Rainy Day Memories and Orchard Rains

by David Tneh

Rainy Day Memories

When it’s raining,
brother likes to lie on
the cold cement floor
while I would take peeks
at the outside orchard
and feel the soothing
tropical winds caressing
my body.

The heavy rains would
strain the attap roof of the tool shed
and the streaming water
would trickle into holes
and cracks along the
grooves of the rusting
aluminium sheets.

Grandmother’s little orchard
would be washed afresh,
the lime leaves shiny and
heavy with water from
the monsoon seasons.

I would marvel at the tiny leaves,
their greenery shimmering under
the blanket of moisture
brought by the rain clouds.

Gingerly, I would pace
the house, careful to avoid
the scary spots where a
Pontianak could be hiding
in its shadows.

Sometimes, the billowing storm
would give life to the door
curtains of each door.
Flapping and floating
aimlessly, they are a
windy spectre that
move spontaneously to
the wild imaginations
of a child.

Darting quickly, I await
grandmothers hug.
I tugged at her floral sarong,
and she would try to pacify me while
trying to light a flame
using coconut husks,
and a little kerosene.

The flickering flame would
light up the small dwelling,
the glow and the warmth of
the fire raising the
shadows of its surroundings.

Soft yet alluring, the light
seems inviting and breathes
life into the shadows that are
dancing to the sparks.

Again I would run
from the shadowy kitchen,
past the ghostly curtains
and the “haunted places”,
to the open freshness of
the orchard and its surrounding light,
bracing for the soft touch
of rain on my skin.

Poet’s Note:

i) A Pontianak is a menacing female spirit that feeds on blood and is prevalent in the Malay mythology of South-east Asian countries.

***

Orchard Rains

The orchard gleams
afresh, courtesy of
the north-easterly winds.

Green and shimmering,
the lime leaves are fragrant
and a zesty scent permeates
the fertile grounds.

The raked leaves and loosened soil
accompany the cangkul, an old clipper and a rattan
basket. They sit next to a tool shed and
a water pipe with a length of old hose
hangs lifeless next to the leaking tap.

The sun slowly rises, basking the rusted
aluminium sheets with warmth and a rusty glow.

The scurry of jungle fowl; red, black and brown
emerges fresh from the monsoon showers and the
garden snail gingerly navigates through the puddles
and weeds under the dripping wet lime leaves that
sprinkle drops of water, creating a miniature shower of its own.

The drenched trees, rain-soaked ground and beaming sunlight
floods the orchard with a golden luminescence of white light,
a tingling warmth and a shining glow that’s absorbed by the fertile
green.

An awakening and a revival of the senses, a blooming
palette of colours and the vibrancy and vigour of life from the
warmth of the sun and the refreshing coolness of the monsoon rains.

Poet’s Note:

i) A cangkul is a long hoe in the Malay language. It has a long wooden handle and a flat metal head. It is traditionally used in the agriculture of many South-east Asian countries.

 

 

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