Saturday, 18 April 2009

Christmas in Sri Lanka

Reading Wallace Stevens, a remarkable poet previously featured on Poet-in-Residence, but one whose lines at times go on a beat too far (perhaps a result of his career in insurance), and having at the same time the latest Italian earthquake in mind, Poet-in-Residence cast his thoughts back to the long ago days of the great Indian Ocean tsunami.
There are not that many poems which deal with the proverbial nuts and bolts, the hidden depths and heights; indeed the crux of the subject. The subject in this case being natural disaster, otherwise known in Old Testament parlance as 'the Wrath of God'.
High time then to address the issue. Better, as people say, to be late than never.

Christmas in Sri Lanka

Searching among the beach huts

and stores where the snakes
have left their skins on the floor

and Arthur C Clarke has greeted
carbon-based bipeds

the aid-workers move
with aid-workers' smiles

through evenings
evoking spectrums of violet

in which thousands of eyes,
in one mind, speak at once

but there's nothing to say
other than knowledge

of when the seas will breathe out
and in

with short breaths

gw 2009


  1. I can feel the ocean's rythm in this poem...

  2. I like the last bit particularly - the idea of their only knowledge being of the sea breathing in and out - this rhythm would have been with those people all their lives - it would be a sound they heard day and night, living as many of them did, almost on the beach. I think, as Jinksy says, you have captured the rhythm -
    It also serves to contrast against the thought that one day - against all their knowledge and being - the sea did not breathe in and out rhythmically - the more I read your poem the more I get out of it.

  3. Thanks for the perceptive comments. It's interesting, I think, to contrast the sea's natural rhythm here with the the 'cheap Czech motorbike' in the previous poem going 'around' in 'sensless circles'.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.