It is natural for us to get interested in peoples and cultures, especially when we stay in countries for a considerable length of time. Bangkok for me was like a second home. It was delightful to see so many young couples moving around in shopping complexes, markets, the streets and other places of gathering. It is always delightful to see people in love, more so when they stay in love and are faithful to each other.
These devoted and loyal lovers perhaps do not make any news, divorces do go to the headlines. One way of knowing about love it to know the poetry of a nation. It is difficult to get access to Thai poetry and there is a case for a column in news papers or blogs to provide such access.
With Japan, another country with which I am closely associated, I have no problem as it is easy to have access to poems through papers like the Asahi Shimbun. This paper has a regular Haiku section. Recently I had access to a beautiful Thai poem,two stanzas of which I am tempted to reproduce below:( Interestingly this poem is also a thesis on poetry)
I wrap the sky around myself
to keep away the cold
and eat starlight late at night
to take the place of rice.
Dewdrops scatter below the sky
for me to find and drink,
and out my poems flow
to greet the morn, to last the age.
My purpose in composing poems
is to salvage the soul.
now lying upon the swift, bold
currents and waves of time.
Although this life, which is not long,
gets all used up so soon,
the heart’s proclamations,
sparkling and divine, shall last.
The Poet’s Testament, Angkarn.
The complete poem is in six stanzas, I have quoted above the first two. In a certain sense, through poetry we talk to ourselves, to our souls. The soul is always plural and in effect, we talk to all human beings.