Posts Tagged ‘Poem’

The Great Guest - Tin Moe


‘On the few occasions that this translator met the poet Tin Moe in the 1970s in Rangoon, Burma and in December 2000 in Melbourne, Australia I did not directly enquire from him as to the ‘occasion’ or the ‘trigger’ which prompted Tin Moe to pen this enigmatic poem, though I have heard a few stories about the ‘origins’ of the poem. These include the claim that Tin Moe penned it at a road-side tea shop when someone ostensibly stated ‘The cigar’s shortened, the sun’s brown’ and Tin Moe supplied or added the last line of the poem of ‘sending back’…’

‘It was only around early August 2009 several months after Maung Swan Yi’s poem was first published that I came across the (to me and in the original) affecting reminiscence by Maung Swan Yi of his two friends. Only after reading Maung Swan Yi’s poem did I become aware of the actual circumstances pertaining to the composition of the poem.‘Shortened Cigars Stained with Nostalgic Tears’ confirms the ‘story’ that I have heard that some person other than Tin Moe composed or at least stated the first two lines of the poem…’

Myint Zan

Shortened Cigars Stained With Nostalgic Tears

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present of a cheroot mae khwe 

Apart from universal human themes, ever present in Burmese poetry is an intense expression of a spiritual way of life and ethical experience. The profound active humanism of the common man is verbally outlined in a form which often turns their poetry into music. That is why the Burmese lyrical art with centuries-old traditions, rich and variegated, arouses a wondering and eager interest.

Burmese poetry has for me a quite special significance. A people of rich and responsive human sympathy, the Burmese are very gifted as a race. They built Pagan, a striking testimony to their spiritual insight. A nation which has such capacity possesses inexhaustible possibilities…

Friedrich V. Lustig

Great Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, 1966

Further Reading:

Rama Thagyin (Songs from the Ramayana) – 1870 Parabaik (Folding book)

People of the Golden Land – Daw Mi Mi Khaing, The Atlantic, 1958

The Early Art of Burma – Thaw Ka, The Atlantic, 1958

Online Burma Library:

Classified and annotated links to more than 40,000 full text documents

The Journal of Burma Studies

From Panegyrics to the End of Poetry (A Laconic Introduction to Burmese Verse):

Ko Ko Thett, Poetry International, January, 2012

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