt,

After today

Everything would belong to

me

 

But now

I feel

After today,

More and more so,

Even I will not belong to

myself

 

My childhood wish

My grown-up wish

One is in heaven

The other on earth

Translated from the Chinese by Yolanda Yu and Yu Yan Chen.​

Zhang Haitao

 

Zhang Haitao is from Shanxi province, China. He currently does technical work at HP in Singapore. Writing poems is his hobby. He loves Chinese classical literature and is very interested in poems though he has not read a lot of them. He has tried to write poems on various themes and forms and  one of his work is called “Collection of poems in SG”, which the submitted poem is selected from.

夜殇

Night Elegy

殇叹

叹世事

事事扰心

心身已聊残

残梦夜复难眠

眠不觉天已微凉

凉出透对月空追忆

忆故里旧景毫无厌倦

倦眼婆娑凝幽窗一灯孤

孤人独醒小阑干外寂无声

声声歌入耳却是辗转难入梦

梦里遥看春日里几番细雨梨花

花枝头处蜂蝶飞舞暖风绿了万物

物事人非只觉光阴飞逝窗棂外天白

白昼黑夜日复一日梦回长安情归西府

               -选自《坡国诗集》

Mourning

Mournful lament

Lamenting worldly things

Things that trouble the soul

Soul and body have already been broken

With broken dreams, the night is sleepless

Falling asleep not aware that it is getting cooler

Against the cool moon remembering the past

Remembering my hometown and never getting tired of the old scenery

My tired eyes tear up at the sight of a lone lamp by the window

Lonely is the man who is still awake, quiet is the little balcony outside

Outside the songs creep into my ears, though I twist and turn before entering the dreamland Dreaming of Spring days with drizzle and pear blossoms

In the blossoms bees and butterflies dance while warm breeze paints  the world green

World moves on. How time flies – dawn arrives again outside the window

Day in and night out I dream of returning to Chang’An where my love belongs

Translated from the Chinese by Yolanda Yu and Yu Yan Chen.​

Shromik Monir

 

Shromik Monir, 28, was born in Shariatpur, Bangladesh. He came to Singapore in 2010 and works in the construction sector.  Monir writes under the pseudonym ‘Shromik’ or ‘Worker’ and considers himself a rebel poet. He also writes short stories and non-fiction. Monir has been writing poems since 2008 and has won awards for his poetry in competitions organized by literary groups in Bangladesh.  Monir is always thinking about what to write and uses his time during the commute to work and during coffee breaks to write poetry using his mobile phone.  His favourite poets are Kazi Nazrul Islam and Sukanto.

Shromik

The Labourer

Craftsman of this beautiful civilization

the touch of your sweat has been erased

from the bricks of these mansions

 

Layers of damp cement

colour the courtyard and your image

will never surface in the cities crafted

like weaver birds’ nests

 

In this empire of pleasure

you will live in the dense loveless forest

with your inherited hunger

 

No one knows that you also have

Love

dreams within dreams

 

The spirits of the moon-lit night shed

the perfume of the heart on your body

smelling of sweat

 

Craftsman, after adorning the heart of the earth

one day you will lie in eternal sleep

 

Like Aminul, perhaps you will become

an unclaimed corpse by the lake

 

Maybe like Ruhul Amin, your dead body

will lose the right to touch the soil of your land

for the crime of being a migrant

 

Drowning in the brick and mortar of Rana plaza

burning in the fire of Tazreen

maybe you will disappear from the earth

 

Ignoring your sweat and blood

the earth will shine in rainbow colours

 

On an earth without your grave

On a page in the diary of a heaven dweller

you will be a history, an unread history.

Translated by Gopika Jadeja and Debobrata Basu with inputs from Souradip Bhattacharya and  Thanks to P. Mukherjee for his reading of the poems.

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