The Beda Flower

by U Thein Han
Close friends of the water,
The beda hyacinths are floating on the stream.
There is no wind today, but they drift with the current
In a movement that is endless and timeless.
On the bank sits a boy with a reed pipe who mimics the coucal bird;
The coucal leads, and then the piper follows:
“O Beda, who come with the flow-tide and go with the ebb,
How I shall miss you when you have gone.
“Upstream and downstream you float;
From where did you come, and where are you going?
And when the sun sets and the current slackens,
By what bank will you come to rest?”

(Freely adapted from the Burmese original)