Usman Awang

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Father Utih


He has one wife - whom lie embraces until death
five children who want to ear everyday
an old hut where an inherited tale is hanging
a piece of barren land to cultivate.

The skin of his hands is taut and calloused
accustomed to any amount of sweat
O Father Utih, the worthy peasant.

But malaria comes hunting them
even though he offers a million prayers
and Mother Utih calls the village medicine man
for magic formulas, curses repeatedly chanted.
The medicine man with his reward goes home
with money and a pullet tied together.


In towns the leaders kesep shouting
of elections and the people's freedom.
of thousand-fold prosperity in a sovereign state
a golden bridge of prosperity into the world hereafter.

When victory brightly shines
the leaders in cars move forward, their chests thrust forward
O! the beloved subjects wave their hands.

Everywhere there are banquets and festivities
delicious roast chicken is served
chicken from the village promised prosperity.

Father Utih still waits in prayer
where are the leaders going in their limousines?

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