Are You Still Playing Your Flute?

Are you still playing your flute?

When there is hardly time for our love

I am feeling guilty

To be longing for your song

The melody concealed in the slim hollow of the bamboo

Uncovered by the breath of an artist

Composed by his fingers

Blown by the wind

To the depth of my heart.

Are you still playing your flute?

In the village so quiet and deserted

Amidst the sick rice fields

While here it has become a luxury

To spend time watching the rain

Gazing at the evening rays

Collecting dew drops

Or enjoying the fragrance of flowers.

Are you still playing your flute?

The more it disturbs my conscience

to be thinking of you

in the hazard of you

my younger brothers unemployed and desperate

my people disunited by politics

my friend slaughtered mercilessly

this world is too old and bleeding.

                                                            By Zurinah Hassan


The poem uses a conversational style- as if the poet is speaking to someone. The person intended here is someone who is very good at playing the flute. In a glimpse- it looks like a romantic poem as the diction tends to show romance.

But the use of soft, romantic words spoken to the person who is playing the flute are actually one way or style for the poet to express whatever that is playing in her mind. The theme of the poem circulates around society.

Overall, it is an expression about the conditions of the people in her country and other countries around the world going through crisis and that are chaotic.

In actual fact, the poet is reminiscing about her village that is pain and exhausted!

She recounts on her condition in the city…the city that is ill, whereas, her village is quiet… the younger generation has left the village! And what about the boy who plays the flute? Is he still playing the flute? Does this mean that he is trying to defend the art and tradition?

 The musical instrument chosen is the flute as it is the closest musical instrument to nature. It is only a piece of bamboo and it does not need any form of sophisticated technology to create it. So, everything comes back to nature. Everything comes back to originality.

 The poet is guilty and tries not to show that she yearns to see the flute player! She is feeling guilty because she is thinking about art! She should have been very busy attending life in the city as life in the city is very fast paced.

 It is as if she is spending time on trivial matters, when life is being beset by larger problems. Many at that time  are unemployed. People are disunited due to political issues. In countries such as Bosnia and Palestine, Muslims are being haunted by wild bombs.

 This is not the time to be giving attention to art. This is the time to work hard. When an artist is unable to entertain his love for art, he claims not to be an artist anymore!