Thousand thousand miles away
Dawn to dusk then dawn again
Found this gem nestled amidst rows of books by familiar local writers at the Singapore Literature Book Fair held at Booktique just a couple of weeks ago. Me Migrant is a book of poems that center around the theme of loneliness, longing, and displacement. Md Mukul Hossine, a Bangladeshi migrant worker in Singapore, has been writing poetry since he was 12. His debut book of poems published by Ethos Books is a promising move in the relatively nascent field of migrant worker poetry. What I like about his writing is his ability to convey raw emotions of his struggles of leaving home and living abroad, reflected in his simple, unpretentious words, imbued within it an apparent earnestness and hope. The piece below, titled The Minaret of Sorrow, is one of my many favourites from this book.
Breaking the minaret of sorrow
Pouring a rain of ache on my heart
My drenched heart.
At the door of unsheltered frustration
The passionate soul steadily
Burns like a lamp’s flame.
But I fear it will extinguish!
Leaving behind sorrows in the darkness of the night
A procession of fireflies in every neighbourhood.
A revelry of chirping crickets.
Are they laughing out of happiness
Or crying out of sadness?
Like birds fluttering at daybreak,
A lightning of despair comes down as snow.
Chattering, shivering, unclad,
I am alone.
I must travel this dark and directionless path.
At the port of despair I am the only traveller
I do not know where it will lead me.
I’m excited to see new voices emerging in the local literary scene. This is a necessary step in the direction towards inclusiveness; using poetry to open up conversations and take further initiatives to improve the reality of someone underappreciated, othered, and who’s humbly eking out a living by building us homes, while being oceans away from their own.
Author: Md Mukul Hossine
Transcreated by: Cyril Wong
Translated by: Fariha Imran & Farouk Ahammed
Title: Me Migrant
Pages: 68 pages