Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence



By Johar Buang

The body disintegrates
until what remains
are like the bones of fish
that can no longer return to the sea
the source where elegant truths
exact a singular conviction
on what existence means

in this dry season
we infer the brevity of experience
after weathering challenges at sea
between asperity and adversity
why must it be this futile
this life impelled by circumstance
Or is it we who fail time and again
at perfecting ourselves
answering a vocation of a different strand
a fraternity that is without end

Translated from Malay by Annaliza Bakri


Raden Johar Bin Raden Abdul Majid @ Buang, also known as Johar Buang, is an acclaimed poet inspired by the Sufi tradition. Widely published both in Singapore and overseas, he has been translated into several languages and has won awards such as the Hadiah Sastera Anugerah Persuratan, the Golden Point, Anugerah Sastera Darul Iman Malaysia, the NBDCS Book Award, the Islamic Poetry Prize, Negara Brunei Darussalam, and the SEA WRITE Award. His collections of poetry include Cahaya Di Negeri Ini, Sahara, Dinding-Dinding Kaca, Cinta Pohon Tamar, and Perahu Melayu Di Lautan Khulzu. A selection of his poems in English, Arriving at the Throne of Love, is available on Amazon.

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