Thoughts of a Tea Plucker

in tea •  4 months ago 

Thoughts of a Tea Plucker


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(An English translation of Monica Ruwanpathirana’s poem, “ලෙච්චමීගේ සිතුවිල්ලක්” (Lechchamige Sithuvillak) which is originally written in Sinhala)

I reach the plantation gently stepping amidst the cold mist
I drift up along the trails in the hilltop plucking the leaves
I see the estate border while treading the wavy hills
I feel my limbs trembling as I get close to the bush near the edge

My eyelids shiver as the leaves stir in the wind
Tears overwhelm my eyes as the dews drop on the ground
I speak to the grasses grown around the bush and to the great earth
And ask about the son buried beneath the shrub on that day

Raise your head above from the bush, dear son
Come behind me as a man of twenty years, dear son
Come along the footpath, down the mountain, dear son
Seeing the door of the bungalow, do halt there, dear son

My son, shout out a complaint about that day, to be overheard
From the seven doors of the bungalow to the hundred rooms in the ‘line’
From the ridge to the estate lands, and from the mounts to the plains
From the small river to the giant sea, and even beyond that

– Monica Ruwanpathirana (1946-2004)

– Translated by: Indunil Madhusankha
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