Si Tenggang’s Homecoming

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the physical journey that i traverse

is the journey of the soul,
transport of the self from a fatherland
to a country collected by sight and mind.
the knowledge the sweats from it
is estranger’s experience,
from one who had learnt to see, reflect
and choose between
the challenging actualities.

its true i have growled at my mother and
grandmother,
but only after having told them my predicament
that they have never brought to consideration
the wife that i began to love in my loneliness,
in the country that alienated me,
they enveloped in their pre-judgment.
i have not entirely returned, i know,
having been changed by time and place.
coarsed by problems
estranged by absence.

but look.
i have brought myself home,
seasoned by faith.
broadened by land and language,
i am no longer afraid of the oceans
of the differences between people,
no longer easily snared
no words of ideas
 
the journey was a loyal teacher,
who was never tardy
in explaining cultures and variousness.
look i am just like you.
still malay,
sensitive to what
i believe is good,
and more ready to understand
 
than my brothers.
the contents of these boats are yours too,
because i have returned.

travel makes me
a seeker who does not take
what is given without sincerity
or that which demands payment from
beliefs.
the years at sea and in coastal state
have thought me to choose,
to accept only those tested by
comparison,
or that which matches the roads of my
ancestors,
which returns me to my village
and its completeness.

Muhammad Haji Salleh

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