GUEST WRITER SOMSAK LANTANA offers poems of elegant and honest simplicity

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GUEST WRITER SOMSAK LANTANA offers poems of elegant and honest simplicity

My friend Somsak (James) Lantana from Thailand is not just an excellent chef, but also a very generous one. He has previously shared recipes with me and we posted one for Thai chicken (superb!) which appeared here. His fish dish (here) is unbeatable and also equally easy to make.

But there is more to James than those skills. He has increasingly indulged in his passion for photography, but surprised me recently when he asked if he could read me a poem he had written.

I was poking the barbecue at the time but within seconds of him starting I was listening intently because there was something so spare, unpretentious and gentle about this piece, written as the words of village child to an absent father.

I know something of James' background in Thailand and -- because he now has a beautiful daughter of his own -- felt he was perhaps channeling something of his own feelings through the child.

English is James' second language and he was asking me to "correct" his language, but I believe it works exactly as he wrote it and so it is a pleasure to share it here, and another (with a photograph of his daughter) which he has posted on his Facebook page (where you can also see some of his landscape and flower photos).

THE LETTER

I am reading
a letter I wrote
to post
to my daddy

it said

daddy
I have been waiting for you
to come home

the sun flowers you seeded
are now fully grown
have a look before it fall

the vine grapes are climbing
right up
fresh, every morning and before night

I look out
to the beautiful sunset
wish you will show up
for a big smile

mummy walked me to school
for my first day
year three now

an empty road

but lots of beautiful flowers

but not you daddy

mummy said there is more job
and more pay
in the city
than in the village

and when you come home
with lots
of money
we will have a big house
we will have a big car we will ride

nor big house neither big car that I wanted

to ride on your back is my wish

did I tell you
I was picked a star at class
because I was a good girl

granma next door has died
why people die
daddy

as every day sun come
say hi to me
moon say
bye
before I close my eye

there's no you

please come home
for my 8 birthday soon
daddy

your little girl

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