by Tysha Khan
the lone cloud
small and proud
pulls away from her nest
in search of her own path.
she feels herself leaving
thinking she is now
her own body
while the wind gently pushes her
along a journey
that changes the way she is seen.
her edges soften
as she learns to breathe herself
into the endless sky
she does not notice reaching out
until gently, she slows,
touched by other clouds expanding.
the resolute cloud
has travelled halfway across the sky
to find herself gently held again.
her heart is full.
she turns to rain.
a new cloud drifts
across the bluest plain.
This poem was conceived a long time ago when I was feeling kind of alone and lost. I forgot where exactly I was, but at that moment I was watching the clouds. There were huge, huge clouds, the kind that painted the whole sky from the horizon, somewhere on the left and right. Then there was this one tiny tiny cloud, that was so round and solid. It was like a little animal, and it was speedily crossing the space between these two giant clouds. I was very impressed with how resolute it seemed and was moved to write about it.
As it moved it became less and less compact, more wispy, and had more tendrils. Before long it stopped when it came too close to the wisps of the big cloud on the right. Then slowly, it became part of that cloud. Everyone will have their own take on this sight.
As I wrote, I found that I was touched by both its solitary nature, and also when it ended up converging with the other clouds. I thought about how people break away from where they were raised and the things they already know to see what else there is out there. How that journey may change the way we see things and change the person we are. How we find what we want to do and the community we want to be a part of. How the whole time we think we are alone, community is still around us to buffer the strong winds and keep us safe.
I think now, more than ever, community solidarity is important. For example, we saw how the Malaysian workers who come to Singapore in search of better opportunities were left stranded when the lockdown came into place. They may have left the big cloud of Malaysia, thought themselves alone, and willing to rough it out, sleeping at MRT stations. Then people reached out to offer them shelter and help. They found community in each other, and also found that the big cloud of Singapore chose to hold and help them in this trying time.
I think inherently, many people want to help and be kind to one another. I am glad that often, I am proven right.
Tysha is a Singapore-based actor and writer. The first Malay-Muslim woman to graduate from the Intercultural Theatre Institute, Tysha hopes to create theatre that effectively captures the culture of her community. She also aims to keep making and performing work that explores different facets of identity and delves into societal issues.
Illustration by Ishibashi Chiharu