Monday, 12 November 2012

Prabuddha IV

This is the 4th part of my translation of Mahagama Sekera's celebrated epic poem 'Prabuddha'

She came
like the moon peering over mountain
like water leafing over rock
like frozen music
sweet and full of spirit
as she got off the car.

And hearts stop and stutter
as an evening wind brings
the image-issue
in the sky of a dying sun.

He forgot himself
forgot the violin
and all he knew
of string and bow
as she sat on gold hued carpet
listening, learning,
saw he long fingers dance
on violin string.

You are the violin in my hand
music is nothing if not your voice
and as you caress my heart string
you draw out music as yet unheard. 
I was blind, was without speech
until I saw,
until I heard

The countless stars
lit up the limitless universe
the moon grazed on tree top
with its cloud entourage
the blue shades of the bamboo grove
played and played
on the river’s gurgling waters
in the dim-light of dusk;
and you
whispered soft music
into my ready ear. 

The moonlight-white
of breast and nipple
that grazed and pinched garment;
did you not notice
the immense pain
it inflicted?

And day by day
new and renewed
you arrived
and when you did, sweetness,
I felt
again and again
‘I have nothing!’

[Parts I, II and III were published in]

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Skin-scratch draws blood
each un-layering draws more
reveals much more,
the sinew and tear
scar and welt
the discomfiture we hide
with elegant smile-cloth
and practiced uttering
and each veil-wall
exiles the world
imposes incarceration
consecrates private pain
celebrates fracture
and the world revolves
in its preferred disguises
the preferred speeds of lie
and self-delusion
and we become the sum
of our anxieties
the nothing
of abandoned
and wrecked solidarity. 

[Inspired by the photography of Amanda Jayawardhana, exhibited at 'Upanetha', first published in the UNDO Section of 'The Nation', November 11, 2012]