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The most beautiful poem in the world

I came to know Kalpana Ambrose through her writing on the Web. I found them very rhythmical and sensitive. Especially her Sinhala ones I found incredibly delicate. So in the end Kalpana became a facebook friend. One day, whiling away at the FB I came across her status update. It did seem and sound familiar, but I could not exactly recall where I’ve seen it before. Normally I am not so concerned about grammar issues, but I replicate it here with a small grammar amendment. Just check if you have seen or heard the following somewhere:The most beautiful poemin the world is not written so far.It’s hidden there in heart of someone who is not a poet at alla A serious poetry reader gathers something from these lines, I know. But these lines, at the same time, give out several hints to our contemplation. It reminds me two tales.

The first one is a famous Hans Christian Anderson fairytale where doctors advise a sick king to wear a shirt of a happy man. If you don’t know the story, the king fell ill with no cure. So the king had aristocrat offers from all over country. But none of them was eligible. They however were not qualified, because they were not happen men. Royal courtiers had a hard time locating the happiest on earth. Finally they came across someone almost haphazardly. That someone was a shepherd really a down and out. His income went to mouth straight from hand. He couldn’t even afford a shirt to put on. But he is the only one who could frankly claim to be the happiest on earth. Courtiers of course could see he was hassle-free all the time with less worries and no high ambitions. The second story is a little even in a Sinhala translation I read. I must have mentioned about it earlier too. It’s Vibhootibhooshana Bandyopadya’s Aranakata Pem Benda (translated from Bengali into Sinhala by Chintha Lakshmi Sinha Arachchi) where a man sitting for hours gazing at a streamlet. The man is poor in the sense he is left starved for days. But still for the narrator this man seems to be at his tranquil holding gaze. It should be his happiness.

While reading Kalpana’s status update, memories of these two tales crawled, as if it’s a secret mission, to my mind. For some reason I was already familiar with those lines. There are times I wonder how can only some people be called poets. In a way I think all of us are poets. Only that poets know how to manipulate language to suit their spontaneous feelings. But you should have the right feeling for that. That means you have to be a philosopher too. Philosopher is not someone with a long beard. In fact you cannot make out a philosopher, just the way you cannot know an Arahath. One thing is sure, everyone of us is not a philosopher. And every poet and lyricist is not a philosopher either. So don’t ask me who are philosophers and who are not, I don’t know. I can’t draw a line and define what philosophy is and who a philosopher is. But I can tell you what is my thought of a philosopher. A philosopher may not know how to read.

A philosopher may not be well versed in a particular subject. A philosopher may not be able to say his thought in a high flown or simple convincing way. A philosopher may be considered insane. A philosopher can be dumb and stupid.

Anderson’s character obviously doesn’t know his letters; so does Bhandopadya’s character. They cannot be happy the way we see. But they are happy, why? There you are. See, doesn’t Buddhism-only Buddhism, I think - offer an answer? Remember that conversation between Dhaniya Gopallawa and the Buddha. Dhaniya Gopallawa had all his wealth, this and that, while the Buddha had only a few belongings. But the Buddha was happier because he had no fear of losing them. Not only material things, but also ideologies. More we study ideologies, more we get entangled in them. Even a standard poet, if he is to write beautiful poetry, he has to study many kinds of poetry in addition to his born talent. This indirectly makes him entangled in a self-made net. So someone unfamiliar with all those ideologies may write down the best poem, because his mind is like crystal clear water.

Actually speaking, you don’t have to read thousands of those ‘words of comfort’. However much you read, they cannot make you happy. It’s something you have to cultivate on your own giving up worries. I find it a little bit hard to explain this. But let me give it a try. If you can enjoy artistic beauty of a nude figure without letting unwanted thoughts disrupt your peace of mind. If you can enjoy hustle and bustle of a town just like the way you enjoy the cheep or a chirp of a bird in forest. It’s entirely the way you see things. When you are devoid of so many things, even hustle and bustle will be soothing music.

You don’t have to be a man of letters to breathe in that. In fact knowledge and information spoil happiness unless you are philosophical enough to handle that. I picture that poor shepherds in Anderson fairytale. I picture that ragged man in Bhattacharya’s novel. They take that respite somewhere in the back of my mind. They seem to confess or blurt out something. I know pretty well they cannot put their catharsis into words, because that’s hidden in their hearts. And Kalpana is right because they are not poets at all.

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