A Silent Moon

by Prof. Sasanka Perera 

This gentle night,

You may have seen –

                [you] may have felt,

These sparkling stars

                and moonbeams that peeped

from beyond the ring of mighty mountains,

Where the green had withered

with the setting of the sun

that scorched the undulating sands –

Just as I saw;

                Just as I felt.

Amidst crowds we remain,

                alone, apart:

Witness to the same moon,

                Absorbing the serenity of the stars.


You did not see

the sights I saw,

Those drawn in my mind’s eye,

                like I did!

                Like they blossomed in my mind!

Though sun, moon and stars

wax and wane forever,

I remain, self-imprisoned

                in the celestial abode of an ancient king

that rises into the skies among these mighty domes,


In a simulated glorified moment

                when history


This sun, this moon,

These stars and mighty mountains

                would have witnessed

for  centuries

the passing of history

within these giant celestial walls,

Before it stopped,

                in a second

                of incoherence

                in recent times.

Melodious flutes would have

called out to gods and kings,

Endless illusory songs mingling with the hymns of lyrical anklets

                reaching out to serene skies!

Those endless words whispered

                have ceased today

when history

is stilled.

Did you behold those ancient moments

                painted in my mind,

That night we remained apart,

                under the flickering stars

                and the sparkling moonbeam?

Those raised swords and spears would have

glittered bright in the [noonday] sun,

when enemy forces charged across the hills,

the lower plain filled with cavalry;

The melodious flute would have ceased,

                the anklets stilled,

                in this moment of arrested history.

Who is to recount that tale,

When sun, moon and stars

                are determined to be silent

and the ramparts of this palace

hold their tongue?  

Song and dance are heard today,

and will be tomorrow,

Amidst the flow of wine

When these throngs of strangers admire and honor

                an unknown history


in the shadows of the past.

The royal children and their enemies

are but lonely figures

on these celestial ramparts,


faded, and forgotten.

In this illusory moment

                of reality

                when history stops,

Drink in these stars!

Embrace the devotional moon!

Though you do not see

                these images etched in my mind!

(Original Sinhala version of this poem was written in Neemrana,

Rajasthan on 20th March 2007. It was translated into English by Samudrika Sylva

 on  05th October 2010 in Colombo)


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