Three Pipers: Lada, Sirih, Kaduk

Black pepper is the quintessential spice of the Spice Route, the ancient trade routes across the Indian Ocean that have brought merchants and travelers to the Nusantara since antiquity. Pepper was once as valuable as gold, and even now, it is the world’s most traded spice. Piper nigrum is well suited to cultivation in Sarawak: pepper […]

Traveler, the path is your footprints

By Antonio Machado Traveler the path is your footprints and nothing more Traveller, there is no path You make the path by walking When walking you make the path And when you turn to look back You see the path that you will never trod again Traveler, there is no path Only sparkling reflections on […]

International Poetry Translated

If you’ve enjoyed my feeble attempts to translate Malay poems and songs over the years, perhaps you’d like the Poetry Translation Centre.  Contemporary poets of Asia, Africa and South America are translated into English by a two-step process: a native speaker translates the words literally, then the poets of PTC render it in poetic English. […]

On Flunking a Nice Boy Out of School

A mimeograph of John Ciardi’s poem was waiting on each boy’s desk as we took our seats for the first class on the first day of 7th grade at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.  I nearly fainted.  Amazingly, my mother kept the sheet of paper all these years.  RIP, Wendell Hall: […]

Selections from the Hikam

Selections from The Hikam of Ibn Ata’Allah al-Iskandari: If you want the door of hope opened For you, then consider what comes to you from your Lord, but if you want The door of sadness opened for you, Then consider what goes to Him from you. || One of the signs of relying on one’s […]