Thursday, October 23, 2008

PATRIOTISM by Ee Tiang Hong

Surely by the time one reaches
The seventh generation,
The seventh heaven,
One is no longer subject
To all these?

The journey is over,
The conflicts, the strains, the trials
Resolved generations ago
In that choice, irrevocable,
To cross the seas.

And if there was gold
In the mines and in the jungles
There was also death, hunger and disease.

And surely after all these
The gates of heaven must open,
Unconditional, without question,
No question but that
All men are equal
Under the rain and sun.

Only, alas, who would have thought
Some heads have their reserve of cunning,
Rules will be broken,
Invisible henchmen will have their share
In assuring their security.

They demand
That we start all over again,
Prove our loyalty
(To God or Caesar?)
Or go back to where we came from,
They demand
That we accept the new order,
Stomach the reversal of our lot,
Hold our tongue, seal our lips,
Be grateful for what we have got
(The fruit of our toil),
They demand….

With all these, goodness,
How shall I breathe with dignity
What air of freedom there is
Here in my motherland?