Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two poems by Sheena Baharudin


I see green,
lined with movements everywhere,
and I ask myself if this is really home.

Do I see my soul in it?
Would I die for it?
Would I find my ancestors
dwelling in this same strange land?

Or have they eloped to a place
never to taste race?
never to uncover blood deep inside our Mother's womb?
never to swallow made up myths of memories?

never to ever to

Maybe one day I'll find them here
Maybe one day I could still find home
Maybe one day
I'll feel goosebumps forming on my skin
as each passing hot wind
beckons me to stay.

Listen to this poem:

Creative processSheena Baharudin: I wrote this back in 2006. I was reading poems by Ee Tiang Hong, became really melancholic, and began to question the concept of exile and whether or not I would one day feel the exact sense of belonging shared by my ancestors when they first decided to make this land home. It's hard when the only way to fit in this country is to tick that vulgar check box in forms. I encourage my students to ponder on this, find the answer/solution and try to create a better nation for the future generations. Ironically, I'm still finding the answer up until now.



7 a.m.
cool breezy,
me looking as muslim as muslim can be when:

She sees me,
points at me,
roots me out from my solid ground:
"awak ni keling ke?",
she asks me accusingly,

Funny how seconds stretch into eternities when one is under the scrutiny of a thousand eyes giggling, laughing, demeaning -

Funny how
in one word short
she undermines the sufferings of my grandfather,
him chained to the feet in a land
he was brought to slave in,
him making sounds that would soon define who he is.

Kling kling kling,
goes the sound of the chains
kling kling kling,
goes the sound of me.

Funny how
in one word short,
she forgets that her ancestors and mine
shared the same faith and blood line
we used to revere together at the breasts of
Shiva, Ganesh and Kali.
Yes, Kali the mighty goddess who
a thousand armies
with the beat of her violent dancing.

kling kling kling,
goes the sound of her anklets
kling kling kling,
goes the sound of me.

7 a.m.
hot scorching,
me looking as keling as keling can be
a crying girl was all
that was left of me.

that WORD became me.

Listen to this poem:

Creative processSheena Baharudin: I've always, for as long as I could remember, consider myself Malaysian and am not bound by races. Hence, I was inspired to write this poem in Jacob Sam-La Rose's poetry workshop when he asked us to remember a specific memory that made an impact on us the most until now. Remember that saying, "stick and stones may break my bones, but hard words cannot hurt me"? Apparently, we all know that it can (eventhough we tend to deny it), maybe not physically but emotionally. This poem is my response to the racist remark I couldn't breathe into life 8 years ago. I know better now.

© 2008 Sheena Baharudin

Sheena Baharudin is a poet, quiz addict, practising spoken-word artist, rusty classical guitarist, ravenous reader and educator of literature at a local university. At a very young age she realised that her hearthrobs consist of Rumi, Khayyam, Milton, A. Samad Said and other gorgeous lover of words. She has performed (and will perform) her poetry alongside established poets, including Edwin Thumboo, Wong Phui Nam, Tanure Ojaide and others, at various events in Kuala Lumpur. Read more of her poems at her website

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