Saturday Poem

Shakespeare and U Punnya

Shakespeare and U Punnya.
Not enough chanting and singing.
Learn at school and read at home.
Know all the texts.

Once put to memory, in the crowd
drop references boastfully.
Articulate but cannot plough.
Go hungry
when the pitaka pot breaks.

by Tin Moe
from Anya lann ka tamah dann (Rows of Tamah Trees in Upper Burma)
publisher: Shwe Thingaha Myanmar Association Library, Korea, Bucheon City, 2006
translation: Violet Cho and David Gilbert

Translator's Note: U Punnya was a late nineteenth century Burmese poet. The pitaka pot is a Buddhist metaphor for a container of knowledge.