In the Midst of Hardship

At dawn they returned home

their soaky clothes torn

and approached the stove

their limbs marked by scratches

their legs full of wounds

but on their brows

there was not a sign of despair


The whole day and night just passed

they had to brave the horrendous flood

in the water all the time

between bloated carcasses

and tiny chips of tree barks

desperately looking for their son’s

albino buffalo that was never found

They were born amidst hardship

and grew up without a sigh or a complaint

now they are in the kitchen, making

jokes while rolling their cigarette leaves

                                                – Latiff Mohidin


This poem tells of the hardship that a family in a village faces after a big flood. It takes a lot of courage and strength to see the silver lining and to move on after that. Yet, that is exactly what this family is doing. They’re spending time together, enjoying each other’s company and they are actually grateful for what they still have instead of what was lost. As we can read in the poem – they returned home without finding the buffalo but they did not seem to be really bothered by it. They accept fate as it is but more importantly, it portrays how they are different from many people who are materialistic. Although the Albino buffalo is a rare species of the buffalo family, the family in the poem is not very worried that their precious buffalo is missing. This poem wants to convey the hardship that they endured and even though they saw many dead animals floating because of the flood, they were still searching for the buffalo. It is important to know that they did not complain and did not lose hope as they were used to difficult life. They refuse to let it ruin their day and their spirit. The main concern is that they did try to find it as the buffalo belongs to their son. This shows that they were looking for it as they were concerned for their son’s lost.