Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Elisha Kamarul Shahrin


Amidst your mother’s anguish and pain,
and amidst the mid-morning rain,
sharp of nose with smiling lips, legs long and skin so fine
you cried twice
and opened your eyes

Reposing from an arduous journey and breathing softly
you looked at me briefly
turning for a moment
to see your mother after her torment

Beside your mother, I remember you in your little bed
Frocked in white from toe to head
in deep slumber, you frowned as I touched your nose
but remained in repose

Or the fleeting image of you naked and crying
and I, sitting in a corner
as your mother and her mother
cleaned and garbed you in your first new garment

Or while you lay amidst the contraptions
of science, of beeps and tubes, through night and day
amidst the hardship of the sickness you endure,
you opened your eyes to see your mother
amidst the battle of life, you uttered a whisper
to greet your father

My prayers were fervent, for an intercession
from the Book and the Messenger, putting my life as payment
But He yet came ever nearer
with His Love much dearer and His Mercy much greater

Amidst the throng of souls, I beheld your lifeless form in the hall,
again in white and that nonchalant smile
my heart broke and on my knees, I fell
and through clouded eyes, I remember your face and the peace it tells

Cradled in my arms, we drove and were for a while, solitary
within a vehicular procession to that location
of rest and repository
of faded greenery, of sepulchral mounds, of names on stones

Again and again I can see you there
down to the last timber
tranquil and peaceful, lying in the moist crimson earth
eyes closed, oblivious

Prayers being said, prayers are inadequate
to comfort the sadness which stayed
many people with many words being said,
however comforting, remain unheard

Images of you have been brief and intermittent
like photographs in a lean book, remaining unconnected
pages open and close, unfettered
for days on end, keeping alive that adverse matrimony
of miracle and calamity.

by Kamarul Shahrin

(Elisha was born on August 31. She left on September 4 but for every August of every year after that, I cannot forget that day)