Omar Musa reflects on his poem 'Tiny Roar' for POEM FOREST 2022.
I sailed upriver on a ferry once, right to the heart of my homeland Borneo (an island shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei). On my journey, there were times I wanted to cry from joy at the beauty of nature — the ancient, primary rainforests and rare, vibrantly-coloured birds — but also many times I wanted to cry at the devastation caused by logging and mining. If humans can be the cause of so much destruction, it stands to reason that we can also be a part of the solution.
Nature inspires me with its resilience, whether it's a chilli seed I nurtured to a full grown plant on my windowsill during lockdown, or a coral reef slowly rebuilding itself from pollution and fish-bombing on the coast of Borneo (if given the time and space). There have been many times in my life when I looked to nature to teach me about regeneration and renewal. It doesn't mean one thing to me. Nature is generous, terrifying, tough, fragile, cruel, majestic and humbling. Even a seedling can make me feel very, very small.
I once found a rose bush in an empty lot. A friend had told me that the lot had once been a garden full of pink roses. But when I got there, the bush I found was dry, bare, abandoned and looked dead. I dug it up anyway, just in case — soaked its roots, planted it in my garden, watered it with love. It just bloomed with the brightest yellow roses.