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PHU, Sunthorn


Oh, how everything was against me then

Even white ants made their way to my bedroom.

They ate the mat and destroyed all my books.

It was distressing to think of those books

And the yellow robes I used to wear

Had holes in them like my weeping eyes.

I salute the Pagoda of the Holy Relics

May the true religion live forever.

I make merit, so the Buddha helps me

Increase my power to attain enlightenment.

And I’d like my words, my book,

To preserve, till the end of time and heavens,

Sunthorn the scribe who belongs

To the King of the White Elephant


Phra Apai Manee

Music has all encompassing merits,

its worth is of a city, it can be as useful as you wish,

May it be the race of men, Garundas, or Indra — the Lord of gods,

or any beast that walks on four feet upon this Earth,

Should they ever hear the song of my flute,

All wrath and anguish would disappear from their minds,

Their souls ameliorated, they will be sound asleep,

The faith in music is always rewarding,

If you still have doubt in your heart,

Lay down and I will play my flute for you.

The Journey to Petchburi

How cold it was when I volunteered a quest

To Petchburi for His Royal Highness.

Embarking a boat at the temple, I prayed,

Remembering his royal patronage, as always.
When Thai men proposed these fair maidens to wed,

Tough like cold iron, they played hard to get.

To men loaded with money like the rich Chinese,

Soft like hot iron, they became easy to please.

Ob, ob, the frogs croaked fiercely,

Like castanet tempos, they screeched horridly.

Chirr, chirr, crickets chirped with friends.

Insect orchestra chilled my heart again

Oh, parental love, even for poor monkeys,

Offspring they loved ever so dearly.

Mother lovingly breast-feeding their wee ones,

They were so cute, watching them was fun.

At Klong Samsib-song Kod we arrived.

Many canal bends winding left and right.

From the boat, I asked young to tally.

The total was thirty-two-bends exactly.

Among stone crevices, grown bhodi and banyan trees,

Intanil and nang-yam bloomed colorfully.

Over the mountain, shady lanthom trees stood around

Scattering flowers all over the ground.


Translated by Ivasabutr SAWANEE