Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Dear Grackle, how happy you must be!

“The Devi Ulakudaya
to a boy has given birth
Dear Grackle
how happy you must be!

The king will no doubt reward you now
and shower veneration on the author-bikkhu
for seven full days from now in Kotte
all manner of celebration there will be”

“The journey was nothing like the poem
no food, nothing to drink, no place to sleep
of what was described nothing did I see
I could not an order disobey
and to the God Vibheeshana passed the note

Listen, friend! While I was away
a rat-snake of formidable size destroyed my home
my daughter’s feathers were all over the place
and my love, of grief and a broken heart did die

The Devi Ulakudaya, the king and the haamuduruwo
they send three messages of condolence, this is true
but did not visit, said not one small word
at the funeral my sorrow to ease…”

[translation of "සැළලිහිණියෝ උඹට කොහොම සතුටක් ඇත්ද?" from the collection "මීළඟ මීවිත" by Ruwan Bandujeewa]

*The reference is to the Salalihini Sandeshaya (or 'The Grackle Letter') and epic poem written by Ven Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thera in the 15th Century during what is often referred to as the Golden Age of Sinhala Literature at the time King Parakramabahu VI reigned in Kotte.


  1. Oh! Dear Grackle , How can I ease you ? We never thought about it ,we only enjoyed the poems .I apologize you and so sorry to hear the things you are holding within.

    I really felt this .

  2. Very creative and a fine translation