What is this tranquil scene upon a lotus pond
that stretches far and wide,
and captures all the silence in one breath?
A painted canopy of rural life,
transformed of horrors beyond belief,
to cool blue calm,
a past – hushed,
thrust to distant times,
within the pause of this most pleasant scene.
As swallows dart and dive and dip their wings,
skimming the fluid surface,
and pristine white butterflies glide gently on a luscious breeze,
fluttering from one soft grass to another,
smooth and dark,
embroidered with islands of succulent green,
embellished from time to time with blooms of deepest pink,
soothes them all.
Here and there humankind skims the surface too,
in search of life within.
Aquatic dreams fit for half-clad fishermen,
who cast their bamboo rods from bamboo stilts,
and bend like bamboo switches eager for an evening catch,
knowing the sun will fall within the hour,
when everything transforms,
when soft blue light of day yellows,
and yellow fades to orange and orange again transforms;
and when the pink light comes,
for now just one remains,
as he does so every day,
as his father taught him
and he now his son,
that when the pink light comes,
when the pink light comes – make haste.
Make haste my son,
do not delay,
for twilight wraps her cloak,
She casts her shadows far and wide upon us fisherfolk.
Her patience does not tarry,
she paints the evening black,
make haste my son to lift these fish upon your lithesome back.
Home cooking fires await you,
your ma awaits you too,
she beckons with a homeward song:
My legacy, my life, my love, my son,
Swim strong my son swim strong.
(From Travels Across Cambodia)