Today I Said Good Bye to Mom

POETRY FORMAT, 12 Feb 2018

Maung Zarni – TRANSCEND Media Service

Through the transparent cover
With her eyes closed, Mother looked at me
As if she were saying
“Why are you mourning over this biomass in this air-conditioned coffin?
It ain’t me here! Not any more, if ever there was I.”

As a Buddhist child, &
through the incentivised practice of “breathing”
I was bribed into learning to dis-aggregate :who am “I”?

“Here is a few coins, if you sit with me for several more times,” said my great-aunt who sat in the mosquito-net before going to bed.

Alas, no $500 per hour meditation masters.
No,Mindfulness isn’t about productivity or corporate managers.

Dear sisters,
Stop waling on my Messenger.
Let “Mom” go,
on her last journey from home.

I fought back my quiet tears
I breath as I greet my own grief.

It’s time to “dis-aggregate” Mom.

The hair, the skin, the cells, the fluid, the bones, which one are you, Mom?

Where did you come from? Where are you heading?

Are you going anywhere? Or did you come to us from somewhere, at all?

Was it random? Was it Samsara? Or was it Creation?

I keep asking.

Then, when is my time to go? How will I go? Come, it will.
We will all go.

Nothing lasts. Everything passes.

Still, this is the Day I cry.

Goodbye, Mother.


Zarni, Kent, England

08:00, 7 Feb 2018 


A Buddhist humanist from Burma, Maung Zarni is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, former Visiting Lecturer with Harvard Medical School, specializing in racism and violence in Burma and Sri Lanka, and Non-resident Scholar in Genocide Studies with Documentation Center – Cambodia.  His analyses have appeared in leading newspapers including the New York Times, The Guardian and the Times. Among his academic publications on Rohingya genocide are The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal), An Evolution of Rohingya Persecution in Myanmar: From Strategic Embrace to Genocide, (Middle East Institute, American University), and Myanmar’s State-directed Persecution of Rohingyas and Other Muslims (Brown World Affairs Journal, forthcoming). He holds a PhD (U Wisconsin at Madison) and a MA (U California), and has held various teaching, research and visiting fellowships at the universities in Asia, Europe and USA including Oxford, LSE, UCL Institute of Education) , National-Louis, Malaya, and Brunei. He is the recipient of the “Cultivation of Harmony” award from the Parliament of the World’s Religions (2015).


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Feb 2018.

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