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I am traveling in poetry/ Poetry is travelling in me

- fra en artikel i International Herald Tribune, købt i en aviskiosk i Firenze i torsdags (som også kan læses på nettet her):

The death toll in this strife-torn corner of southern Thailand moves relentlessly upward. Six years of insurgent attacks and battles with the Thai military have left 4,400 people dead and counting, cloaking this region of paddy fields and rubber plantations in near constant fear.

Zakariya Amataya, a 35-year-old poet who grew up in one of the Thai districts now violently torn apart by long-held resentment over language, religion and nationalism.

Zakariya Amataya, a Muslim poet in a Buddhist land, is caught in the middle of Thailand’s insurgency.

The conflict is one of Asia’s most intractable. But the identity of the perpetrators and their ultimate goals remain so vague that the grinding violence is sometimes better conveyed in poetry.

I hear peace sobbing
And shouting that resonates
Along sundry roads,
Around the city clock tower,
On dinner tables, in tea shops.

These are the verses of Zakariya Amataya, a 35-year-old poet who grew up in one of the districts now violently torn apart by long-held resentment over language, religion and nationalism. The insurgents are Muslim and ethnically Malay, and the Thai Army units sent here to fight them are largely Buddhist. Mr. Zakariya, a Muslim poet in a Buddhist land, is caught in the middle.

Next month, Mr. Zakariya will be formally awarded the region’s top writing prize, honoring his first published book of poetry. The prize, the Southeast Asian Writers Award, is an unusual achievement for the son of illiterate farmers. Also remarkable is that the language of Mr. Zakariya’s poetry, Thai, is not his mother tongue. He grew up speaking a dialect of Malay spoken by the majority of people living in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces along the border with Malaysia. These ethnic and linguistic differences and a feeling among Malays of cultural domination by the Thais are the kindling of the insurgency.

Mr. Zakariya has spent most of his adulthood in Bangkok, and many of his poems have no connection to the violence. But among his most poignant work are laments of what the bucolic land of his childhood has become and poems about other conflicts around the globe. He writes about occupying armies, including two poems about Iraq, one through the eyes of a sniper racked by his conscience, another from the perspective of a child.

Oh, father, please put out the fire that is burning our land.
Father, take all the water buckets we have and pour them
On those cherry seeds so that they might grow back
From the ashes and remains of the city.
Butterflies will flutter across our forests again.
And if water won’t put out the roaring fire,
Father, take my tears.

- jeg ved ikke, hvordan digtet, der afslutter artikelcitatet,  lyder (og betyder) på thailandsk, og det gør i poesi fanden til forskel – men der er stadigvæk god mening i at sammenligne digtet med de nedenfor (som poesi) kritiserede sanglinjer af Søren Huss. Den heftige patos i digtet får poetisk vægt og fylde gennem det insisterende konkrete og helt enkle (og konkret og helt enkelt udfoldede og gennemspillede) billedsprog. Zakariya er meget velkommen til at sende et digt ind til Hvedekorn snarligst.

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Forside og billedkunst i Hvedekorn 1 2017: Johanne Østervang. Hvedekorn er støttet af Statens Kunstfond hvedekorn.dk af One Million Monkeys