The Lamp’s Flame; A tribute to Emily Dickinson’s altruism

Emily Dickinson had an active imagination, which
fortunately, she devoted to the service of poetry.
We salute this weaver of words, and her bard’s loom
of originality. A setback in Emily’s literary career was her editors’

Emily was saddened that editors changed her words and
the punctuation of the six poems of hers, which
were published while she was living.
Emily understood that by an altruistic act, one can gain
satisfaction and meaning,
When she wrote in her poem, not in vain, “if i can stop
one heart from breaking, i shall not live in vain.”
Indeed, Emily, who found a purpose when she could”help
one fainting robin unto his nest again.”
Has furnished quite a cozy nest of poetic legacy, which
survives and remains, like the lamp’s flame of light
in a library room when it rains

Note: by joan kikel danylak, taken from sireh & cengkeh zine #1

views of seas, boats, rivers, small wooden houses and girls in kurung

I used to travel a lot, tailing my parents to few countries like Australia, Bali, Los Angeles, Switzerland, New Zealand, Austria and Saudi Arabia. But those were the times when I was still a child, and all I could remember was fighting and quarrelling with my brother all the time. After my mother fell sick when I was about 12, we don't travel anymore, regarding her condition with disable needs.

However, the course I am majoring in (architecture) gave me good opportunities to travel. Most of my works relating to my course involve observation of different places.

pick of the week When I was studying in UTM Skudai, I had to stay in Malacca for about a month where I was assigned to measure an old building and re-draw it on papers. I found Malacca very interesting because it still preserve the old style of town planning, but we're living it on present time. Somehow the atmosphere and presence of the way of life, practiced hundreds of years ago can still be felt when I stand in a middle of small roads surrounded with old shop houses in Malacca.

But I love Kedah more. Maybe because I never had that kind of kampung, my heart will jump exitingly as I passed the green paddy fields. I love it when I was being taken to the deepest place in villages, only to found orgasmic views of seas, boats, rivers, small wooden houses and girls in kurung. The innocence seen in Kedah sort of reminded me of my origin as a Malay, as a Malaysian. The place is all about my idea of serene, an idea of a good place to grow up I felt people who was born in Kedah are very lucky. Not that in any other states is less interesting, but there is something about Kedah that captured my heart, that made my heart feels heavy to leave the place.

As I continued my study in United Kingdom, I got to join a field trip to New York, which I think was the best so far on overseas. New York is surrounded; actually packed of tall buildings of at least 20 stories high. I found it as a place where great architecture was grouped in one place and walking in street of Manhattan was like walking in an outdoor gallery. New York too, probably the place where I felt so small, I couldn't imagine what a 10 year old kid must've felt like standing in New York. Even in my head, I knew that the Petronas Tower is higher than the Empire State, but somehow the Empire State seemed more gigantic along with other tall buildings around it.

And the thing about New York is that every single faces of New Yorker reflects a survivor look. Unlike the British which is well known with their reserved and play-safe culture. I like the idea of the view of city itself giving an impression of challenge, and made you wondered what does a city like that has got to offer to you.

When people ask if I like to travel, I honestly do not know the answer to it. I hate having to catch a plane, or bus or train. I think having to be in places where I've been was just plain fate – I just happen to be there. I would definately love to see more of the outside world. Being in people's places will always remind me of how much I love home, and how true when people say home is where the heart is.

I think with that, it will always keep me on the ground.

shaliza mokhtar – ~

Cerita yang berikutnya

Semuanya nampak lancar. makin mudah. harga tol sahaja yang memeningkan kepala. Pusing-pusing dengan kereta cari toto di carefour yang terletak berdekatan sahaja sudah makan 2-3 hinggit. belum masuk kos minyak. moralnya, jangan pakai kereta berkapasiti 1300 ke atas kalau tak mampu. kalau mampu, tu lain kes. kita bukan doktor atau kuat bergaya. masa seperti inilah kancil nampak sebagai satu alternatif yang paling bijak.

Nak dijadikan cerita, dalam perjalanan ke KL untuk mendaftar di MINDEF, pangilan dari sebuah kilang di Bukit Jelutung membuka kembali ‘option’ aku dalam memilih kerjaya. antara duit dan sekuriti. Duit? memang perlu. Tapi semua masih terbuka.

Dan nak dijadikkan cerita seram, aku terima satu panggilan dan gadis dihujung talian memberitahu tentang pelung menyambung pelajaran. Ujian, khamis ini. Aku makin ternganga.

Beijing’s Virgin Snow, 2002 - These days I can’t forget ~ by Sam Seen

en fingers, the interiors of feet
laced with icicles, empty on the inside
Men resembling farmers gather for warmth; the public bus
arrives, doves turn leisurely amongst the branches
the white smoke chokes some county in this state.
Imprints my soles on this Beijing's virgin snows
No one understands my Nanyang features
They are so eye-catching

The plain scenic view encompasses her history, culture
Once alighted, shed an outer layer of skin immediately
Underneath my face is a void.
One-way and circuit subway tracks that are parsimonious
Wandering men searching for gazes everywhere
examining new irises. My
stomach opens, the cold air inside this San Li Tun area
Snowflakes dyed themselves yellow under the streetlights
for a second; tomorrow they will read the winter
that is me left-over memories and dead bodies.

These days I can't forget, like yesterday's you
and your warmth. The winter that we thought we imagined
seems like a small nagging pain in the past—- the first menstruation,
the moment of a wet dream; but we had missed them
We've matured after a passing tropical rain
"Winter is cold, snowflakes are beautiful." I said.

These days I can't forget, like yesterday's you.
I don't want to recall these days when I remembered
you and those words I told you: we have erred.

Original written in Chinese on 18-12-2002 in Bangkok
Translated into English by Tan Hua Biao on 2-6-2004

Bangkok Sounds ~ by Sam Seen

Three days, in Bangkok, the last day
I walked towards the market, opposite
some bus stop turning, stole a glance from used-item girl:
nodding. smiling. cupped hands.

I do not desire
too much time for slumber. Bangkok. Fair weather.
On a Tut Tut along that narrow river path
a wooden boat slide past, both sides passengers
sit quietly in a single file; some wipe away the water droplets, some
rest with eyes shutted; over the wooden ladder, onboard, onshore;
the Tut Tut and wooden boat each has passengers with clear directions
except me, leaning on the railings imagining a traveler
playing different possible roles and a foreign romance

On the way back, I stood to admire
the girl leaning against a pillar pressing her ears
listening to a small radio. Tossed a few coins
jukebox vomits out: "One Night In Bangkok".
She discovers me standing there, her body
as if making a sound – I rush urgently towards
the gushing traffic flow, just to elucidate that sound
The girl waves her hand, as if to communicate
but whatever she says even she says I can't understand—- whole-heartedly I wish to become the gliding wooden boat
carrying the girl's body, carrying
the sounds within her body

Original written in Chinese on 7-9-2003 in Bangkok
Translated into English by Tan Hua Biao on 2-6-2004