No Single Cause: A Response Poem

The Call

“The word ‘earthquake’ in Padaung literally means ‘the shaking of the dead’ — one of the two things we believe cause the tremors of the earth, the other being the stirrings of the big fish that guards ‘the drum of desire’. I was more frightened by the idea that the dead were shaking our house than by the movements of the fish. I used to have arguments with my friends and my brother Peter about whether earthquakes were caused by the dead or the fish.”
   Pascal Khoo Thwe: From The Land Of Green Ghosts

The Response

The earth trembled for the dead
had all at once turned in their graves
when they heard the big fish
watching over the drum
of desire had stirred
up more rumours about them.

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