T (no first name) Wignesan


Bedtime on Tramp


He woke down the slope, by the hay
With him a thousand shrill cries
That stilled to him, yawning.
He moved with strands of hay, trailing
On his rags.
Sauntering, he is a flaneur...
The road lamps gave him away.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

Half-way on a bridge over its side
He saw a bridge in Japanese ruin
Chaffing in the hurrying waters below.
He cursed the Japs for lying fallow
Spouting his rheum.
Pondering, he is a sinner...
He knelt for those braves, never to ride.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

A gale rolled down the road in dust,
Churning it up, a regular willy-willy.
The fizzing trees corked: the shutters' hinges off.
His eyes sore: swaying he would cough.
He stood now willy-nilly.
Thinking, he is a fritterer...
He chased the trapping miasma, loping his Wellingtons' lust.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

The rains were bursting heavy on the esplanade,
A rocky splash soared with spray from the waves.
He sought the bulwark of the stony balustrade,
The waters were rising over the promenade
Like columns of graves.
Musing, he is a shirker...
He plunged into the sea, bold as a blade.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.?

He helped himself up to the wind's foremost blow
On a hillock where the moon searched his impecunious pockets,
Waking a flood in his eyes like swelled teats.
He opened wide to receive the Lady, this Endymion cheats,
No worm-wood virus but sweet philtre phials.
Finishing, he is a lover...
He sought the bosom of Erebus in her wildest glow.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

A scavenger cat clawing a bushman's billy-can
Some hard laid by in his work, purred with surveillance
In disgust over him turning tins over in the bin.
Together he cast the lid by to biltong and raisin:
The cat devours, he abandons the prandial dance.
Pausing, he is a server...
He ate them all like yams those starved seamen.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

Over the mellowy orchard, for a while he blotted,
Down the glen he skied on the mossy rock
And rubbed clean in the steamy fume of the fall.
Clambering on the paddock, the love-grass over him gall
His rag-patches, bee-combed, mock.
Swearing, he is a dreamer...
He tore tearfully through the palliasse of touch-me-not.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

Now upon the road of life, he chanced
And espied himself the mutest spectre dust,
Cruising his hour in the propelled sleep of night.
He saw himself waft from this mount to that bight
And saw it was not wont or just.
Laughing, he is a god...
But this infidel purpose of man be countenanced.

He moved and with him, his bed
And time moved.

(©: T. Wignesan,1948 (from the collection: T. Wignesan. Tracks of a Tramp. Kuala Lumpur-Singapore: 1961.)

Submitted: Friday, July 13, 2012

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