Once again, I have to stay away for awhile from poetry.

Malaysia is celebrating its National Day from 31st August to 16th September and during this period I am involved in the #SaySomethingNice campaign.

This means, additional storytelling at schools and orphanages, campaign activities and uploading of a Hikayat A Day on Facebook, twitter and 
my Hikayat Blog daily.

Next week, I will be doing A Hikayat A Day event with over 1000 kids at the Sri KDU school. There will be storytelling, sketches and drawing sessions with artist Malek Rahim. 

Wish me luck!


we are lucky
to be born in a Malaysia
that is free

our ancestors fought daily
for another day 
to live

blood and tears
finally freedom became ours

but are we really
the lucky generation
we have everything

except our memories
of our history


by Naquessia Irani


We celebrate our National Day celebration on 31st August 2013. My daughter Irani (12) wrote this poem she would have to recite for our Merdeka celebrations in  her school. 

That's our Malaysian flag - the Jalur Gemilang,  in our garden, a picture from a couple of years ago. The story is here. Time to take out the flag!

Dewi Tara

a princess
of ancient srivijaya

fell in love


with the builder
of borobodur, king samaratungga
let other kings
build a thousand temples
in one night

she longed for eternity

and sailed to sailendra
from their union, new conquerors
ruled nusantara

for a millennia

by ninotaziz. all rights reserved

At Borobodur, Java


For Brian. And the G-Man.
Inspired by dVersepoets

Dewi Tara was a princess of Srivijaya in Sumatera, Indonesia. She married the Sailendran king Sumaratungga, who in the ninth century completed the largest Bhuddist temple on earth, today known as Borobodur. The bas-relief above adorns the Borobodur temple. Generally they illustrate the Jataka tales and other literature. However, on the third tier, if I am not mistaken, they depict actual scenes from the Sailendran court life.

I visited Borobodur in June this year with my daughter Inas. Without a guide, I despaired at ever finding the actual illustrations (miles of them all around the temple) I was interested in, i.e. the above scenes. But I did! Just about the time I was to give up, I turned the corner and found, first the ship! Then the court life illustrations. The pot above, is proof that centuries later, and we still love the same beautiful things in life. I have such terra-cotta pots in my garden and the house.

Inas, at the site of Prambanan
where 1000 temples were built in a night
(I'll tell you about it one day, Brian)

The Nusantara Princess : Tengku Mariam of Pahang

she played 

the gamelan. its
magic carried across the paddy fields
took us to another time

of ancient ways. nature's 
gifts that subtly change the landscape
the river. the mountains. left behind.

a princess. on 
an amazing ship with white sails
cutting the waves. embracing the wind

she traveled to 
unknown shores. new ways.
a stranger. a husband

people to rule. a kingdom
to enchant. to love. a queen now
they worshiped her.

her legacy


Sailendra. Campa. Majapahit. Patani. Inderapura.

The Nusantara princesses were key to many peaceful treaties. It would be shocking today, but in reality, these marriages still exist throughout royal houses from the east and the west.

Tengku Mariam of Pahang married Sultan Sulaiman of Terengganu in 1913 and brought a full gamelan set with her. The Sultan loved his queen deeply and did everything he could to give the gamelan the exposure and support to become popular and revered. The Tengku Ampuan recorded the dances and her principal dancers taught other palace performers this graceful art form and orchestra music.

Once again I find the story of how the late Mubin Sheppard saved a piece of our heritage. Years later he found Tengku Ampuan Mariam's gamelan set in Istana Kolam, set about finding the old masters to revive the art.

It is said that this song, the Lambang Sari was written by Tengku Ampuan Mariam herself.

I am human

photo by Elena Kalis

I am the sea dragon
that guards the deep blue depths
from sorrow

I am the angel
that keeps your faith in check
for time is borrowed

I am temptation
that makes you believe
forever is tomorrow

Je suis le dragon de mer, l'ange, la tentation
qui maintient votre foi en échec
parce que le temps est emprunté, et toujours est un mythe

by ninotaziz


The song of Nusantara

I walk the edge
of heaven when the lilting 
music of gamelan lifts me

to freedom

by ninotaziz


My dear friends from the poetry blogosphere

I would like to invite you to the beauty of the Nusantara, encapsulated in this song. We believe this is the true eden on earth. Our music beguiles, our people charms you with genuine friendship, our stories are ancient.

You will not find an older forest or a newer beach. In each shell you find upon our shores, there is an old song of the sea, and a new dawn promising another day in paradise.

There is suffering and grief too. Still it is pain that allows us to appreciate the beauty of life.

Welcome to the Nusantara.

(And to my friends in the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand, you already know what I mean. Peace - Ninot)

The important letter

March 2013

For a while

 tradition of letter writing and greeting cards died

My friend Yumiko used to send me lovely letters from Japan.

And my mother, sent words of love and advice

which made its way above the Atlantic

or the Pacific

Either way it made its way to me.

Ikesha recently sent a letter to her grandma

with a lovely drawing of her in the park

pink hearts on the envelope

and a single line,

Ikesha loves Tok Wan.

A beautiful letter indeed.

Interview on TV1 : Selamat Pagi Malaysia

I have been invited to speak on National TV this morning on
Hikayat - From The Ancient Malay Kingdoms.

Wish me luck everyone.

dVerse Form for All : Mathematical Series

building blocks
to my life
it defines everything I do
religion, love, daughters, poetry, legends, friendship, work, play
alas, do I define everything
touched in life
blocks building


In response to Tony's challenge over at dVerse to put mathematics in poetry

Tried the Fibonaci numbers and in reverse too but not too happy - well, here it is.


Are you the ocean, ever evolving, all the more the same?  Whose tides of change depend on the moon? What mysteries deep within, colder as you get to the core. Are you the one that ensnares ships passing in the night? 

velvety surface
changing tides, unknown depths
as seasons change


Like a siren that calls, the winds, your locks of midnight raven reach out. When the winds die, they wrap around your figurative body - sensual and sinewy. Enveloping like the indigo sky above. The tip of a bursting horizon. Ecstasy. 

lost within the waves
the wind calls and I return
to your lair of love

This is me drowning in you. Floating on cloud nine above the Indian ocean. Where the succulent smells of mango and dreams of the pomergranate permeate my awareness. Shared tea overflows, and seeps through. 


My haiku Ocean for Leo at Haiku Heights
Morphed into a haibun The Sensual Ocean, for Grace at  dversepoets oln
Edited to elevate for a tighter read for Kim at Poets United

 Copyright © 2013 ninotaziz. All Rights Reserved.

The Elements : A Glosa

If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay 

                                                                Sting, Fragile 

From the moment discovered
Doomsday was foretold
Traveling at breakneck speed, the winds
Bring news of war and suffering
It all finally comes undone
When humans were bent on conquering metal
There must have been only one reason
All the world to satisfy our wants
If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one 

As the last drops disappear
And still we mine and plunder
Bottled necessity, so frivolous
Fast becoming the world's precious
Liquid gold as thirst becomes
The ultimate determinant of luxury
goods, branded Evian and Perrier
A dying child will not be the only one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun 

Whittling through space, paradise
At dawn, the mist creates a wonderland
To mirror the clouds high above
At noon, the lakes reflect the skies
Whatever color of the day
And at twilight, stars gently glow
The moon floating between the boughs
Oh, do you really believe it when Sting says
Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away

Can you imagine, life without air
Where is our reason, and what is fair
And yet we annihilate trees
Without paying heed to realities
Who will be responsible, who will pay
We care not, if we keep silent
And ignore the writing on the wall
We scorn the over zealous news of the day
But something in our minds will always stay 

Oh, how fragile we are.


 For dVersepoets OLN. A glosa in tribute to one of my favorite poets, Sting.
And thank you Samuel Peralta again for the gloss.

 Copyright © 2013 ninotaziz. All Rights Reserved.


The wind blows
Across the fields
The whole world sighs

The rain falls
Upon the window sill
The little girl cries

Rain, rain go away
Come again
Another day.

by ninotaziz


For the fun of it.
And because it is raining gently at dawn.


I knew nothing of the world
not love, not wisdom, not life itself
Til I was handed miracles

born of love, real pain, pure joy 

A semaphore by ninotaziz


I seldom write about my girls. And yet, every moment I think of at least one of them. 

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