A T Dharmapriya, A. IQBAL, Martyrs, Mirrored Images: An Anthology of Sri Lankan Poetry, Parakrama Kodituwakku, Patrick Fernando, poems, Poetry, S Sivasegar, The Fisherman Mourned by His Wife, The Sun Tarry a While
The Sun Tarry a While
Father is still at work…..
I, starting to pant early
am resting my head
on a clump of grass
in the chena
watching the distance far away.
Like small silver blades
the grass blades sprout.
A red ant wanders
along my shirt sleeve.
A song drops down
from open bird-beaks.
Pods of flowers leap up
splitting the earth’s skin.
Sacrificing its yellow yolk
the sun comes closer
Please stay awhile, sun
says my mind like a child
stay awhile, you, the sun!
The roads are only half done
only a little is written
in my letters
just one half the song is sung
the journey is not over yet.
It’s a long long way to go!
The flowers are yet to bloom fully
grant more time to put the house roof on
a lot more there is to learn.
You sun, please tarry awhile.
Translated by A T Dharmapriya
We trapped in our cameras
the miserable sight of your leaving empty handed
We projected the scene into the eyes of the Arabs
who without a plan throw money in all eight directions
With heavy heavings and tears in their eyes they gave generously
and to prove that we gave what we received
we shared out a part
Truly we saw in our heart of hearts
the pain in your wounded heart
Now in your name we run our own organizations
which help to uplift our own lifestyles
Certainly, we grant this unconditionally
you refugees are true martyrs
Translated by S Sivasegar
The Fisherman Mourned by His Wife
When you were not quite thirty and the sun
had not yet tanned you into old-boat brown,
when you were not quite thirty and had not begun
to be embittered like the rest, nor grown
obsessed with death, then would you come
hot with continence upon the sea
chaste as a gull flying pointed home,
in haste to be with me!
Now that, being dead, you are beyond detection,
and I need not be discreet, let us confess
it was not love that married us nor affection
but elders’ persuasion, not even loneliness.
Recall how first you were so impatient and afraid,
my eyes were open in the dark unlike in love,
trembling, lest in fear, you’d let me go a maid,
trembling on the other hand for my virginity
Three months the monsoon thrashed the sea, and you
remained at home; the sky cracked like a shell
in thunder, and the rain broke through.
At last when pouring ceased and storm winds fell,
when gulls returned new-plumed and wild
when in our wind-torn flamboyante
new buds broke, I was with child.
My face was wan while telling you and voice fell low,
and you seemed full of guilt and not to know
whether to repent or rejoice over the situation.
You nodded at the ground and went to sea.
But soon I was to you more than God or temptation,
and so were you to me.
Men come and go, some say they understand,
our children weep, the youngest thinks you’re fast asleep:
theirs is fear and wonderment.
You had grown so familiar as my hand
that I cannot with simple grief
Outside the wind despoils of leaf
trees that it used to nurse;
once more the flamboyante is torn,
the sky cracks like a shell again,
so someone practical has gone
to make them bring the hearse
before the rain