Unspun enjoyed himself thoroughly at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival over the past week. He also had a great time moderating a session on Pamphlet Poetry featuring three poets: Ed Maranan from the Philippines, Cyril Wong from Singapore and Abe Barreto Soares from East Timor.
(From left: Unspun’s alter ego, Ed Maranan, Cyril Wong and Abe Soares. Photo taken by Unspun’s partner, who did not laugh at him as he was struggling to sound intelligent in front of smarter people)
Since the subject was Pamphlet Poetry and whether poetry is an art form could influence politics Unspun felt it was appropriate that the three poets started off the session by what they had to say about the Burmese situation through their poetry. E Responded with a Haiku, Cyril responded by modifying a poem of his and Abe responded with one of his poems (the man writes in Tetum, English, Portuguese and Indonesian and also sings – amazing fellow!)
This is their contribution (Only Cyril has responded so far as Ed and Abe are still traveling – Unspun will post their poems when they send it through).
by Cyril Wong
After great pain, what would the body
learn that it does not already know
of relief? When that fire-truck has raged
past, what do I rediscover about silence
except that I would always miss it?
Do trees mind if it is the same wind
that passes through their heads everyday?
After the mall is completed, must we
remember the field it now inhabits
where we raced each other as children?
If my lover forgets to wake me with a kiss
a second time this week, should I worry?
Does solitude offer strength over time, or
is denial of it the only practical aim?
After the earthquake, would it matter
if no one saw two dogs from different
families approaching each other
without suspicion, then moving apart?
As the workers wash their faces hidden
by helmets that beam back the sun,
should they care about the new building
behind them beyond a fear of it falling?
If my mother cannot see how else to be
happy, is it enough that she may lie
in bed, convinced God watches her sleep?
What happens after the monks stop flowing
like a river along the wound that is Burma?
After deep loss, what does the heart
learn that it has not already understood
about regret? When all light finally
forsakes a room, do we take the time
to interrogate the dark, and to what end?