Poetics : Geography – an ocean apart – free verse

image from google

if an ocean divides a country
can you find solidarity?
when clothes cannot hide completely
the colour of your skin
for the sun doesn’t brown us equally
yet language binds us closer
as religion and culture pulls us further

a unique country one would say
it’s home to me, it called me to stay
one part’s a peninsula,
joins to a mainland of a different nation
other part’s an island,
shares borders with a hostile region
two worlds forever separated by the sea
time adjusted for “synchrony”
an anthem of blood soaked earth, and confusing geography

rivers and mountains mark this map
archaeological findings, forest deep
carbon dates of foreign invasions
drop a pin but you won’t find me
where the ocean meets silent empathy
Malaysia, my world, to you she is so tiny

I am stewing in a melting pot
of cultural diversity
chewing on betel nut leaves
and drinking palm tree toddy
while my neighbour burns incense
the cleric calls out the azan, time to bow,
Shiva is stoic, devotees of the sacred cow

but come twilight
the ghosts will roam
the end of another equatorial day
tomorrow we will rise
again, strong together,
though the differences remain

written for Anmol’s poetic prompt at dverse this week, what a theme! Geography! Challenge yourself and write a poem on that, read his detailed prompt here. Great one Anmol, hope I was even close!

 

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©Gina@alivelesslived
Trust you heart if the seas catch fire ~ e.e cummings

90 thoughts on “Poetics : Geography – an ocean apart – free verse

      1. i am the opposite i guess, always wanting to escape until very recently, finally finding my purpose perhaps. i sense that your journeys have added to your deeper understanding of life.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Violet, your comment is such a huge gift, I struggled how to write this and just let the thoughts flow. so so many thanks for appreciating the thoughts behind the words

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  1. It’s beautiful how you describe and define this diversity through geographical means while tying it with the common thread of unity/humanity, despite the conflicts and complicated histories. I just got reminded of reading the single page description of Malaysia in my encyclopedia when I was barely 10 or 11 — the brief paras about the map, people, culture, and resources, much of which is so well emulated in a poetic manner here.

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    1. thank you for your wonderful prompt! how amazing that your still can recall that tiny bits of info on Malaysia, i am touched by your reference. we are an oddity in a region where identity determines borders.

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  2. First of all i love the play up of words here as well as some rhyming..it.makes me wanna go dance outside the heat of the sun.
    And secondly, how brilliant of you to be able to put into poetry the diversity that we (i would own it now, having lived here too for a while) experienced. It is such a joy to wake up in the morning seeing people of different colors and race running around our jogging track, listening and hearing them speak in different languages and yet on top of it all, a simple hello and a warm smile would make us all realize that we belong to the same community of people who may have came from different backgrounds but founded on the same goal..to spread love and compassion to all

    This is brilliant Gina…way to go..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh you make my heart dance too! and you know all this first hand too. i so love seeing my country through your eyes my dear friend. you give me deeper perspective on the ordinary beauty. you understand compassion because it is an integral part of you.

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  3. mandibelle16

    Beautiful Gina. It’s wonderful
    That in Malaysia Cultural diversity is allowed to flourish and is embraced. It’s both awful and sad that the nations/neighbours around your home country, do not embrace this as we call it in Canada “a mosaic.” Like each person and their culture/race/ and customs is an important unique piece in a larger piece of art. But, we are all beautiful b/c each tile is unique and permitted to be beautiful in themselves in the mosaic (the country). In too many places this is not the norm or the law and it’s sad; I’m sorry you see it so near to you. Sometimes, I think, in some places in the world, the hate and division runs so deep, it would take generations too undo it, to change. But, I hope near Malayasia and in other places, a cultural mosaic continues to flourish and to make other nations aware we can function together despite religion, customs,culture, beliefs etc. Lovely writing as usual SD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Mandi, while the undercurrents are there for sure,there is a larger portion of our people who work hard for unity and harmony, we cannot run from differences but live being respectful of each other’s culture and religion, much like Canada is becoming these days. learning to live together takes time and a lot of adjustments. i really appreciate your views.

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  4. This is like seeing your country as a bird might on a flight from above – a privileged position of being able to see both differences and unity, finding the things that bind together. There is such a richness in your descriptions, so beautiful:
    chewing on betel nut leaves
and drinking palm tree toddy
while my neighbour burns incense
the cleric calls out the azan, time to bow,
    
I feel like i was transported! I loved this writing about your country x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you R, there is so much to write on about the geography of place and also the people, we are an amalgamation of so many things. i so appreciate your comment, the bird’s eye view is a delightful personal take.

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      1. You have no idea how much this makes my heart soar. I appreciate this hum of morning prayer, I can feel the vibrations from all this distance 💛. I wish you and yours the best Friday and weekend ahead too xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Paul for your insight, you have summarised my thoughts precisely, we are shaped by nature as much as by nurture. that is the essence of our presence here on earth. really appreciate your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely fascinating Gina. So rich with knowledge and information I never knew. What a unique geographic situation, and remarkable the impact it has on the country. Thank you for sharing this poignant piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A challenge to unite when cultures and religions are different. I can specially identify with the conflicts and tensions with different neighbors with different skin color and faiths. Still, we all belong to the same country and/world. This part also aptly describes my adopted country:

    I am stewing in a melting pot
    of cultural diversity

    Liked by 1 person

    1. a most unique challenge to live in such a country you are right, but it is a vibrant and wonderful place to be! i enjoyed pulling all the parts together. thank you for reading V.J

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  7. Looking at the world one can say everything is divisive by borders, by language, by race, as you say religion and culture as well not to mention the words we use. Somehow along the line, we became divisive and not of oneness. You have a very palatable fervor for your country and that comes across. Patriotism is a lost art and yes, every country has been invaded by another. History will tell you. Be well my friend

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    1. your insight is so precious to me, thank you for your thoughts, they touch on the existential side of our nature and I thank you for highlighting this point. much love to you my dear friend, hope you are well and your projects coming along nicely.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. you give me much joy and too much credit, but i am glad to receive your warm words on my country, it makes this poem worth all the effort. i am no expert, I just love what we have here and want to showcase all sides of her, good and bad. every country in the world has something special and too often we lose what is good trying to conform to outside pressure and influence, don’t we know how amazing until someone tells us? much love to you!

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      1. One need not be an expert, its your love that shines through, Gina! In a way what you have said can be true of India. ‘Melting pot’ and ‘unity in diversity’ are used to describe us too.
        Ah! It is so true only when someone else tells us, we begin to believe. Lots of love to you too and have a wonderful weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. would be my pleasure to have you visit long enough so i could take you to some of these places and experience some the things i have written about. much diversity here, and from your travels in the past am sure you have a list of things you want to discover too. thank you Brigid, we are a country that is steeped in history yet as young as a new baby in some ways, finding her way in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sanaarizvi

    My goodness this poem is nothing short of a masterpiece, Gina! Especially like; “I am stewing in a melting pot of cultural diversity chewing on betel nut leaves and drinking palm tree toddy.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. my dear Sanaa, coming from you this is the biggest and most wonderful praise, you who I admire so much for your skill and flair. thank you so very much, lots i am learning writing the prompts differently, your words i keep in a safe place always.

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  9. Gina, this was so powerfully written! It’s crazy how one place can be divided by water and live two totally different lives, yet it is the same place. Makes me think of siblings who share the same parents, but their ways are totally different, though they share the same blood. Your message here is impactful. The language unites and also the human experience. Though the day to day experiences may be different, life is happening to both sides of the region. Very beautifully expressed, my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you have it so precisely right dear friend, siblings who have their own particular identity, that describes it so accurately!

      thank you so much, i appreciate how you have understood our unique situation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are very welcome, G! It was such a beautifully written poem and I appreciate how you share such issues so beautifully and with sensitivity. Hope you have an amazing start to your week, my dear friend!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for your thoughtful comment Elizabeth, though I apologise if it seems our country is divided by the government, maybe my words were too ambiguous. I meant to to show that we were a country on two different islands yet could stand together despite out diversity. we have challenges because of geographical situations but we are not torn apart on purpose, our differences are because we have so many different indigenous races as well as immigrants. apologies again if i was confusing, and thank you for always reading with such detail

      Liked by 1 person

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