Monday, 19 November 2012

Prabuddha Part V

This is the fifth part of the translation of Mahagama Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha'

And thereafter he saw.
He saw the thousands
starve and sweat
to build mansions.

And thereafter he saw.
He saw the thousands
starve and sweat
to fill those same houses. 
And thereafter he saw.
He saw them fight
saw them compete with one another
for more power, higher office, bigger position.
He saw thereafter
all the invisibles around him

It was a dream mansion:
Yasodha’s house
with its white wall
steel gates
marbled floors
covered with thick red carpets,
finely crafted furniture
innumerable artifacts and ornaments
ornate chandeliers
from exotic lands
and when he saw these comforts
Prabuddha felt diminished,
the fairytale dream dissolved
it fell and shattered
on the hardened earth
of unforgiving noontime light.

‘If only I could be one of them!’
That was the beginning of another dream-tale.
‘I see now the distance, Yasodha,
the chasm between us;
all I have is my birthright of poverty
and nothing like this splendor you own,
do you understand,
I have nothing,
nothing like this!’

‘And yet I love you!’

And so he climbed;
up the stairs he went
with her
hand in hand
and his soul took flight
encased in shoes well-polished
firmly boxed
in shirt and trouser, tie and coat.

From high above he saw the city
the houses tall and short,
the wide avenues and narrow lanes
and the masses
scurrying along, hither and thither
running the races of their choice
he saw the tiny cars
stopped on either side
in shapes never imagined before,
and as he reached the top floor
there was a dint of pride:
‘I too am one of them!’

This translation has the permission and blessings of the immediate family of Mahagama Sekera
[Parts I, II, III and IV were published in]  


  1. I was struck by one line, 'and his soul took flight' and in that line one word, soul. I wondered what Sinhala word Mahagama Sekera used in the original.

  2. i believe it is very important that you thought of translating this - Mr. Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha'. we have plentiful of good Sinhalese narrations that i think others around the globe should read to understand more about our people's thinking and the contents of those things i am sure provides them in return a joy and fulfillment to a maximum length of reading a good book or a creation. how some of our writers looked through the changes of the society they lived/live, how they drew the characters they meet in everyday lives before the eyes of their readers, how intelligent and creative they are in understanding the lives of real society'. some books are not full of just incidents or characters 'there is so much more to analyze and understand'. i think that sometimes our good writers sometimes do not take that much efforts to translate their own good books in to an international language. i like to thank you for taking an effort to translate 'Prabuddha' we are looking forward to read your next translation that you choose of your own choice - i can say that ' we like the ones that you select to translate because there is so much for a reader ( who does not understand our local languages) who prefers to read a society that is different to or close to their hearts and minds in any of the ways.