Omar Khayyam & Kari Perut Ikan

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse - and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness -
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

- Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam I am not, but when
mum cooked delicious kari perut ikan,
I dashed to the village bakery to buy
a loaf of bread for jolly good makan

There were long beans, fresh pineapple,
daun limau purut, & purple aubergine,
pickled fish roe and stuff best not told;
that last part, it’s better to just imagine

Then mum added fresh shelled shrimps
to the curry for extra marvellous taste;
I dipped my crusty roti into the mélange
to scoop and eat all, there was no waste

I sat beneath the bough of a belimbing
tree, to tuck away a feast just wondrous,
but without a flask of wine or singing,
and I have no time for a book of verse

Mum chose jasmine rice, and sis bihun,
but all with helpings of kari perut ikan;
It’s Siamese style cuisine, hot and spicy
pepper-ish curry, healthily sans santan

And you may ask why I didn’t include
you, my sayang, the one called ‘Thou’;
I couldn’t 'cause Paradise’d be absent
when the curry for me was not enow

What is tom yum kai or shark fin soup,
soup kambing or even chicken wantan;
all these are but nothing when compared
to mum’s incomparable kari perut ikan

Oh, by the way, have you even guessed yet
that secret ingredient of my mother’s curry
If you still haven’t got it, hold tight to your
seat, cause it’s yummy pickled fish tummy

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