for Ginny Duncan
The paddy fields stretch beyond the horizon.
Where water glitters, palm trees dance.
Where egrets and herons flap after fish,
water buffalo charge each other, grunting like giants.
The losers spatter water like paddleboats going upstream.
While the old buffalo is courting his mate
a young bull quickly mounts her─
the old bull charges and butts him away.
In the air,
the birds dive out of the sun.
Dragonflies quickly fold their wings and fall,
And grasshoppers crouch in the grass.
Boys and girls fall into small clutches─
some play reak and bikom,
some sing in the trees,
others sprawl in the shade.
When the sun streaks across the horizon,
the birds disperse and fly
in ordered flocks to their nests
and the herders lead their cattle home.
When darkness settles upon the plain
Insects, geckoes, and frogs rock this kingdom.
A million stars drop everywhere,
And farmers fall asleep in peace.
About this poem
This poem, representing Cambodia, is part of The Written World – our collaboration with BBC radio to broadcast a poem from every single nation competing in London 2012.