Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Prodigious genius: A Poem of Dry Zone Sri Lanka

Pouring out of the waters 
Pouring out of the self
Each generation just a receptacle
Pouring it out to the next

Prodigious prodigious prodigious it pours
Pouring and holding like series of fountains
Like series of fountains in full pouring mode
Like series of rivers in series of flows 

Every lifetime in fullness
Pours into the next
The eye and the ear flowing seasons like text
Discernment dissension divestment direct 
As each living being flies into the next 

The nest is too small
But the nest is the home
The nest is the settled 
But pouring is roam

Prodigious and generous
And golden and smooth
And wetness and gathering 
In channels it broods

The future it lies in the flow in the stream
And nothing can stop it no rock and no plank
And no dam and no spillway 
No sluice at its flank

Pouring golden in droves the earth bends to receive
Waters' blessings renewed formed 
In the nurtured seed

In curves abundant untamed understood underwhelmed
In curves unexpected
In curves deeply delved
In curves slowly made by innumerable hands over years over time 
That we can't imagine

Where the old stones were placed once shorn and now strewn
Still water flows not furious but it flows anew
Not tamed and not held but coaxed and concurred

Concursive refractive redrawn and retroved
In huge tanks whose arms close
To enclose all the glory 
The lotus filled waters remain as a story

The sloshing and rippling and huts of exalting
The trees that are cleansing the birds that are rare
The swimming monitor its head up for air

The bathers the washers the stones the shampoo 
In packets along the government stairs
Some used some abandoned 
The foreigner stares

Lotus pickers on bicycle bags full of buds that they collected in long boats and take to the monks 

Tiny children dark parents the slapping of laundry
The fineness of features
The cloth worn and faded
The eyes shining bright like the lake bed unfaded

In huts and in houses in clay and in mud
With sticks and with thatch 
Caliche from the flood
With wood fires and with flies with betel with spit
With limbs that are long with wood that is split

With hot sun and with pebbles
Whitewash and graffito 
Bodhi margossa kumbuk nalam
Azolla and weeds introduced with the seeds choke the lakes and the lotus that blow in the breeze

The leaf like a plate with its own lake of water
That swims on its surface like mercury in the wind
The lotus holds nothing and nothing is held
The wind flows like water the pesticide flows like a shower the fertilizer pellets like seed scattered
The rocks like ganeshas the porches like verandas the shade like insect song the insect song like choruses of frogs 

The grasses hold vipers we jump through them daintily
We walk from one end of the dike to the other
We revel in breezes fresh
We climb on rock fortresses that hold the dams
We dream of the makers their history their societies their inscriptions their errors their floods their invasions and migrations their plans and calculations

We dream of families close and far in time we dream of families close and far in space we dream of families bedded for the night we dream of families standing in the shade 

We dream of birds flightless and flying we dream of clay pots full of food we dream of nadu rice and we dream of other rices we dream of foods steamed, fried, sweetened, curried

We dream of spice of chiles of garlic of coriander of flies alighting and launching of smoke of tea of ginger beer of washing drying on bushes near canals

Of water in channels guided many miles of roads along the canals of bicycles on the roads of walkers on the roads of children on the backs of bicycles driven by sarong-ed grandfathers of fathers carrying their children of dikes in the fields walked barefoot as the rice is watched

Rice two weeks and six weeks and eight weeks as it toughens
The changes of colors as the stalks lengthen
The density changing
The light bouncing glistening flowering thundering

Birds of prey, eagles, kites, hawks
Insect eaters and bee eaters and king fishers and the marble eye of the tank surface flowing not flowing filling refilling refilling refilling refining defining sordid landscapes of poverty and struggle and hate and violence and drunkenness and accidents and dismemberment and death and hunting and cleaving and burning and abusing and powering over and grabbing and keeping and hiding and stealing 

Tremendous power of water hydro and irrigation and seepage for the water table

And elephant watches and boar watches and felling trees and planting plantations in regulation teak not to be touched

And teals and cormorants and pelicans and bitterns and tilapia and introduced fish outcompeting the natives destroying lotus forests leaving lakes empty as we fill our stomachs for now. 

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