Thursday, June 2, 2005

On This Farm We Grew Up

In a house on this farm we grew up then

Five boys, three girls, Ma and Pa to make up ten

With little time to play but lots of work to do

And once in a while grandma would stay with us too

At one another's silly jokes we would laugh

Fought and cried over little things we didn't have enough

Kept company and had fun with some cats and dogs

Even shared the playground with chickens and baby hogs

For toys we played we made by our very own hands

The girls played skip-rope by joining up rubber bands

Spend hot afternoons climbing shady jambu trees

Catapulting the birds and avoiding hives of the bees

Once we heard a hen clucking out loud from her nest

A cobra was about to devour her eggs so we killed the pest

Pa was both proud yet showed us some anger

Ma would rather we do not have to face such danger

We'd get the season's first taste of durian from either tree

Most of the rest were sold, since we didn't get them for free

We had a goose so large and fierce with wingspan wide

Chased us, we'd run but from nightmares we couldn't hide

Pa said we must be brave and catch him by his head

Taught us not to run from a problem but face it instead

Water for farm use we had to pipe down from a hill

During dry spells we'd watch nights until the ponds fill

Loads on both ends of pole on the shoulder we had to endure

Basket in one hand, scoop with the other, spread the manure

With cangkuls and rakes in calloused hands turn up the soil

No ploughs, machines nor animals to lighten our toil

From sun-up till sun-down we toil on this land

To build concrete structures we shovel up the river sand

On this farm with these tools we learned our lessons for life

Into the world wherever we go with these to survive

We grew up strong and we grew out tough to face the ruthless world

All these memories are sometimes worth more than silver and gold

No regrets, the tough life, nor the wealth that we never had

But for the beauty of farm-life and growing up then, we are glad

Now that the farm and the home we loved dearly is gone

Into our lives our children in new homes have been born

And as they grow up and go forth to fulfill their destinies

We realize how much we miss the old farm and the memories


  1. To Lean San,
    Everytime I looked at the photo you took, the memories kept coming back to me. I had to write this down. Had to wipe my eyes while constructing the last verse. Must be getting old and sentimental. Somehow wherever we go we leave a part of us somewhere on that ground where the house used to stand.....(not just in the little house at the back. lol)

  2. I can't find any words to express how good it is this poem, and it really brought me to time machine and return to our old home.
    When I was small, I like to watch you doing art works like painting, curving and always chased away....
    I really miss that swimming pool at our vegetable farm which always turn into yellow muddy water after Liong Khoon for the first one jumped into the pool...
    I missed the river at the valley of our pig house with a large water pipe and diesel engine which we always did our expedition to the origin of the river but it never come to the the end , it covered with large rock from the granite factory and the river getting smaller and smaller and vanished....
    I missed a lot of thing there, our dogs, old grand mother cat, hundreds of hens to lay eggs and performance of symphony orchestra during lunch time...
    The loongan tree is just a landmark, the little old house was just the memory, that our father's history.....

  3. Thanks. I was very sure you'd appreciate this poem. I started a long story some years ago and it ran to 8 pages. Lots of details. Thought it's too dull for ordinary reading. So I took some of the lines and turned them into ryhmes. Could have made it longer with more details. Maybe later.... I wanted to put in that last pic of the house you took (painted yellow), but decided this over-all view is more suitable. Lets your imagination roam all over the place again....