Sunday, May 18, 2008

WHEN THE WIND HURLS STONES (For Manik Sandrasagra, in Memoriam)

When wind hurls stones,

picks up straw houses,

When earth rumbles,

splits, buries buildings,

When bomb sends bus

flying in Colombo Fort,

When a good man,

precise thinker, reader

of ola leaves and

digital text, gives way

--his body opened

before surgeons--

and we try

to make sense

out of nonsense,

to understand

the boil on the brain,

the blocked artery,

the alarming message:

"surgery did not

go well. We must pray."

He told me

he missed an earlier

Fort explosion

by a minute.

He had just driven

through the round-about.

Today, another bomb,

and in a surgeon's ward,

I don't know where,

in Singapore or Colombo,

we ask for doctors

we can trust, but even

the trusted are not God,

are subject to human

vanity and uncertainty.

Perhaps there is no human

way to cope, except

with hands flailing,

to cut all parties down,

in grief's general cacophony,

in the general madness

of endless war and endless

explosions in the Fort,

and hearts blocked up

in millions of bodies

on all the continents,

and we're left with words,

funeral orations, memories

of the soul freed now

who made our lives

glad for a time.

-- Indran Amirthanayagam, May 17, 2008


The Little Prince said...

Brilliant poem for a brilliant man. I like the linkages to the other calamities of the day, and this latest one joins that list. I still remember the evening we spent behind the Taj while Pradeep's wedding reception concluded. I discovered this googling Manik Marma:

In between our other activities, which included recording Nihal singing ‘The Master Hand’ by Nimal Mendis with a 30-piece orchestra, I found myself visiting Mano Chanmugam regularly in Wallington to work on a film script called the ‘White Swami’ with Rex Cooke, who shared Mano’s home with him. The script was based on the stories I had heard from Soundhi. The Beatle George Harrison, whom I had met through John Barham, a fellow sitar student under Pandit Ravi Shankar, was the first to read the script and call me at Mano’s with great enthusiasm. He wanted my permission to share it with Mick Jagger. However the Indian guru of ‘Transcendental Meditation’, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, arrived in London at the same time as I was pushing my script. A star-studded cast turned up at the London Hilton Ballroom to hear the Maharishi and I lost my stars as they took off with the Maharishi to discover transcendental bliss in Bangor Maine in Wales.


Indran Amirthanayagam said...

Harisha, am very glad to have this detail about Manik's explorations in film and his friendships with the Beatles. Am reminded of Tambimuttu's Apple ties when he published Poetry London/New York. I must find out about the White Swami script, if it was made into a film. What happened to it. Of course, we need to find out about all of Manik's film production as well as so much more that now depends on all of us touched by his legacy. Yours, Indran

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