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Monday, June 25, 2012

Sir Peter's Day

SIR PETER'S DAY
(a birthday poem for a great teacher)

O' Sir Peter the Magnificent
the merciful the compassionate
the giver of hope
of laughter and deserving grades
the gentlest of souls
though a thousands verses flow
like french verbs in search of glottal stops
... ... like an adverb dangling with a modifier
like a gerund repenting of all its sins
like a noun in love with a pronoun
like a split infinitive courting an irregular verb

i can never thank thee enough
you taught us a colonial language
so that we may become better colonials as we age
though we are still natives with a big heart
like old sentimentals
O' Sir Peter the Elder
But you look younger than Shakespeare
always young at heart
groovy fashion travolta-polyester and all ... skin tight
your patience is legendary
your words of encouragement put mad students in a quandary
you showed us what a crazy language English is
there is Pahang English to begin with
Kelantan English is the best it seems
you argue with the speaker and "it's up to mu .. " he would say
KL English can be a bit arrogant and too much of a routine
sounding a bit american these days with a bit of sentul twang thrown in
yes sir peter ... you taught us that Malaysian English called Manglish
so that we will not speak Spanglish
or Singlish
or like the Indians -- "sing-song-English"
On your birthday
this auspicious day
this glorious day
a day as bright as the sun that shines on stratford-upon-avon
where the great bard reigns in glorious memoriam
a day wherein birds chirp
like the chimpanzees of penang hill
like the jumping frogs of pelindung hill
on this great day
on your birth and rebirth day
I thank thee
for the gift of language and literacy
you bestowed upon many
and for each word of hope
each one that sparks a child's creativity
by way of a language so useful so pretty
that gives one wings of glory
to grasp great works in celebration of humanity
of milton and chaucer
and goldoni and dante alighieri
and shakespeare and lord byron
and keats and shelley
and beckett and gogol and
and rimbaud and rilke
I thank thee
O ' Sir Peter the Forever Young in spirit and in persistence of memory
May your birthday be a time for me
to remember the days
I used to wait anxiously for good jokes you tell many
"come one come all ... come to this hall ... " and more than this
to make us happy
when we thought we were punished for our past sins
and banished
in a place called "purgotary"
where the only fun we had was sneaking out on those nights
to watch bruce lee and those crazy chinese movies
all in the name of freedom and human dignity
you taught us through that crazy language called English-- a first love no one can take it from me
HAVE A GREAT BIRTHDAY, SIR PETER THE SIFU TEACHER.

-- azly rahman
walden III
june 25,2012

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