Raj Arumugam

Many Stories To Tell - Poem by Raj Arumugam

I will tell you a story, Most Reverend One
how 300 fairies transported me
to the Mountains of Peach Lands
and how I denied them each my heart -
but ha, ha - I can see, you laugh;
you do not believe me...

but I have more reasonable stories -
for example
of how the Earth was created;
it’s true, O Most Reverend One
there’s such a Being up there
eating chicken dumplings
and poking His nose
in trivial and very grave human affairs...
O he, he, he...you see my tales are but fancy
and do not believe such a Creature can exist...

but am I done, most Reverend One?
Is my list of tales and myth and stories
so limited? - No, I have a list of stories
as long as the tale of the Divine Monkey
that first whipped all stars into position
and with its Monkey hands squeezed each planet into solid mass
O there you are, you laugh and make me happy
you encourage me, O Most Reverend One

I will study your mood
and I can tell you a tale
of how your ancestors
shaped this land
and how they brought that chair you sit
from the Diamond Palaces of faraway India -
oh, ho, ho, ho - you didn’t know that?
and generations of your clan have sat there on that chair
and so do you - and you never knew its story...
I have long lists of stories and tales
all true and collected from lands far and wide -
ah you laugh, Most Reverend One -
and you encourage me...

My story itself will interest you
for I was born of noble family with great wealth
and pomp and estate and attendants
but when my mum died,
she said to me:
Go you forth
and collect the world’s stories
and so I gave away all my possessions
and I travelled all abroad
and have come to my current itinerant state...
See, my life itself is a story -
worthy of our operas and and street theaters
with much comedy and adventures...
ha, ha, ha - O ho, ho, ho
you laugh and you are pleased
which pleases me...

Call then your clan together, O Most Reverend One;
set up a platform
and I will shine like a sun on this platform
and I will tell these tales
in the gentle light of the moon and torches
and I shall spin tales of the moment
for each man and woman
and each child of your most revered clan, O Most Reverend One...
you laugh, and you nod
you are pleased - oh, oh, ha....ha...ha...
that’s good Most Reverend One...

But now, Most Reverend One,
I never start without terms...
shall we first talk about my accommodation, food, facilities
and payment?

_____________________________ ________________
poem based on painting titled 'Jeon (telling a story) ' by Jang Seungeop (1843~1897) (Korea)

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Poem Submitted: Monday, December 5, 2011

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