“To our dearly-beloved son – now dead!”

by T. Wignesan

for Mahathero Gunasena

In a makeshift vihara in the heart of London
Bikku then disclosed his parents long gone
Might one dare utter after all these years
Was it yesterday he would shed dry tears

Somewhere in the saffron folds of his faith
A lonely boy still lurked wanting his mother
Or brother sister and hope-dislocating father
Of how they could abandon even his wraith

Just a single line in the inner board of a book
Over dried blue ink his fingers caressed words
A life he might’ve had in who knows what worlds
He just wanted to say: ‘See, who so forsook!’

In an unwatched vihara in the heart of London
A forsaken boy dared break out of monkdom
Might one dare utter after all these years
Was it yesterday he would shed dry tears

Too late he had come to own up this truth:
‘If there’s a Supreme Being leave Him well be
He knows best what He’s doing forsooth
Mind your own business leave Him well be!’

Should one gauge the measure of a man’s humanity
From his ability to outgrow imposed attachments:
Such as confines of his community race or country
But most of all withstand the viral encroachments
Of his conditioned beliefs upon his own personality.

© T. Wignesan – Paris – September 8, 1983 (Rev. 2012)

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About T. Wignesan

If I might be allowed to say so, I think my "first" love was poetry. Unfortunately for me, the British curricula at school did not put me in touch with the Metaphysical Poets, nor with the post-Georgian school. Almost all the school texts after World War II contained invariably Victorian narrative poems and some popular examples of Romantic poetry. I chanced upon a selection of T. S. Eliot's and Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a little later on Pope's An Essay on Man and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. That did the trick. Yet, I regret not having taken to prose in earnest earlier than the publication of my first collection: Tracks of a Tramp (1961). There's nothing like trying your hand at all kinds of prose exercises to come to grips with poetry. Or rather to see how poetry makes for the essence of speech/Speech and makes you realise how it can communicate what prose cannot easily convey. I have managed to put together several collections of poems, but never actually sought to find homes for them in magazines, periodicals or anthologies. Apart from the one published book, some of my sporadic efforts may be sampled at http://www.stateless.freehosting.net/menupage.htm