Saturday, July 28, 2007

The King is dead. Long Live the King!


The King is dead. Long Live the King!

And so it was that kings died and sprung back to life to die again. At the Straits of Malacca. The natives ceded power to the Portuguese. Who ruled for a century only to be driven away by the Dutch. Who signed a treaty in Europe, and transferred Malacca to the British as they withdrew to Indonesia. Then the British, who ruled for a long time until they scuttled away from the Japanese only to be reinstated again after World War II. Later when the British left, Malaysia decided on an innovative form of Monarchy. The rulers of the 9 states choose a King by rotation for a period of 5 years only. But that’s unconnected with the history of Malacca, and I won't digress.

Malacca is one of history's favorite ports. The straits of Malacca were ideal for trading ships to dock for a few days and trade their wares on the river that trickles into the straits. Malacca was famous for spice trade. Militarily too the port was of strategic importance. That is why Malacca has seen a lot of bloodshed.

The city of Malacca is built around a hill. On top of the hill is a chapel. Then around this decayed chapel are placed palaces, gardens and old houses. In recent times the city has crawled down the hill and spread farther and farther landwards. The sea of course has never capitulated to the city.

Those Hands

When you return to humanity,
With your wizened reasoning,
You can explain most everything.
The necessity of shriveled legs,
Of hunger, of crime, of social inequality,
Of unborn babies and your moral probity.

Yet those lips, those kisses,
And those hands that go astray.

You are the son of your father,
With his roving eyes and sensuality,
And your hands must seek and go astray.
Oh, the sweet baseness of your lofty thoughts,
They say your reasoning is just for protection,
A sort of explanation,
And despite all those words and lofty thoughts,
Those hands, they must seek, and go astray.


Vasu said...

Lovely poem.

But I have one question: Why do the hands seek and go astray? Do you think its a conscious choice?

Wriju said...

It's what runs in our blood. Sometimes it takes possession of the conscious mind...

tumblewords said...

Thanks for the bit of history! Your poem is terrific. The knowledge that the baseness of humanity comes to the forefront is well portrayed here.

Tell me no more of enchanted days said...

welcome back...