The House in Kompong Speu
“…and miles to go before I sleep”
This is the house that I’ve come to love
For all its underpinnings of sobriety, quiet, lush, solitude.
Typically Khmer perched on high stilts
But whose height is caught up by the trees
That wildly surround it, coconut, guavas, bananas,
Bougainvillea, hibiscus, and another sturdy tree
That is home to orchids and strands of cobweb
That plaster on your face like zen greetings.
On the veranda you could watch the sky
Metamorphose into a quality of dream.
Red splash of light on streaks of cloud
As night falls gently on the exhausted earth,
The trees a cinema of dramatic silhouettes,
Fireflies and evening stars in early carouse
For endless births and endless joys.
The previous occupant is now in Mozambique.
Does she ever visit this home
In her dream again and again and again
Like other Cambodian mementos
That haunt and demand instant nostalgia?
This is the house that I’ve come to love.
It lives inside my gentle storm now.
And I have other houses, other loves, other distances
To live in and conquer, to hope and hanker for
Even if the hour is paltry and beguiling.
03 December 2000
Kompong Speu, Cambodia