Quiet night thoughts | Sunday Observer

Quiet night thoughts

27 June, 2021

“ The moon and the stars
Remain silent
Trees and leaves
Remain still
Only the thoughts
Are still awaken.”

These amazing lyrics which we find in one of the songs rendered by Pandit Amaradeva’s unrivalled delicate voice takes us to another world far from where we exist. Obviously, we can hardly find a song or a poem in which the moon has not been used. Perhaps, you might know that in the world of poetry a poem should be everywhere encompassing every facet related to the main theme. When speaking of the Chinese poems we can never forget the indelible mark left by Li Bai in the world of Chinese poetry.

Li Bai, born in the year 701 had composed many poems to embellish Chinese literature. The significant fact is that poems penned by Li Bai convey important incidents in his life including his friends and places. It is believed that Li Bai’ s poems emerged in the Golden Era of Chinese literature. Focusing on one of his poems titled Quiet night thoughts it is evident that we can view this poem synonymous with a multi-faceted diamond from many angels.

Quiet night thoughts
“ The moon light
Shining in front of my bed
More like the frost on the grass
On raising my head
I can glance at the moonlight
On lowering my head
I remember my home village “
Nostalgic feelings

You may have already thought that this poem is about someone’s nostalgic feelings. True, Li Bai through this poem has conveyed nostalgic feelings. But there exists a silent murmur embedded in the lines of this poem.

Going through the first line of this poem, what springs to our minds is the fact that the poet can directly cast a glance at the moon. Firstly, he sees the moon which has brought and refreshed the memories of his beloved ones and the village. Secondly, comes a comparison between the frost and the moonbeams.

The poet through his imagination has captured the night scenery in a mesmerising manner. The dew on the gossamer scattered throughout the garden has been compared by the poet to moonbeams. On the other hand, it can be said that Li Bai has been fascinated by this morning view. Next comes the third line which portrays that the poet’s memory and feelings get triggered by the moon.

Obviously the moon, as you are aware, has been used by the poets to portray nuances of feelings and ideas such as love, loneliness, hatred, sorrow, misery and happiness. Going back to the fourth line of the poem, it is clear that he closes his eyes hiding nostalgic feelings in his heart.

Here is the connection between the moon and the village, though it is alien to the Sri Lankan culture, has to be discussed in a broad sense. In the Chinese culture the moon has occupied a vital role. It is observable that many poems and stories in the world of literature revolve around the moon. One good example for this is the ‘Change ‘ myth of China.’

The moon

In the Chinese culture the moon is viewed as the mirror that bridges one another. That is why Li Bai has utilised the moon as a device to reflect the Mid- Autumn festival of China.

Regarded from another perspective, it is possible to witness that not only the Chinese poets but also the Sri Lankan poets had used the moon as a device.

One good example for this is veteran artiste Pandit Amaradeva’s Sadha horen horen bala. Going through the lines of this song it is clear that the poet had captured a romantic scene between two lovers at night. The point being made is that there can be found many reasons why poets bind their poetic feelings and emotions together with the moon.

Undoubtedly, the moon has been transformed by the poets into a universal symbol which has transcended all the boundaries. Then questions can arise within us as to why the moon is gendered as feminine.

Indeed, yes! It is because of the fact that the moon borrows its light from the sun which is considered to be the male.

Then comes to our minds the veteran lyricist Malani Jayarathna’s celestial lyrics Amma sadaki mama e lowa hiruya didi. This is the universal truth brought out by her through the delicate words.

The second reason as pointed out by many is the moon’s association with menstrual cycles. Both the lunar month (In China there can be found the Lunar Calendar as well) and the menstrual cycle run during the same period.

The most common reason well known by many is the calmness and the comfort of the moon. From my personal perspective, the moon, though it appears to be silent and calm, conveys thousands of feelings and obviously can be viewed as a poem that many poets had failed to admire.