Tuesday, May 12, 2009

.: The strangest day :.

Can you spot the common barn owl?

Earlier this morning, as I was about to leave for work, I found it in front of my house gate, eyes on me. Perplexed to find it there, I called my aunt to confirm its presence. There is a possibility I was hallucinating things since I haven't been sleeping right for the last few weeks. A manifestation, maybe. Just what are the odds for anyone to find an owl outside their house in this part of the city? Or elsewhere in Malaysia for that matter? The only ones I had seen were kept in captivity in the zoos.

Clearly, I wasn't imagining things.

I thought by the time I'm back from work, it'd be long gone. That was until I came home and my sis asked whether the owl is still there.

And I just had to hunt for it. :)

It was a piece of cake. There it was, perched on top of the potted plant in our little garden. As I edged nearer to it, its' eyes followed me closely, mindful of my movements. Armed with my camera, I snapped a few shots. I wasn't able to get a good one as I was afraid I might scare it away. However, it was inexplicably tame. Then again, I didn't want to risk anything.


While we're under this area of discussion, in Malay literature, there is a prevalent Malay proverb that uses the common barn owl as its main subject;

"Bagai pungguk rindukan bulan"

Direct translations :: Akin to a common barn owl missing the moon.
Description :: The feeling of longing one has for something beyond his/her reach.

The context is also applied in other branches of Malay literature i.e. the syair [a type of poem]. For the benefit of the readers, I'll do a quick summary of the interpretation. The overall depiction of the poem is the intense affection of a man; "Pungguk" [common barn owl] towards a woman; "Bulan" [moon]. Although he realizes that circumstances do not permit them to be together, the man persisted in uncovering ways to be with her, while doing so he yearns for her from afar. If anyone wants the flowery English translations of the poem, drop me an e-mail and I'll work it out for you. :)

Syair burung pungguk

Pertama mula Pungguk merindu,
Berbunyilah guruh mendayu-dayu,
Hatinya rawan bercampur pilu,
Seperti dihiris dengan sembilu.

Pungguk bermadah seraya merawan,
"Wahai Bulan terbitlah tuan,
Gundahku tidak berketahuan,
Keluarlah tercelah awan."

Sebuah tilam kita beradu,
Mendengarkan pungguk merindu,
Suaranya halus tersedu-sedu,
Laksana orang berahikan jodoh.

Pungguk merawan setiap bulan,
Sebilan jitun berlompatan,
Bulan mengandung disebelah lautan,
Mendengarnya bersambut-sambutan.

Di atas beraksa berapa lama,
Gilakan cahaya bulan purnama,
Jikalau bulan jatuh kerama,
Di manakah dapak pungguk bersama.

"Pungguk bermadah seraya menawan,
Wahai bulan terbitlah tuan,
Gundahku tidak berketahuan,
Keluarlah bulan tercelah awan."

As I'm typing this entry, it's rather weird that there is a connection between the syair and the things that are happening outside the virtual realm. The owl is still outside my house, with its head tilted to the sky and its eyes literally mesmerized by it. Then there's the clashing of thunder [guruh], and the moon is slowly revealing itself behind the clouds. Creepy...

Will it greet me tomorrow morning?
8.36pm Malaysian Time


Yoli said...

Oh I love this post and the poem accompanying it. In my heart there has always been a huge spot for Owls. Beautiful creatures, mysterious and iconic. Maybe you can see if she is hurt. It is odd for her to be out and about like this unafraid. Is there a bird sanctuary near you that would take her in if she is hurt?

Hajar Alwi said...

I wanted to, but my sister thought it wasn't proper. Plus it just woke up. It does seem odd that it's only hanging around my house, and being extremely docile. We reckon it might belong to someone. I was about less than 1 meter away from it when I took that shot! I can almost touch it! Aih~ So close yet so far ...

I'll try to approach it if it's still around by tomorrow morning. Times like this I wish my dad is around. Well, guess it's about time I make a solo move. If it's hurt, I'll most probably contact the bird sanctuary at the zoo, which is 15mins away from home. :)

Asmi's Journal said...

Owls are creepy...especially when they're staring at you. *shiver*

Hmm...but could it mean something...maybe sis Hajar is finally going to get marri*d? heehee - just joking around! :P ;)

Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

Masha Allah! I wonder if it was someone's pet, or if it escaped from a zoo?

Hajar Alwi said...

Asmi :: But it look so cute doing that! I have weird taste I guess. :)

Eek~! I don' think so. Haha~ You lost me here. Like, where is the link? The syair? So, am I supposed to be the bulan & I'm waiting for the pungguk? But that is so sad! The pungguk never ever gets the moon! Pardon the over-dramatic outburst. :P

Hajar Zamzam Ismail :: No idea. As it appeared mysteriously at my doorstep, it has mysteriously disappeared.

Umm Omar said...

Cool! That's so amazing, masha'Allah. Nice picture and beautiful garden! I wouldn't call anyone. Just let it be.

van qif said...


That white owl....reminds me Harry Potter...hahaha..

Unknown said...

OMG an owl in Malaysia???

That's so awesome! I've never had a live encounter with it yet. You should be really lucky its at your garden. :D

Hajar Alwi said...

Wa'alaikum as-salaam,

Umm Omar :: Thanks! ^^ There's no need to call for anyone now.

van qif :: Wa'alaikum as-salaam. Hedwig, the snowy owl. LoL~

Adib :: Exactly!!! Twas a once in a lifetime moment I suppose. And yeah, I'm pretty damn lucky. :)

Anonymous said...

An Owl! Thats unusual. And interesting.
The only time we came close to having similar visitors was when a chicken from a neighbor's house landed in our front yard.

There is another neighbor who owns exotic white peacocks. I'm hoping they would fly and pay us a visit some day.... like your owl.

Yasemin said...

I have to admit that it would have given me the heebie jeebies if I saw him! Very Harry Potter for me, and I always figured owls to be solitary and mostly nocturnal-emerging only at night. Very odd, I wonder if he's still out there? Love you lots.

Hajar Alwi said...

Serendipitouslife :: Occasionally we'll have strange 'visitors' and the owl is the most unusual one so far. :)

Lisa :: I was searching for a mail of some kind ... but she didn't have any with her ... aih! I'm guessing she's in hiding now ... :) Love ya. ^^

Aisyah Mazelan said...

There was this time when there was an owl at my school. The kids were very 'jakun' including me.

Hajar Alwi said...

'Jakun' ... speaking like a true blue Southerner. ^^ Kiranya, aja pun jakun la eh. :)

Anonymous said...

I was searching "syair burung pungguk" and encountered your amazing owl here. According to MCP (Malay Concordance Project), the syair comprises 535 verses, pity me for yet to able to grab the whole poem by Hamzah Fansuri.

By the way, I participate in a small philosopical discussion group named "Minerva Circle" and this Minerva Lady is closely related to the owl. Hence my searching for the burung hantu.(Not a very comforting name huh?)...

Hajar Alwi said...

Welcome to the blog. :)

The mysteries of Sufism through the writings of Hamzah Fansuri. Haven't managed to read the complete version myself.

Interesting. LoL~ I share your views. Whoever came up with these names ...