Archive for the ‘In the Midst of Hardship’ Category

LATIFF MOHIDIN

Born on 25 August 1941 in Negeri Sembilan, Latiff Mohidin was educated at Lenggeng, Seremban, Singapore, and the University of Fine Arts in Berlin. This poet and artist has held exhibitions of his works and travelled abroad extensively in the 1960s and 1970s. He has served as Writer in Residence at the Science University of Malaysia, Penang, the National University of Malaysia and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. At present, Latiff is a freelance poet and artist. His poems have won the Putra I poetry Award. Among his books are: Sungai Mekong (1972), Kembara Malam (1974), andWayang Pak Dalang (1977). Garis: Dari Titik ke Titik (1988), a book on the creative process (art and poetry), won the Honourable Diploma Prize at the Festival of International Books at Leipzig, Germany in 1989.

Latiff Mohidin is usually known for his graphic and imagistic experiment. He addresses social themes in his poems, illustrating the all-important concept that poetry serves society. Among the poems he has written are  Dream 1MirrorThe Puppeteer’s WayangWords Adrift on AirThe Legend of the DawnHis Thick Shroud, The Shore of TimeMask of My Name is Rawana and A City, A Grandmother and Death’.

Synopsis

This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. The elders return at dawn in soaking-wet clothes. They go straight to the kitchen. They are probably hungry. Their hands and legs are bruised but they do not show any sign of despair or of losing hope.

After braving the dreadful flood for the last 24 hours, they still can not find their son’s albino buffalo. Despite all the adversities and suffering, the people in the poem do not complain or lament on their misfortunes. They spend time together, enjoying each other’s company. They are grateful for the fact what they still have instead of what is lost. Life goes on with their daily chores of preparing food and habit of rolling their cigarette leaves. They are still able to joke with one another.

SYNOPSIS  ( ACCORDING TO STANZA)

STANZA 1

They returned home at dawn and headed for the stove. Their clothes were soaking wet and tattered. Their bodies were covered with scratches and wounds. Yet, they did not display any signs of being worried.

STANZA 2

They were out in the flood the whole day and night. They were surrounded by dead animals and parts of trees that had been destroyed by the flood. They searched desperately for their son’s albino buffalo but were unable to find it.

STANZA 3

They were born into poverty and difficulty, but they do not complain about their suffer. Instead, they sit in the kitchen, cracking jokes while smoking cigarettes.

SETTING

The setting of the poem is in the house.

THEMES

  • Stoicism in life
  • Family love
  • Acceptance of way of life

MORAL VALUES

  1. We should learn to accept problems in life with a positive outlook.
  2. We must attempt to face and solve problems.
  3. Failure is part of growing up.
  4. Do not despair in the face of failure.

TONE, MOOD, ATMOSPHERE

  • Understanding and sympathetic
  • Dismal
  • Acceptance of situation

POINT OF VIEW

  • Third person pint of view.

LANGUAGE & STYLE

  • Language is simple and easy to understand.
  • The style is simple with no rhyming scheme.

POETIC DEVICES

  • Imagery – Gives picture of poet’s thoughts e.g ‘soaky clothes torn’ and ‘legs full of wounds’
  • Alliteration – e.g. ‘but on their brows’
  • Symbols – e.g. ‘horrendous flood’ and ‘bloating carcasses’
  • Diction – e.g. ‘stove’ and ‘brows

At dawn they returned home
their soaky clothes torn
and approached the stove
their limbs marked by scratches
their legs full of wounds
but on their brows
there was not a sign of despair

The whole day and night just passed
they had to brave the horrendous flood
in the water all the time
between bloated carcasses
and tiny chips of tree barks
desperately looking for their son’s
albino buffalo that was never found

They were born admist hardship
and grew up without a sigh or a complaint
now they are in the kitchen, making
jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves

-Latiff Mohidin



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