john tiong chunghoo (Jan 21,1960 / NEW YORK)
swept asunder in
and roaring wave
a sea of longing
is played, replayed
this emptiness of night
the moon and sea are
a pair of star crossed lovers
in a futile grasp of reality
they hold onto the flickers
of thoughts in each other's
bossom; an unrequited
love swept in a luminuous
tide of make-believe - -
the moon reposes in a sea
of hope, the sea lets its fate
be guided by the light - - it holds
onto the tail of the moon in
a dance of grief that has
for so long crossed their way
the leaves grovel in
a churning wheel of fate
under the gentle glow of lace
spun by the moon
they are taken out to sea
again and again in a ferocious tide
that whispers, whistles, sighs and roars
to broadcast a destiny
torn and swept in separate ways - -
never to be seen again
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
notes from wiki: Ulek Mayang (Jawi: اولق مايڠ) is a Malay traditional dance from the state of Terengganu in Malaysia. It is a ritualistic dance performed to appease or invoke the spirits of the sea and is always accompanied by a unique song also called Ulek Mayang. A traditional orchestra comprising drums, gong, violin and accordion accompanies the dance.
The Ulek Mayang is said to have its origin in an ancient tale about a sea-princess who fell in love with a fisherman. The princess abducted the fisherman's soul, leaving his body unconscious. His friends entreated a bomoh (shaman) to heal him. When the bomoh conducted the healing ritual to bring the fisherman's soul back, the princess appeared and responded by calling on five of her sisters to her aid. The battle between the bomoh and the six princesses continued until the seventh and the eldest princess appeared and put an end to it.
'I know your origins, ” says the eldest princess, and she commands everyone, 'Let those from the sea to return to the sea, and those from the land to return to the land.'
The grateful bomoh and the fisherman’s friends present the princess with coloured rice as an offering to the spirits of the sea. This practice, along with the Ulek Mayang dance, continued until the Islamic revival movement of recent decades...