Saturday, February 16, 2008

Burmese referendum, whipping quarry slaves to silent halls of death


So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan which moves

To that mysterious realm,

where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

(William Cullen Bryant. 1794–1878)


Thiri said...

Dear Ko Burmakin,

I am deeply sorry to read the lyrics of Thanatopsis.Burmese are no more different from quarry slaves now.As a matter of fact,they themselves have volunteered to be silent for nearly five decades.As a result,they are now driven to the halls of utter silence that is a kind of death.

with tears that are welling up in my eyes,

MG said...

They are treated like quarry slaves.They are scourged to the dungeon and finally brought to silent halls of death.But...

Still people are dreaming.This is the land they have to carry their own draperies for laying their couches. Still... they think they could have pleasant dreams.


Melody Snow said...

I don't think so.As a matter of fact,the poet was trying to talk about the nature of life and death.
That is why,the title becomes "Thanatopsis".

The life of human beings were compared with quarry slaves.In existentialistic sense,from the emperor to the leper,essentially we are quarry slaves.Slaves don't earn anything for all their hard work for grinding the rocks,so are we who earned nothing when we finally go for our last journey no matter how hard you have tried to garner wealth, power and fame.The quarry slaves were brought to the dungeon that would haunt and torture them mentally and physically. So are we, ready to go for a little-known journey,psychologically and bodily tormented by our unavoidable masters of aging,disease and devaluation of life.

" Thou go not" (Please,let's me not go there, to this dungeon-torment of aging,disease and devaluation of life)

"sustained" (in his illusion,he (I)
try to feel that he could still sustain a life of living even though he knows by instinct that he couldn't)

"soothed by an unfaltering trust"
(In light of validation of his trust for God or something for the meaning of life,the slave (I)affirms my composure and serenity in approaching the grave.)

"Like one who wraps the draper of his couch" (In deep sense,we could bring anything but only a sheet where our body will lie at the start of this journey of thanatopsis (death)).

"About him" (I don't know who this dead body is about. No one has
known what is beyond this life)

"lies down to pleasant dreams" (No matter what is at the end of this life and what will be beyond death.
In my sanguine illusion,I still feel my body should lie down in peace at least with the pleasant dreams at that time).