Thursday, 28 November 2013

Prabuddha XV

This is the fifteenth part of the translation of Mahagama Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha', an exercise that has the permission and blessings of the immediate family of Mahagama Sekera. Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI , VII, VIII,  IX, X , XI, XII, XIII and XIV can be found in

And by the green stretch of paddy
quiet at the foot of the mountain
a humble hut
skirted by a stream
that polishes and polishes
the black rocks that line.

The hills
they dissolve with
and disappear into
the white, white mists
float into the skies
clearing the pathways to Nirvana.

And the trees
still and silent
clothed in moonlight’s white
lie in bliss of comprehension.

The stream gurgles along
now breaking in sobs
now in side-ripping mirth. 

Gently falls the dew
in infrequent droplet cold,
and then he heard
as though in a dream
piercing the thick layers of mist
the music of his childhood
when his flute he played.

And through it all
there arose
from a slumber of twenty years
or was it thirty (?)
the singular wearied countenance,
that of his mother. 

Resplendent in the sorrow sighs
released into the dawn-hearth
of fry and bake
crafted by the kneading
of trial and tribulation
that face of perspiration glow
was sister-face to this,
Prabuddha thought. 

Then came to mind another face
one encountered along harsh path
through foreboding mountains
as he left village and entered city
in another lifetime;
another sister, yes,
of this mother’s countenance:
Yashoda’s face.

And then she
who gifted love
when lost and alone
not knowing where to turn
gifted children
filled with courage
as essence of all these faces
one face

‘From lifetime to lifetime
we lived
you and I did, Arjuna!
I remember it all
though you may not.’[1]

‘Why not?
Why not Niranjala,
I do remember.
Are you still asleep Niranjala?
It’s already 4 o’clock.
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up Niranjala!
There is rice to cook
milk for the children
I can’t get late to work.’

I was fast asleep
stayed up late last night
went to bed around 1 o’clock.

‘The boy was ill
he had high fever
I didn’t wake you up,
You were so tired;
look, he’s still feverish;
he needs some medicine
at least today……
No! No!
You need not stay,
go to work
I will take him to the doctor!’

With these soft hands light the clay lamp
these hands that turn rice into flour,
powder into milk,
that make gruel
that knows suffering.
Give me light from eyes that know not sleep
so I can  show pathways that lead away
to all of you who know sorrow. 

[1] Bhagavad Gita 

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