Death of a Village – Cecil Rajendra


Death of a Village

Death comes a-calling

Death comes a-calling

intimations of death
heavy in the air
there is the stench
of decay and despair

The river
strangled by
of industrialisation
is dying….
and nobody cares

The fish
in the river
poisoned by
progress’s vomit
are dying….
and nobody cares

The birds
that feed on the fish
in the river
poisoned by
progress’s excrement
are dying….
and nobody cares

And so
a once-proud village
for centuries
by the richness
of this river
And nobody cares

To that mammon
our high priests
our customs
our culture
our traditions
and environment
and nobody cares

We blind mice
We blind mice
see what we’ve done
see what we’ve done
We all ran after
Progress’s wife
she cut off our heads
with Development’s knife
have you ever seen
such fools in your life
as we blind mice?

By Cecil Rajendra



Cecil Rajendra is a Past President of HAKAM, and is currently an Exco Member of HAKAM.

Raffel (1989), in his essay Malaysian Plainspeak says, “Rajendra is without question, the best English language poet in Malaysia”.

Nazareth (1989), in his article World Literature Today speaks of Rajendra as “fearless in his writing … not having any ideological biases: he exposes and attacks all those who are anti-people. Quoting the ‘Far Eastern Economic Review’, Nazareth says that Rajendra is a “one-man pressure group, committed to awakening people to the social evils that beset his country and the world in general”.

In 2006, Rajendra was also nominated for the Nobel Literature Prize. Although he did not win, he deems the nomination itself a great thrill and honor (The SUN newspaper).

“Dynamic” was how a reviewer of Britain’s Times Literary Supplement judged Rajendra’s work.

Addison (1982) admired Rajendra’s work by saying that “The whole experience was a complete, if unconscious, refutation of the academic and disengaged approach”. (Keith Addison)