A Syair poem for our times
|Marauders at midnight
Bandits of backyards without haste or hurry
Fearless and fierce, with nary a worry.
Razor sharp teeth behind countenance furry
Lights shine, dogs bark, off they may scurry.
We peer out and see them as a hungry horde
Scavengers gnawing on the trash they've scored
Perhaps they view it is as a sparse reward
Scattered remnants of all the trash WE stored.
Marauders at midnight, in moonlight they bask
Glimpsed in the shadows, their faces a mask
No need for a mandate, don't need to ask
To care for each other not seen as a task.
The Sha'ir or Syair or Sjair from 17th century, Malysia, is a poetic narrative that not only tells the human story, often in romantic adventures but also expounds on local conflict and gives religious instruction. Because this form originated in a maritime trading center, the characters are often cosmopolitan. Shorter versions are known to use birds, fish, animals in allegory. The form originally performed, presenters would sit before an audience with an open book and sing the verses out loud.
The elements of the Sha'ir are:
1. metric, accentual, folk meter often using 4 stresses with the beginning syllable stressed and ending in an unstressed syllable. More important than stress is, all lines should be similar length.
2. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
3. mono-rhymed. aaaa bbbb cccc etc
4. used to communicate romantic adventures, local conflicts, allegories and religious instructions.