POETRY CORNER | Daily News

POETRY CORNER

The Bridge

For Grandpa
“….Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I`ll dig with it.”
Seamus Heaney-Digging
1
I remember the first half of palapea,
my mom offered me one afternoon.
I was squatting opposite her
on the newly daubed floor
of the old kitchen
chatting with her about some matter at school
while she was readying the dinner.
With the crispy skin, ridged,
and yellowish like butter on the head,
with a crown of brownish fibrils,
and snow-white on the bottom,
with soft cottony flesh,
it tasted great!
2
My grandfather used to bring us many of them,
strung like white bulbs on a raw ekle,
when he returned from Siriwardena mudalali’s,
where he removed husks from coconut,
my father would say, for chickenfeed,
until a rash on his legs,
forced him to quit his job.
3
Once Jusiappuhami, the cart-man, sold palapea,
by the road-side,
at the northern boundary fence,
of our school.
In an open box made of rough wood,
he kept his merchandise.
His charges for them were proportionate:
the biggest ones would fetch five rupees each,
and the price fell
in direct proportion to the size.
But, the cheaper smaller ones, we found out soon,
tasted much better.
We would constantly pester our moms,
for money to buy them,
during the interval,
over the barbed fence,
by the big old Jak tree
until our principal,
for reasons that we never knew,
forbade him to ply his trade,
at the fence by the jak tree.
After some time, I heard,
Jusiappuhami was confined to the bed;
he’d been attacked by his own big black bull
that dragged his cart,
and a little later on
I learned from my father
he’d died.
4
One August nearly three decades ago
I persuaded my next-door friend,
to go to Siriwardena mudalali’s,
where with dagger-like knives,
we coerced palapeas out of the coconuts,
split with a machete,
by a scruffy, stony-faced woman,
who seemed to us to be a shrew,
and put them into the old grocery bags,
we`d taken with us stuffed in our pockets.
Once I`d been cloyed with my spoils,
I offered them,
with uncharacteristic generosity
to my mother and my brother.
5
Now my grandfather and his employer
are both no more here, either
and my friend is a coconut vendor himself,
and I, a rustic poet with an unshakeable past
try to link the two worlds together
with the bridge of language.
Let me be the bridge.
Let me fill the gap.

Jayashantha Jayawardhana

****

Pangs on Ageing

When I am lounging in my arm chair, Sitting quiet with my mind faraway, I see you look at me with a squint in the eye, Pray, do not think I am infirm but only tired. When I am not up on time sleeping a little late, You think I am sick; my bones are a little stiff. When I am not listening to your blatant chatter
You think I am inaudible,
It’s cos’ your speech is a bore,
Which disturbs my peace of mind.
When I wobble and take my steps with care
I see you look at me with pity,
Look, I do not seek your sympathy,
I could walk without your help.
I know my beauty is fading and
My hair slightly grey; do not sum up and say,
Oh! she’s getting old,
I am still fit as a fiddle.

Yasmin Jaldin

****

MOTHER SRI LANKA’S agonising thoughts

Year Twenty Twenty One dawned amid uncertainty,
Everyone with glimmers of hopes face changing destiny.
An unseen virus created lock down, curfew, travel restricted,
Renewed hopes under pandemic’s shadow doubtfully predicted.
The deadliest of enemies Corona Virus crisis nationwide,
Wishing warm wishes unable to perform in usual pride.
Everywhere second wave of Covid-19 battering nation,
Neck deep in debt island facing hard times in frustration.
Twenty Twenty One triumphant, adhered restrictions imposed,
Yearning to rise magnificently to challenges, let’s be composed.
Typical, possible, best gift anti-covid-19 vaccine for New Year,
Well-being of mankind, only challenge ending pandemic this year.
Every new year heralds new hopes, this year tinged with sadness,
New strain Corona Virus Spreading faster soaking all in restlessness.
To strengthen Democracy lessons learnt from Covid-19 benefit country,
Year 2021 absolutely, positively’ll shower on humanity prosperity.
Oneness, Togetherness, Selflessness, given pride of place,
Novel beginnings, pledge to end fuelling revenge, nation awake.
Each person be an instrument of UNITY make all amaze.

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

****

The Tale of Titanic

Waving hands with a novel wish
Titanic makes her maiden march.
Along with the luxurious touch.
She sets the sail with all hails.
Banquets ready with the musical hush
Maxis, Hats, Ribbons and Ties
Speaks a lot to the attire in rush
Jack and Rose too amidst the breeze.
Total crew in a gala time
In cheerful smiles bringing cheers.
Titanic in her own styles
Adding colour to the marine world
Gently bends to see whether
Everything works in a handy dandy manner.
Ice-burg in a brutal manner
Makes the move in a splendid manner
Creating a wreck in a fatal manner
Gives the crews an alarming utter
Hussle Buzzle with deep cries
Awakening the whole mass
Alarming voices steady in fuss
Tremendous efforts to save the ship
In avoiding sinking-with the rush
With a few hours struggles
Horrifying the lives melancholy tones
Begins a story of a tragic tale
Jack and Rose in tremendous efforts
Trying to save each other’s lives
Still with the music bands
Talks of an unread tale.

K Shanthi Silva

****

Tryst

Endlessly
I met her
Passionately
Had I chat with her
At many a place
Not at heart.
Immensely
Had I joys and merry
Nor could we meet
Yet at heart
Though we’d met
Under the sun
Before bidding adieu.

Naleen de Alwis