Thursday, 1 October 2015

Orang Ulu

Orang Ulu

Orang Ulu ( pron. Uloo) = collective name for the up-river tribes of Sarawak.

Orang Ulu,
loping through mottle-green light of the jungle-track,
lighter than dawn-mist, nimble as wild-cat.
Hunt-hounds around-him are bounding and
wailing a death-hymn or baying for
deer-spoor or fat-ox or wild-boar.

Ulu-agape at the edge of a clearing,
proud ebony, ironwood crashing before him;
din of tree-felling and sawing and logging,
plundering into the land-of-the-lair,
filling the air-of-the-woods with despair.
Animals fleeing; no way of escape.
Earth-mother, naked and bruised by the rape,
bleeds yellow-puss in the pure-running-river
where bones of the forest now rattle down rapids...

Change; flooding the valley,
drowning the nestling, the gibbon and python;
feeding their life-force into the pylon.
Rain; kissing the forest her final goodbyes...
Lonely in grief, tears in his eyes,
Ulu burying dogs in the shade of bamboo.
"Sleeping in nature," the sandalwood sighs,
"dreaming forever of hunting with you."


Charlie Gregory
At the head of the Rejang

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