Dost thou love life?

Then do not squander time,

for that is the stuff life is made of.

-Benjamin Franklin

In the Midst of Hardship 
by Latiff Mohidin

At dawn they returned home

their soaky clothes torn

and approached the stove

their limbs marked by scratches

their legs full of wounds

but on their brows

there was not a sign of despair

The whole day and night just passed

they had to brave the horrendous flood

in the water all the time

between bloated carcasses

and tiny chips of tree barks

desperately looking for their son’s

albino buffalo that was never found

They were born amidst hardship

and grew up without a sigh or a complaint

now they are in the kitchen, making

jokes while rolling their ciggarete leaves.

He Had Such Quiet Eyes
 by Bibsy Soenharjo

He had such quiet eyes

She did not realise

They were two pools of lies

Layered with thinnest ice

To her, those wuiet eyes

Were breathing desolate sighs

Imploring her to be nice

And to render him paradise

If only she’d been wise

And had listened to the advice

Never to compromise

With pleasure-seeking guys

She’d be free from ‘the hows and whys’

Now here’s a bit of advice

Be sure that nice really nice

Then you’ll never be losing at dice

Though you lose your heart once or twice.

 by H.D. Carberry

We have neither Summer nor Winter

Neither Autumn nor Spring.

We have instead the days

When the gold sun shines on the lush green canefields-


The days when the rain beats like bullet on the roofs

And there is no sound but thee swish of water in the gullies

And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds.

Also there are the days when leaves fade from off guango trees’

And the reaped canefields lie bare and fallow to the sun.

But best of all there are the days when the mango and the logwood blossom

When bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey,

When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air,

When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars

And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone.

Are You Still Playing Your Flute? 
by Zurinah Hassan

Are you still playing your flute?

When there is hardly time for our love

I am feeling guilty

To be longing for your song

The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo

Uncovered by the breath of an artist

Composed by his fingers

Blown by the wind

To the depth of my heart.

Are you still playing your flute?

In the village so quiet and deserted

Amidst the sick rice fields

While here it has become a luxury

To spend time watching the rain

Gazing at the evening rays

Collecting dew drops

Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

Are you still playing your flute?

The more it disturbs my conscience

to be thinking of you

in the hazard of you

my younger brothers unemployed and desperate

my people disunited by politics

my friend slaughtered mercilessly

this world is too old and bleeding

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