Monday, 21 September 2015

Prabuddha XXVI

Within the human heart
and in the entire universe
in all things great and small
beauty did he see
as he in years grew.

He began to see love
as he in years grew
within this beauty

As starlight fell
upon a reservoir’s waters
and in the drizzle
first trembled them blended 
a faint music did he hear;
and for the softly falling rain
the waters of the reservoir 
and the starling
he felt love.

The blue bamboo on the riverbank 
the reeds and the ripples
united with moonlight and breeze
and as they swayed
a dance unnoticed before did he witness;
and for the reeds, the bamboo grove and moonlight
he felt love.

Upon a carpet of white puffy clouds 
the half-moon did rise
’tween the branches of a dead ‘pal tree 
and this to him
was a painting exquisite;
for the white clouds, the half-moon
and the crook in a dead tree
he felt love.

A solitary rock by the seashore
on a solitary vine a clump of leaves
a solitary star that kept watch
in a corner of the sky
delighted him
filled him with love.

Time passed
and much more time too,
and then,
realized did he
that the solitary rock
the clump of leaves  
the twinkling stars
and the entire universe
loved him back. 

From then onwards
to rocks and hills and mountains did he speak
rocks and hills and mountains to him did speak
just like the beggar 
that day so long ago.

Thereafter did he hear
the faintest sounds unheard before
thereafter did he see
colors nuanced as never before seen
and he could turn color into melody
and melody to color
time and space were one 
and one alone. 

            passe ce visual§ sukha 
Caje mattà sukha§ dhãro 
            sampassa§ vipula§ sukha

[If by a lesser happiness conceded
a greater one is beheld
the wise verily does concede
the lesser for the greater.]

Sakunto jàlamutto' va 
            appo saggàya gacchati

[As from a new a bird escapes
into a blissful state go few]

He had not realized
but he had aged
until in the water-mirror 
his face he encountered
as he leaned over
form a pond to gather 
a scoop of water.

This was the face 
of the mendicant at the station
so many years ago
it was the same face
calm and peaceful.

Thin fingers, keen eyes
wrinkled cheeks and forehead
chest hair white
clothes in places torn
and wrapped in a cloth
brown and dirty;
a beard tangled
and hair tied
at peace he was
and a countenance
glazed with calm.  

Thereafter did they come to him
from all walks
all types
laying bare their sorrows
seeking from him succor.

‘A friend it was who gave your address;
she said you are kind
that you see others’ sorrows
and that’s why I wrote.’

‘A twenty-four year old young man am I
burdened with legs that have no use
about such as I
could you something write, ask I.’

‘There’s no one brother
no one to listen
to my sorrowful tale.
I have my parents but they are uneducated
I have things to say
but they do not understand;
my husband left and went his way
even if he returns, we fight
if not for the children
I would to my village return
into the sea I would jump 
and end it all,
I sometimes wish I could.’

‘There’s a hole in the heart
so they say
I could go any day
no one tells
but I once overheard.
I feel I could sum up courage to die
if only I could with you
speak a word
or two.’

The young man with a jovial look
came in hesitation and doubt:
‘I might be a bother to you,
but there’s no one
to share my sorrow with
you are my ideal!’

I am no hero!
I, like you,
have suffered
but I would listen to you.’

‘I have a twisted face
grotesque is my mouth
my lips and nose,
wealth have I inherited
but young girls look with scorn
no one’s love can I ever secure. ‘

I spoke with them long
they were comforted
that someone listened
to their lamentations
they saw his heart
for he was transparent
it was filled with love
that heart,
they saw 

and were comforted. 

This translation of Mahagama Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha', is an exercise that has the permission and blessings of the immediate family of the poet.


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