Friday, 7 November 2014

Prabuddha XXI*

The rising moon smiles
the royal temple in sila sanctity smiles
the white sands around the bo tree smile
and I smile too.

The bo tree pleases in its loveliness
calms, subdues eye and mind.

The moon is a gilded creation
coaxing out tender leaves 
copper hued,
and when these copper leaves mature
they yield to an amazing green 
music for ears and eyes no less
when leaves sway in the mildest breeze,
a sunshade exquisite
with blue sapphires embedded
to shade and shade
the earth that is mother
that is angel. 

Pure is the dawn.

The morning star in its resplendence
marks pathway for the rising sun .

Deep in the bosom of Himalayan peaks
dressed with forest
covered by snow
shines with the young rays of the sun
just like the truth pure.

Bliss is the truth.

And under the heavenly sunshade
blessed with divine fanning
at the breaking of the dawn
focused on the morning star did I
O Enlightened One!
To comprehend that
which you had comprehended
my gaze upon the Bo tree
in a gaze-giving of gratitude
silenced the mind
by all this splendor
contemplated the wonderment
that was nature’s singular conjuring,
like a painter who is done with his painting
like a connoisseur enraptured by the aesthete
in the painting discovers self,
to hear and respond
to ‘who am I?’
with a mind escaped from thought. 

“Yassa moole nisinnova - sabbari vijayam aka,
patto sabbannutam satta - vande tam bodhipadapam”.

Seated under which
the Teacher vanquished all foes,
attained Enlightenment ,
in remembrance do I venerate.

The body is the Bo tree
mind a clear mirror
required to be frequently wiped
lest dust settles on its countenance.

There never was a Bo tree
never was a mirror
delve deep
and then there never was
anything at all;
but if this was so
where was there dust
to settle upon mirror-face?

A woman in a red batik lungi
a top made of lace
smiles, blinks her eyes twice
issues forth an invite thus.

people jostling for better view
on either side of the street
await the Vesak procession.
Whips crack
and she whispers
‘Seeing you after ages,
why didn’t you visit?’
the drums up their tempo
raise the beat of insanity
the davul , hewisi and the thammattama  too
all at once
and in the midst of the peering crowd
a hand finds itself held by hand:
‘When will you come?’

‘Next week.’

The fire boys the fire balls turn
the veddahs garbed in leaves dance
there’s the udekki and the torches
the rising of beat for dancing feet
dance, song and somersaults
the eye cannot but in fire-light shine.

‘Whosoever casts lustful eyes upon a woman
in that moment unites with her in carnal embrace.’

‘We are leaving now,
so don’t you forget…

‘The procession passed
Emptiness regained the street.’

‘Your beauty for a long time
was in my thoughts etched,
and that I loved you
I never knew nevertheless.
I will come next week
to see you, somehow.’
Yathà'gàra§ succhanna§
            vuññhi na samativijjhati
Eva§ subhàvita§ citta§
            ràgo na samativijjhati.

Even as rain does not penetrate
a well-thatched house,
so does lust not penetrate
a well-developed mind..

‘Is it good or bad, this journey?’
And yet queries the mind
‘Is it good or bad, this journey?’

*This is the twenty first 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. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The parinirvana countenance

The ultimate recline
journey-end without full stop
release into the unaccepting plains
the being and non-being intersection
known by the knowing
imagined but not grasped
caught in part
in poor empathy
but to us on the this-side
of the no-side state
reason to rejoice
reason to embrace
man and word
in meditative caress.

Inspired by the line poetry of Gamini Abeykoon

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Heroes in waiting

Uniforms are order-made
hear and obey
men and women
do and die
win and lose wars
where dead-end
is a lettered wall
for honor that will not placate
the aggrieved;
and yet unstopped
by epitaph commonality
they march, run and take aim
to do the do-n-die
for bread-winning and nation
each a story
in the sad must-do lives
in might-happen lands.
that disappear
in the rising of numbers
so inevitable
for flag-fluttering tomorrows.

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