Friday, August 5, 2016

The Next Best Multicultural Poem.....


by Jeltje

Mama and papa
were nursed
by babus:
young Indonesian women
who spent their youth
coddling the colonialists
sickly children.

as a child
i often asked
what my parents did
when they were

my mother said,
that when the European Ladies
came for afternoon tea,
the children
were summoned
to greet them.
Mrs Q. asked the eldest
to say something "nice" . . .
"Poop!" said my mother
& ran out the door!

my father remembers
playing with my mother
on the lawns
of the colonial estates
("they were
wild games!"
my mother adds.)
he also remembers
sitting around
with koki
around the fire
outside in the kampung

watching him cook,
after koki'd served
& washed up
(my father
still likes
cooking sajurs
& improvised

my father's mother
died when my father
was still young
she seems to have had
more contact with her children
than the other colonial mums.
she talked soft
with my dad,
& taught him
how to massage
her aching head
(it's been hinted at,
that my paternal grandmother
was of Indonesian

i think
both my parents
have been homesick
for Indonesia
for a very long time!
they were shipped
"back to the mother country"
in their early teens.
my mother says,
they didn't like
what they saw.
she blames it
on the cold.

i blame it on
the early years spent
in Indonesia:
they just couldn't cope
with Dutch Burghers
& the money-pinching
attitudes . . .

i think
my mother & father
came to Australia
with a dream
of finding something
they'd left behind
in Indonesia.
how their faces
lit up! when
the migrant-ship
crossed the
(my father
greeted the
Southern Cross
like a long-lost

No comments:

Post a Comment