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Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Mahagama Sekera’"

"Mahagama Sekera’s verse; honed with a sensitivity to recognise humanity and life, an understanding of tradition and heritage, and an unbounded compassion to human beings; was not only the language of his heart, it was the mark of his genius. It is true that he traversed his creative ocean as a novelist, filmmaker and an artist; but it was the poem that blossomed in his heart as a lotus, exuding fragrance. Has this poetic path been adequately reviewed? We are curious to know if the Sinhala poetic form, which Sekera explored and indeed whose traditional boundaries he shattered as he searched for its identity, has been subject to serious inquiry.

His poetry has the rare quality of humility, he shies away from investigation and implores the reader not to search for him in his work. Thus he consciously recognised the full agentic power of the reader and only speaks of "hopes".

Sekera never demanded. This is evident in the introductory poem in the collection Sakvalihini titled "Mage kaviyen oba dakinna" (view yourself in my poem), which is translated below. It is indeed a gentle and very revealing note on how Sekera wanted to be read, or, more precisely, how he ought not to be read, and why.

"Look not for me in my poem. You and I, and all of us are journeying towards a morning star shining at the far end of a dim sky, knowing and not knowing that we are. Someday, all of you will encounter the great mountains and steep cliffs I meet along the way. When you stumble and lose your way among the many traps along the path, when your body is soiled by the mud showered by untruths, when, bludgeoned, you cling to the earth with weak hands, when that day you weep helplessly just as I have wept, my poetry will becomes yours. Friend! Then, without searching, find yourself and not me in my verse. When the blood that flows from my feet as they break upon thorns and hard gravel, points out the correct path from those that lead astray, and you come to your journey’s end to find the morning star, if you happen to do so before me, a felicitation of flowers will bloom for your feet. Among those petals, find me."

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