Poems and Translations

Poems *

  • Men On The Moon
    In honor of Apollo 11 mission in July 1969
  • The Apostle of Non-violence
    For the Centennial of Mahatma Gandhi
  • To The Fallen Warrior
    Scholars who fought for Burma’s Independence
  • The Ngapali Beach
    Vacation with friends
    Vacation with family
    Guest lecturer at Shwe Wah Gyaing Luyechun Camp in 1988
  • The Phaungdaw-u Festival
    Inlay Khaung Daing Luyechun Camp in `1964
    Vacation with friends
    Vacation with family
    Written for the First RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe in San Francisco in October 2000
    Written for an alumnus of RIT and UCC who passed away unexpectedly in San Jose, California

Men On The Moon
by Hla Min

The Eagle made a soft descent
And perfect rendezvous
Does not the module represent
A fantasy come true

To travel through that cold void space
To have that faith in science
To face death squarely in the face
Yes, man acted with defiance

Man set foot on an alien world
In July Sixty Nine
That small step from the bravest man
Was a giant leap for mankind

The walk in one sixth gravity
Rock samples from the moon
Three men who spoke with brevity
For science what a boon

No event can ever equal
That sublime unique mission
The Apollo’s triumph will make the people
Extend their own vision

Are we not brothers here on earth
So let us all unit
There will be heaven here on earth
If we all cease to fight

The Apostle Of Non-violence
By Hla Min

A man of true principle
With spirit invincible
He sacrificed his pleasures
Faith and freedom were his treasures

No arms did he carry
No threats made him tarry
No torture or prison
Could change his decision

He led all protests
Despite threats and arrests
All races and creeds
Revered his deed

He could not see his dreams come true
The whole world grieves his loss too
Though he cared not for fame
His name will indeed remain
In history, O Great Gandhiji

To The Fallen Warrior
By Hla Min

You fought your foes not with your bows
But with a mighty pen
You sang a song and made us long
To free this sacred land

“Look at the colonialist tyrants
They’ve made a living hell
Let’s drive these murderous giants
Brothers, fight and rebel

If you have faith in the Lone Star
Against the red background
I say Independence will not be too far”
Why your advice was too sound

But you died somewhere on duty
Before Burma blossomed in dawn
So you could not share the real beauty
Of freedom now that you’re gone

The Ngapali Beach
By Hla Min

The intriguing splendor of the East
Where the soft wind melts your heart
Where lavish nature gives you a feast
And a truly cool refreshing bath

Mountainous tides roll in like thunder
Then lie helpless on the shore
Fishing boats rush out all set to plunder
The ocean’s unending store

To sit under a shady palm
To drink a cup of juicy milk
To see the raging waters turn
Into undulating silk

A variety of multi-colored shells
Lay on the fine grain sand
No place on earth can match the spell
Of this enchanted strand

The luring dragons bid you “Welcome”
To this real paradise
There’s lots of fun, excitement, beauty
What’s more there left to advertise?

The Phaungdaw-u Festival
By Hla Min

Phaungdaw-u, oh Burma’s grandeur
Can truly make our hearts sublime
Its mystic charm and rhyme-less splendor
Have firmly stood the test of time

It lies deep in the heart of people
It gives them courage and inspiration
No wonder this festival has no equal
It promises joy and veneration

On board the Karaweik so scintillating
Stood the four images of Lord Buddha
For the Noble Truth are we vindicating?
What lies deep under the completed tour?

But one statue was left behind
Because in writings we do find
That should it ever leave the shrine
There will be thunder and storm
Thus a happy reunion on the morn of the full moon of Thadinkyut

From floating islands the leg rowers came
To take part in the race
With their muscular frame, with might and main
Their oars flashing at a rapid pace

Festivities last all night long
Dances to the company of ozi and gong
Oh, prayers that fill the cool evening air
May loving kindness prevail everywhere

By Hla Min

Seems like it was only yesterday
At our alma mater in a land far away
You taught us to work, play, laugh, even cry
And coaxed us, forced us to aim for the sky

Problems in real life, lab, computation, survey
Understand concepts, design, display, …
Zeal, zest, ardor, grit, passion to make it “our day”
Architects, engineers, we’ve come here to say
We honor your metta, your cetana — we fully can’t repay

Presently we meet, alum from five decades we greet
With memories true, fond, sweet
Ecstatic yet sad that the GBNF could not join this memorable fete

By Hla Min

Tribute to Dr. HTAY LWIN NYO (ex-rit, ex-ucc)
Part-time Professor, EE, SJSU
(1951 July – 2000 April)

He was a genius, a researcher, a friend
Teaching was his passion to the very end
A jack of all trades, a doctorate of one
You name it, he knows it! there’s a lot he has done

Long ago he gave away a patent for a dollar
With a heart so big and true, real worthy of a scholar
Invest, movie script, cook, paint, car repair, …
Never showed off wealth and prizes; he’s a gem so rare

News of his death — alone at home — rocked throughout the land
Young, old were shocked, but they all flocked to give a helping hand
On this day in May of Y2K we pray from the bottom of our heart

“Htay Lwin Nyo, we’re proud to say
that though you’ve passed away
you’ve done a huge part
to unite kindred spirits
your legacy is here to stay.”

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