Sunthorn Phu

The Sand, So Finely Laundered

                          excerpted from the Nirat Meung Klaeng (c.1806)


When daylight broke, I rose and went to stroll
beside the rolling surf and thought of you.
The sand, so finely laundered by the sea,
across the lee felt like fine cotton down.
And there were seashells strewn across the strand
that in the wave-rinsed sand their colors shed.
Of these were many kinds—some curled, some round—
and were you here would have delighted you.
You would have bent to gather them along the beach
then, curious, you'd ask of me
how such peculiar figures came to be
and I, unknowing either, could only laugh.
Such banter between us we would have made
that even weariness would fade away.

                                          translated by Noh Anothai