Kawi Poem

Pina is the name of a Sinhala man and Ambalama is a road-side shed for travelers.


Here's the song and translation with the original notes by Koon Wijekoon…

Ambalame Pina Pina
Walan kadak gena gena
Eeeka bindapi gona gona
Eekata mata sina sina" (also: Ekata mata hina hina)

Pina (name of a Sinhala man) of the Ambalama (road-side shed for travelers)
Came with a yoke-load of pots (a pingo-load of earthen cooking-pots)
That (whole thing) was broken by a bull
(and) For that I laughed (and laughed)


Koon Wijekoon wrote: The one I sent you (i.e. Ambalame Pina Pina) is a very old Sinhala "Kawi". It is a kind of poetry written by many writers - some are many hundreds of years old. [According to Sinhala History books, the Kotte (a small town near present Kotte in Sri Lanka) period was very popular for Kawi.] How old this is not known. The writer is also not known.

The last word in each line is separated, but belongs to the same line.
This is a rule in writing Kawi.

Each line must end with the same vowel or consonant. (Giving the same sound.)
In Sinhala, each consonant has an inherent vowel. Letters look like curly hair!

Some rules of writing a Kawi:

A Kawi in Sanskrit is a poet - in Sinhala it is Kawiya.
Normally it has four lines.
Each line ends with the same sound - they rhyme.
It should look like a paragraph giving a hint or a meaning at the end.
The rhyme in all the four lines must be respected.
All the four lines are directed to one good meaning.

This is a kawi (or kavi) I wrote when I was a school boy:
The text book I had was Dickens' "A tale of two cities"
After writing the whole book in 200 kavwi's, I ended the book like this:

"Matakada Dickensge mee potha labunu daya?
Ehi atha pirimikama, mitudama hondata liya
Pem lokaye rasa kamaya iwatha thiya
Sirakaru Sidney gilatinaya wethata giya"

Translation (not poetically):

Remember this great book of Dickens that became so popular?
There he wrote how great the manhood and friendship is.
Casting away the sweet lust and desire in this world.
The Prisoner Sidney, went towards the Guillotine!

MP3 of Matakada Dickensge

(Note: This isn't written for kids! Though the language is not strong or dirty!)



Many thanks to Koon Wijekoon for contributing and translating this song, for singing it for us and for the interesting commentary.

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