Tee Ming will be an MC for the Chinese New Year celebrations at her campus, USM Kubang Kerian. She wanted to include a poem in her speech and so turned to the last poet in the world I'd approach for help. *wink*
In conversation a little punlike idea came to me. I was thinking of the Chinese term for rat, laushu and somewhere along the way a word linked to a common rat-prompted emotion suggested itself: "Shoo!"
(Of course there is that other emotion: "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!" but I think it might be a little too unorthodox. :-P)
So it started with this line, "Shoo laushu!" and Tee Ming was in stitches. I think we both half expected me to come up with something a little deeper and more serious, and half expected this crazy idea to be more fully explored.
Within the same conversation, the "tick tick tick" part came about, and basically I knew from that point on that this would not be a serious poem, nor was meant to be. And for the first time in my life I wrote something based entirely on a sense of loose fun, wild language devices and multilingual references.
(I will not elaborate upon it here, but the more musically inclined may attach some minor significance to the arrangement of the lines within each stanza.)
* * * * *
The Ticking Rat
There's a rat-tat-tat at the door;
The old year's not here anymore.
Caught between an end and a start
Be still, be still, my restless heart.
There is comes again; shoo! shoo, laushu, shoo!
I rest upon the rhythmic clock, as it
Ticks. Tick, tick, tick... tikus!
A yell echoes through the hall
Racing the yeli back to whence it came.
Run! Run! Run! The New Year has begun.