Plus - Letter to the Editor

That first Poson

Look, the Poya moon is rising,
Bathing Missaka’s craggy heights
In a golden glow.
The white clad pilgrims
Wend their way slowly upwards;
The fragrance of joss and jasmine in the air,
And temple bells in the distance.
It is Poson Poya.

It was just such a night as this
– No pilgrims then.
We were out for the hunt.
The deer bounding up those rocks,
And I in hot pursuit;
“Tissa, Tissa,” and again, “Tissa, Tissa” –
The mountain rang with the cry,
And the echo answered mockingly, “Tissa-a-a-a-...”
Someone called me so,
And I, the Kig!

Then I saw them;
The golden robed ones
Standing silhouetted,
Serene and still
On Missaka’s moonlit peak –
Messengers of peace and friendship
From Asoka’s mighty realm across the sea.
The foremost of them
Mahinda, himself royal born.

He spoke to me, and
Strange things he said –
Of universal love
To man and beast alike;
Of a law, “Kamma’s law”,
Above the rule of kings;
Each man reaps the fruit of his deeds –
From monarch to the meanest slave.

Rich and poor in my kingdom
Flocked to hear him;
Enthralled, they turned away from the old gods.

The face of Lanka thrilled to
Mahinda’s gentle touch;
A wondrous dawn pervaded the land;
And this I know:
My people and I
Will never be the same again.

Wishwaranee Nahahawatte, Pita Kotte

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