Selesa (Comfortable)

This is a poem in the Malay language, the national language of Malaysia. Not sure how many of my fellow countrymen and women read and follow this blog, but I thought I should post it anyway. Looks like the words just don’t flow in my attempt to translate this into English, so here is the gist of this poem:

It talks about what true wealth and comfort are by comparing two homes. The first is an apparently enviable mansion, but the occupants toil their lives away, coming home everyday either to a deafening silence or conflicts instead of conversation. The last line of the first paragraph literally means “luxury at the dead end.”

In contrast, there’s a simple dwelling that begs no notice and admiration. There are no intricate carvings (traditional Malay houses are known for these), only the curves formed on the lips. The occupants work diligently with joy and satisfaction, and banter and conversation fill the home, like a melody-less symphony. The last line literally means “unspeakable wealth.”


Mahligai mengundang iri
Lumus tak berhenti
Hening menyakiti
Perbualan diganti pergolakan
Kemewahan di jalan mati.

Teratak biasa
Usah dikagumi
Ukiran tiada
Hanya senyuman
Ringannya tulang
Membawa kepuasan
Tawa dan bicara
Simfoni tanpa irama
Kekayaan tidak terhingga.

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