That's why I'm enjoying today's mild and pleasant atmosphere as much as possible, as a sort of precautionary pre-compensation. If I end up getting soaked at least I'll have some enjoyable memories of having watched the fluffy, white (and dry) clouds drifting over the fresh, green April landscape this afternoon.
I just noticed that all the camellias are gone from the bushes in the front yard. I didn't pay much attention to them this year, so missed their disappearance. But the white irises are blooming now, and eventually there will be gardenias. By the time the gardenias bloom it will be much warmer and I'll be able to have the windows open far into the night, so the fragrance will waft through the house with every soft breeze. This evening all I can smell is the grass and the pine trees.
But the dusk is lovely, and I'm going to go out and sit for a while and watch it fade into night. The frogs should be singing by now, and maybe I'll hear an owl or two. I doubt I'll hear much else, other than the occasional car passing along the nearby road. Sunday nights are very quiet here— at least after I've turned off the computer and until I turn on the television. I think and hour of quiet should be adequate, as there's been no excitement to wind down from today.
by Alfian bin Sa'at
Where the neighbourhood wives,
After a morning at the wet market,
Sit facing the breeze
To trade snatches of gossip
About leery shopkeepers,
The local louts,
(Like that fella who's always drilling his walls—
Gives me migraine)
And that mad woman
Who throws things from her window.
With careful put-downs they
Fashion boasts, about stubborn sons,
Lazy daughters, who by some miracle or mistake
Always score well in class.
When words falter,
Gestures take over: pursed lips, rolling eyes,
Animated hands adorned by bangles of
Gold, jade, steel, string.
And children orbit around them
Laugh without diction—
Their games of tag a reassurance
That there has been no hothousing
Of who is unclean, unwashed,
Untouchable. When they break out
Into some kindergarten song,
One almost believes in a generation
Cleansed of skin-deep suspicions,
And free from the superstitions of the tongue—
And old folks sit like sages
To deploy chess pieces with ancient strategies.
In a corner, a caged bird bursts
With the song of its master's pride
And wrinkled women breathe, through
Tai-chi-tuned windpipes, the operatic melody of the air...
All a wanton fantasy.
Eyes reveal a meeting-point
For loners and loiterers:
A sense of things reduced–
Conversations that trickle through
Brief noddings at lift landings,
Teenage rhetoric scrawled, in liquid paper,
On the stone-table chessboard,
(Where the king used to sit)
The grandiose house-selling dreams of residents
Compacted in anonymous letterboxes;
As an afterthought, an old man pees
Under a public phone.
A place to be avoided, this,
How in its vastness it devours hours.
Little wonder then,
Why residents rush through void decks
Back to the cramped comforts of home
As if in fear of what such open space might do
To cosy minds.