A crowd gathered in, for the contest so low
Between hare too fast, and tortoise so slow.
“That’s a silly challenge; defeat is his fate,”
Overheard the tortoise, yet he was too late.
A shot went off; the hare shot himself up;
Tortoise took slow, but a steady, fine step.
“Here’s your winner, very close to the line,”
Mockery hurt his heart, but he looked fine.
This halted the hare, to see the victim so slow;
He leant under a tree, and soon began to snore.
“No more dreams,” hare ran to the finish line;
But only to see that, Tortoise had already won.
Grandma stopped — stroked her wrinkled face,
and said, “The slow and steady wins the race”.
Image source: Pixabay
an old bookshelf,
(with books of facts and emotions)
from tea, rubber and coconuts
(remnants of colonial oppression);
I am from a white-washed ‘mud-hut’
with golden, double-bent, rice plants all around;
from the breadfruit trees,temple-flowers and ever running brooks
(where catfish scared and kept me off the brook;
I am from reading romances and fighting for freedom,
from Ranaweeras war heroes) and Arachchiges(village headmen)
(but was trained to be a coward; not to see blood or death bodies;
I am from ‘No matter you lose your sides but tell the truth,’
with acres of rice plants, coconuts, jack and bread-fruit trees,
from gigantic pagodas and
mother in her nineties believing in the god of love
(reading romances as if she were in her teens.
Where I’m from,
where I’m to,
I know, I know not.
I know, I only know
where I’m now, right now,
at this very moment,
and I know
things around me are not certain;
they are in a constant flux,
and I’m to leave this place;
maybe now, at this very moment,
I know not,
tomorrow may not be certain;
I’m a stupid human being.
Some say they go above;
others say they go below.
Dionysus went below
to bring back Aeschylus.
I know not,
nor do I want to know;
I don’t question anyone,
because they may be right.
I know, I know not;
I have not met any
from above or below.
I’m a stupid human being;
I see what I see;
what I can’t see,
what I don’t see,
I CAN’T say ‘NO’
I’m a stupid human being.
But one thing I know, for sure,
as a great poet once said,
I need to do a good job,
a great job,
and gather the daily stipends,
and be ready
when I’m going,
below or above,
I know not where,
then I’ll be
A jungle was his head
for lies to hide;
no brush ever touched
his teeth too wide.
His rough-edged feet
feared no thorns;
his shorts and shirt
clung ever to his bones.
Internally, he earned;
overseas, he earned.
Though wealth and money
never loved this honey,
he quit many jobs
and became a guru.
No mother, no father
made his Fate so kind,
but a so kind Guru
who is now – dead.
(wrote on December 28, 2015; edited on January 2, 2016 and November 25/26, 2016)
Posted on Poet’s Corner on Nov. 26, 2016.
Traditional perspectives on second language (L2) learning claim that a student’s degree of learning a L2 relies on the degree of motivation. Accordingly, a student would invest in learning and using a L2, if that student is motivated either to gain some socio-economic benefits (instrumental motivation) or to integrate into (integrative motivation) the cultural group of the target language (TL). However, recent research (Norton & Toohey, 2011; Norton 2013; Norton & De Costa, 2018), being awakened by poststructuralism, claim that one’s learning a L2 does not merely rely on their personality variables such as motivation or lack of motivation. Instead, their investment in learning or practically using that language plays a significant role, and their willingness to speak or resistance depends on the power relations of the community inside the class (teacher and other students) and the wider community outside. In a “racist, sexist or homophobic” (Norton & Costa, 2018, p. 92) classroom, a language learner may not invest in using L2 though they are highly motivated.
The Aristotelian discussion (Poetics) on the tragic flaw that leads to one’s tragic downfall is a convincing analogue to understand the dichotomy between motivation versus investment.
Norton, B. & Toohey, B. (2011). Identity, language learning, and social change. Language Teaching, 44(4), 412-446.
Norton, B. (2013). Identity and language learning: Extending the conversation. (2nd ed.). Bristol:
Multilingual Matters. Norton, B. & De Costa, P. I. (2018). Thinking Allowed: Research tasks on identity in language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 51(1), 90-112.
On a blissful spring morning,
when I wedded this sweetie, then twenty and flirting,
I was blessed by the birds with their melodious chirping
and a ‘host of flowers’ still blooming.
On a sizzling summer day noon,
I saw a spooky snake chase a house rat in a cartoon,
and harsh stifling wind topple a sand castle down,
and the tigress standing, wearing a fierce frown.
On a dismal autumnal evening,
when grey leaves were fluttering down, while grieving,
and rosy dusk was cheering the tired sun declining,
I saw her at the door-step cheerfully waiting.
In this chilly, intense winter night,
I saw a geckos’ fight, then their flight through dimmed light,
and suddenly stop, entangle and roll in a bundle too tight,
and felt her hand meet mine and vow never to be apart.
Comment: Through the central image of marriage, and other images, I attempted to discuss the four stages of culture shock: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment and acceptance, that any individual would experience when living in a new land.
If you met with a sphynx
very, very weird
with a so weird, riddle,
would you take some trouble
and make a silly attempt?
I met such a sphynx
very, very weird
with a very weird riddle,
“Is it by birth or by deed
that one becomes rich or poor?”
A wise man has said,
“one doesn’t become
an outcast or a highcaste
merely by his birth,
but by his deeds”.
Yet, the world has divided
into polar opposites:
the rich vs the poor,
and us versus them.
Is it their birth or deeds
that make them so different?
This is the weird riddle
ze needs our help to resolve.
We went into a wood,
a dark, deep wood,
having had a task,
a collaborative task
to wear colored glasses,
blue and green glasses,
and honestly describe
and then clearly scribe
what we, we two saw,
in this dark, wild wood.
He saw everything blue
especially, the sky blue;
I saw only dark green,
green trees, void green,
an endless stretch of green.
A heated verbal conflict
led to a physical conflict,
and I saw everything blue,
yet the bump on my eyelid
made everything blurred.
Conflict is not a monster that sets us apart;
conflict is but a benefactor disguised so smart.
No conflict, no drama; no drama, no conflict.
Can the action move forward, with no conflict,
from exposition to resolution, through climax,
or the hero become at least a little more complex?
Had those feudal serfs not challenged the gentry,
and you wouldn’t bravely challenge your spouse,
wouldn’t mansions still suffer without our entry;
would there be suspense for the mice in your house?
If everyone says, ‘Yes’ and no one says, ‘No’,
if everyone begins to love and no one hates,
then everything will just halt or leisurely flow;
will you then see different colors, shapes or states?
Without a friendly conflict between bow and string,
if you shoot in haste, without holding it in leisure
and gently releasing it, will it to its target fling
and you get any treasure or simply any pleasure?