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The Collapse of Power

Saw Wai

under this sha-manic sky

with its favourable spirits and forks of lightning

why do unknown numbers

dance into obscurity?


Armstrong! oh Armstrong!

are there multi-coloured cauldrons

in the centre of your iris?

how sublime your iris!



in this most totemic of pressure-cookers

there is: 

 no Thomas Edison

 no Kanaung prince

 no Thein Pe Myint

 no Jack London

 no Vincent Van Gogh

 no Paw Oo Thet

 no Saya Zawgyi

 no Rabindranath Tagore

 no John Lennon

 no Myoma Nyein

 no collegian Ne Win

 no Robert Redford

 no Harold Robbins

 no Ahtoutthaw Hla Aung

 no Thakhin Aung San

 no nothing is there

 no nothing 





(in the cauldron of dreamtime)

how these bubbling mists

of a jungle imagination

are demented and embellished

by the red of


 first light


From The Wolf No 17 (Spring 2008). Translated from the Burmese by Niall McDevitt.