Abdul Ghani Hamid, Singapore
Here, I feel the earthly space
‘God is Great’ reverberating through the mihrab
caressing the wanderer’s solitude,
my mind and muscles
are empty and dust-like
wandering a distance, carving out desires.
Al-Falah has long been embedded in speech
along Orchard Road and Angullia Park
and this morning this space is not silent
no emptiness or dust flying around
the longing has been nursed
asking for peace from Him.
Kissing the incessantly subdued yearning
permeating the silence since morning,
I place my forehead
on the earth, with gratitude.
Translated into English by Annaliza Bakri
Reprinted with permission.
First published in Sikit-Sikit Lama-Lama Jadi Bukit (Math Paper Press, 2017).
Abdul Ghani Abdul Hamid (b. 13 April 1933, Singapore–d. 13 April 2014, Singapore) was an award-winning writer, poet and artist. Writing primarily in Malay, A. Ghani Hamid, as he was commonly known, had hundreds of poems, short stories, essays, newspaper articles and plays to his name. As a painter, he had participated in more than 60 exhibitions since 1950. He was a founding member of Angkatan Pelukis Aneka Daya (APAD, or Artists of Various Resources) and the recipient of three prestigious literary awards: Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang (1998), Southeast Asia Write Award for Malay Poetry (1998) and the Cultural Medallion (1999).
Annaliza Bakri is an educator and translator. She believes that literary works could be the subliminal voice that cultivates greater understanding, awareness and consciousness of the past, present and future. An ardent advocate of works that are beautifully penned in Singapore’s national language, she strongly believes in the divine art of translation where shared heritage and mutual discovery promotes humanity. Her translations of Malay poems have been published by Prairie Schooner, Brooklyn Rail, Transnational Literature and Singapore’s Text in the City. Adding ‘storyteller’ to her many personas, she performed her translation of an award-winning novel, Batas Langit, written by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed, at the Singapore International Storytelling Festival 2014. In 2017, she edited and translated a bilingual poetry anthology featuring places by some of the best Singapore Malay poets titled Sikit-Sikit Lama-Lama Jadi Bukit.