Saturday, 4 May 2013

This side of the smile...

From inspiration to review
is a many centuries’ journey
and somewhere between
a screen and a story
eyes and a film
but frame to frame
there are people and sets
shots and errors
twists of script and life
and in the end
when player has gone
camera rests in case
everything has been said
and perhaps nothing too.  

[Inspired by the photopgraphy of Rukshan Abeywansha]


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Prabuddha XI

This is the eleventth 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 and X were published in

sprawled on a sofa
gathered the remnants
of a festivity
that had settled
upon female corporeality
and caught in the bright
of glittering light
‘wafters of unpleasant odours
the guttural inhale-exhale
of the snotty nosed people
themselves sprawled
with the hidden un-secreted
in the classic manner
of abandonment.[1]

A graveyard!

That’s what this is, isn’t it?
Aren’t you distraught
just as I am?


Give me an answer
show me a way out
grant me peace of mind
because I cannot leave you
because I have to remain
because I am here
with you
because of you.

Floating like a dream
a female form came a-calling
kept her head on his shoulder
took his hand and squeezed
and kept it on her thigh.

his mind drew back from reverie
as though stung,
he looked around
‘Where was she,
was Yasodha around,
did she see?’

was nowhere near.
At the end of the long hall
in the gloom ’neath an archway
just the blurred frame
of an embrace
human forms, yes
but she was
nowhere near.

Pain filled his mind
jealously engulfed his mind,
he pushed aside the woman
shook away her hand
and stood up. 

And as though a poisonous serpent
had stung with potency
Prabuddha roared
like one who had seen a ghost:

‘Ya….soo dha…!’

His voice reverberated around the walls
shook the hallway in earthquake vibrancy;
the arches trembled.
She was calm
her mind unperturbed
she spoke,
her voice in unsurprised evenness:

‘Why all this sound and fury,
after all
is the custom of our tribe.’

He raised his hand
and brought it down
with the full weight of anger
throwing her back
on to a couch.

he raised a glass
and gulped it down
in one breath.

There was smashing
of bottle and glass
of chair and table
an animal cry
did the echo round
from wall to wall
and then
the laughter of derision. 

Prabuddha stumbled down the stairs
ran all the way
to the wide open road.

The darkest night
had annexed
the Street of Solitude
upon which fell
the largest drops and the loudest
of monsoonal wind-lash.

Prabuddha ran
as he had never done before
along a road whose far end he could not see
drenched in the cold
awash in insanity
without destination
again and again
the innocence of seeking
unblemished love:


The word, the name, the sound
entered and disappeared into
the boulder-displacing, tree-twisting storm,
found residence in the splattering thunder
the lightning flash,
was lost in the timeless waters of millenneic rains
was absorbed by the soul
of vast, depthless canyons
in the continent of darkness.


[1] Amavatura

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Prabuddha X

This is the tenth 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 and IX were published in
There has been
a grand place-exchange
for day is night
and night day,
the sun has set
but the clotted night
is kept away
and the world is set alight
yet once again
by a thousand bulbs.

Soft, slender bodies
flimsily draped
in tasteful show-all
a thousand nymphs
arrive from all directions
for the grand fiesta of lust
radiating intoxication.

The soft music rises
awakens by and by
heart-locked lust
in the upper floor
in this corner and that
the white fizz
of ice-cold in golden brew
feeds un-satiated desire. 

Jazz drums and guitars too
in war-whoop crescendo
summons to do battle:
‘Come hither!
come have your fill of wine
ere life-blood ebbs away!’
Then a dance from nowhere.
‘Thy body is mine
and mine is thine
there’s no I or mine
as we wine and dine
dance and jive
from night to night;
but we move
each according to desire
and that is the custom
of our tribe,’
they said.

In word and in silence
gesture and expression
they also say:
‘Look at me!
kiss this body
this is a style
and upstairs affair
until life ebbs away!’

‘No, this is not love
this flesh-fascination
where love slips to impotency
with a pill that stills life
this is not love.’
Intoxication blends with slumber
lips de-glossed with wine…
there is music but it’s unheard
for the dance has ended,
and there in the half-consciousness
of drunkenness
fallen now
here and there
fast asleep
true nudities stand for inspection
like so many empty glasses.