THIS RICE I FEED (ON)

This rice I feed on

once was grain that fed my hopes

it bows its head for the blowing wind

tranquil and full, stooped in submission


These grains I eat

through wet throat I swallow

become my blood

in body they terminate


Turbulent wind, equatorial sun

torrid torsos of farmers at fields

in heat, rainfall and energies spent

this rice I feed on is the rice of men


This goodwill I receive

is Nature’s gift, sprawls and branches

this is rice from – toil

it arrives for those who deserve


Truly, what I ate was not rice in itself

but sweat, blood, that flows within

truly, what I swallowed is not grain

but the veins and pulses of all farmers


from Ini Nasi Yang Kusuap in the Malay language by Masuri S.N. (1958)

translated by Khai Hori, Jan 2020



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