|The Theme - Cumaratunga's Lullaby
(This first appeared
in "Shikshamargaya" - III, 24th September 1933.)
In this poem the mother who lulls the baby to sleep, is carried away by the thought, that all the animate and inanimate things in the environment, turn out to be contributory factors in maintaining perfect silence for the sound sleep of the infant. It is remarkable to note, how the poetic melody moves smoothly and easily. Once you listen to the Cradle-Rhythm evoked by the Sinhalese poem, you may be able to feel flowing through it, the silent sweet music of the lullaby. It is indeed the mothers lulling-flute that lures all of us for a soothing silence. Cumaratungas most remarkable poetic genius, has brought out quite well, the suggestive - associations pertaining to the theme and above all, the poetic artistry to fit the meaning to purpose, has set the suitable metere for a Cradle rhythm, and the soothing tone is glowing over the whole poem. As observed by Tagore, words are for those who have received command to ornate the hall of live for its festivities.
When compared with English Lullabies in Mother Goose, (The complete book of Nursery Rhymes), first published in 1919, and later in 1760, and 1785, Cumaratungas lullaby ranks very high both in content and Form, for an example, compare and contrast these with the following:-
"Hush - a - bye baby, lie still with thy daddy,
The mother has gone to the mill, to get some wheat to make some meat.
So pray my baby dear lie still."
Hush - bye - baby on the tree top.
Hush - a bye baby on the tree top.
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
Down will come baby, bough, cradle and all."
An appreciation of Cumaratungas Lullaby appeared in Kavi - Shikshava in 1933, with special reference to the verses 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. commenting on the aesthetic merits and the elegance of the language. The following English Versification is for those who are not conversant with the original verses in Sinhala.
1. The cradle cosy and nice,
Swings to the tune precise
Hearing the sweet lullaby
Sleep dear baby.
2. Here comes Mamy Sleep
Her embrace will she keep.
Sleep baby sleep.
3. "As the Sun - beams are far too heaty",
The beams in the deep submerge.
To wet them and emerge.
Just see the love thats hearty.
4. As the moon is bitter cold
The hare took a leap bold
Doesnt this good fellow
Keep half the beama mellow.
5. Lest the baby be taken by fright
Nestlings are not in noisy - plight.
Hardly any use of the lullaby.
The female birds sleep thereby.
6. Refraining from nack - scratching,
Checking the tinkling and bells resounding,
Their urge to grace with ease
The calves, do along with cease.
7. Gekos chase over hot on the trail
After flies, their sounds not to prevail.
Mouth to mouth compression there.
Thus the babys silence they care.
8. Our timepiece there to keep
Well the babys peace of sleep,
To denote the passing time,
Dosent give the lamenting - chime.
9. The wind embracing ordour
Of diverse flower - groves moves
softend by the window - curtains
Inducing the infants smile and colour.
10. Trees with rustling nature bound
Allow the soft breeze
To move through with ease
Not evoking any sound.
11. The river with wind together
Avoiding the usual chatter
In dumb silence bears,
The rapping of the oars.
12. On moon-lit sandy planes
Scattering flowers, the nymphs,
Dance devoid of anklets,
Casting this way their glances.
13. The heavenly - hosts young,
Without drums and Veenas -
By means of heads and hands
Evoke tune, not in high rung.
14. The moon without casting to the ground,
The beams alike and from - bound,
By the filtering cloud - process.
Sends mild beamlets without stress.
15. Setting the tree - shade - darkness around,
Without the least possible sound
The moon - beams on the river,
Dance with lifted feet sober.
16. When moon - beams often beat,
The Saman flowers - the cherubs
Lest it hurts the tender ears,
Hold up their tender hands.
17. "The studded stars bright glare
Seems too much for the cradle - care."
So thinking the stars shudder
As if in Awe - striken manner.
18. To kiss you with love sheer
The nymphs ivying with each other
Fear - striken they tip-toe
Pressing the ground below.
19. Saraswathi - The muse
To your mouth her kiss will infuse.
Lakshami the godess of well-being
Will embrace your very being.
20. Here comes Mammy - Sleep
Her embrace will she keep.
Sleep baby sleep
Sleep baby sleep.
The Summary and the English Versification by Sandadas Coperahewa