Friday, August 17, 2007


Do you know the great bloom of Bakawali?
Beautiful splendor in the night,
Amidst dark quietness, all so lonely,
Its whiteness, all so bright.

Unfolding its fragile petals,
In a glorious and elegant fashion,
Exuding mystical charm,
Emitting a fragrance so poignant.

When its bloom has reached its height,

All its petals opened wide,
So turgid, so upright,

Tresses of filaments, flowing wild.

Alas, the great bloom of Bakawali,

Unclasps its resplendent beauty, a few hours only,

When midnight looms, it starts to droop,
Wilting rapidly, losing all its glory.

Why the name Bakawali, I mused?

Perhaps its the night tryst, I gather,

Emulating a 'wali's night prayers,

Forever seeking Allah's pleasure.

Two nights ago, Mak Itam alerted us that her Bakawali plant was going to bloom that night.
Not one but ten beautiful brilliant white flowers! Mak Itam said that this was the most number of blooms so far. We rushed to her place as the flowers are known to only bloom for a few short hours and will droop immediately around midnight. When we arrived, they were already blooming handsomely as though luring us to be near them.

The flowers were speckless white with a yellow tinge in the center. Each consisted of many feathery petals
with abundant strips of filaments flowing from its middle. One can easily catch the exuberant fragrance coming from them as one passes nearby. However as one sniffs directly into the flowers, the odor is much more sweetly pungent. In fact Sofi remarked that the smell reminded her of kenanga which she somehow associated with an eerie emotion unlike that of the milder odor of melor or chempaka. They spent a significant time focusing, using a flash and mini spotlight as the lighting at night was poor.

Later, we sat chatting with Mak Itam over black coffee and jemput pisang. When we left
it was almost 12 midnight but the flowers were showing minimal signs of drooping. Thanks Mak Itam. The sight was simply breathtaking!


LVP5 said...

i heard you stayed until past midnight. we took the last shot at full bloom.

an excellent entry, a nice collection of the flowers together with a beautifully written poem.

simah said...

cantiknyaaaaaaaaaaaaa terpegum saya...

thanks 4 sharing the pics with us :0)

Em said...


Dr the flowers are lovely I wished that I could take photos too!

Em said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raggedyanne said...

lovely flowers & lovely prose...

but i can't help thinking abt a particular scene in that "dennis the menace" movie!

Queen Of The House said...

What is SO special about the bakawali??? Is it because the flowers bloom rarely or is it because of the 'legends' associated with the blooming of the bakawali?

I remember masa kecik staying up in anticipation, with my grandma, to catch the bakawali bloom. She told me puteri bunian or something (fairies) will come when the flower blooms. I got hooked on the story and the mystical bakawali ever since!

Has said...

ish,,tak tau kenapa, rasa macam seram jer baca entry u nih. however, i would like to get a cutting and plant it in my garden, also bunga sundal malam. apa nama inggeris untuk sundal malam ya?

red said...

midnight harlot flower

dyanna said...

bakawali... what a mysterious plant...

pycnogenol said...

Why is it that your entry reminds me of the beautiful Latifah Omar?

Could it be because of Gul Bakawali?

hiyoshi said...

With that kind of lighting, I have to agree with Sofi - they do look eerie.

Or is it just me?

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