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Saturday, August 7, 2010


For Writers Island prompt #15 2010
And Monday Poetry Train Revisited


Sheltered, not isolated
Village Isan life goes on

Influences, attitudes
Filter through at their leisure

Nature’s barriers exist
At all points of the compass

Pu Khao and Pu Pan ranges
To East and West horizons
Converge at a point due north

While the Southernmost defences
The waters of Ubol Rat

Reservoir that fills bellies
With its rich, living harvest

As well as helping to feed
Technological habits

Hydro electricity
Surges unpredictably

Into our cell phone chargers
And Personal Computers

Isan’s own influence spreads
To the South and to cities

With a gritty-edged northern
Border region tone of voice

As it fuses traditions
With more modern attitudes

Providing a wider choice
Reflecting changes in taste

That Morlam girls know about
And can’t dance their dance without
That their writhing gestures shout

Bridging the culture divide
They’re casting the Isan spell

Isan - North Eastern Thailand
Pu Khao - Eastern range of hills
Pu Pan - Western range of hills
Ubol Rat -Reservoir to south
Morlam - Traditional Folk Dance


  1. A fascinating insight into the evolution of new attitudes in old cultures! Beautifully written!

  2. Rather than spellbound, this poem shows you rooted in reality. I suppose the spell comes from your appreciation of the elements of the culture. Thank you for an interesting poem.

  3. Stan - that's fantastic! Thanks for taking us on this spellbound journey to changing cultures and tradition - wonderful!

  4. Thanks to:
    GT; It all combines to keep the traditional relevant.
    ViV; I suppose it is more of a process than an instant 'wave of magic wand' scenario, but the magic is in seeing it happening.
    Claudia; It takes something a bit special to make modern minds accept ancient customs.

  5. The lightening speed with which you respond to prompts is to be envied, Stan! I'm still scratching my head and you have already written this tribute to Isan's journey! Well done!

  6. I admire areas that hold on to ancient traditions while taking on the aspects of modern life that work for them. Fascinating insights in your poem.

  7. Traditions blended with modern life, that is something to admire. Excellent post!


  8. Thanks to:
    Marianne; The prompts can be very flexible.
    Mary; You have to know where you come from...
    Weasel; And great to witness.

  9. You have a wonderful eye for detail and a rapid sense of association between image and word. That is what I find spellbinding.


  10. Fascinating poem about the evolution in a culture

  11. Thanks to:
    Elizabeth; I try to look and listen, rather than just see and hear.
    Marja; I've witnessed a couple of centuries of change over the past decade.

  12. Beautiful written:D, it sort of capture me and I gonna imagine myself evolving through this journey of mixture of the ancient and the modern time, fantastic;D

  13. I've learned so much from your poem and from your (and others) comments today. Culture is so fascinating, and good for you for preserving the changes in your poetry.

  14. Thanks to:
    Riika; Experience the best of both worlds.
    Diane; It's all catching up very quickly now.
    Wayne; Soaking it up, while it lasts...

  15. Yep, that journey certainly left me spellbound.

  16. Thinking further, I always feel that way about Kailua-Kona. I can deeply sense the history.

  17. Stan you have me captivated with this cultural piece! Nice one!

  18. Thanks to:
    Anthony; Abject poverty and emerging affluence allow the past and the future to exist in the present.
    Diane; More tradition than history in this case.
    Pamela; It's good to see people holding on to their cultural values.

  19. I liked how you depicted a culture not known to me.

    half-way through

  20. 'I've witnessed a couple of centuries of change over the past decade.'

    How lucky to be in the right place and time for that. Thanks for sharing some of it through today's poem.

  21. Thanks to:
    Gautami; Many aspects of traditional culture survive in song, dance and stories.
    Julia; Perhaps not quite, but mechanisation of manual tasks, and modern technology were late arrivals to rural Isan.