Elegy -

Purananuru 235

If he found a little liquor,
he would give it to us.

If he had more,
he would drink happily
while we sang.
Where is he now?

If he had even a little rice,
he shared it
in many plates.
Where is he now?

If he had more,
he shared it
in many more plates.
Where is he now?

He gave us
all the flesh
on the bones.
Where is he now?

Wherever spear and arrow flew,
he was there.
Where is he now?

With his palms scented
with lemon grass,
he caressed my hair
smelling of meat.
Where is he now?
The spear that pierced his chest
pierced at once
the wide eating bowls
of great and famous minstrels,

pierced many begging palms,

and, dimming the images in the eyes
of men he sheltered,
it went right through the subtle tongues
of poets
skilled in the search
for good words.

Where is he now,
father, mainstay,
Where is he now?

No more,
no singers any more
nor anyone to give anything
to singers.

As in the cold waters
jalap flowers blossom,
large, full of honey,
but die untouched, unworn,

there are many now living
and dying,

without giving
one thing
to others.
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