The flame of desire


the crux
of desire,
a flame that’s
flickering, fluttering,
burning bright,
was swarmed
with doomed,
frenziedly dancing
moths in a row
around her,
to her own tune.
Being dazzled by this bright
flame, like crabs that dance
round and round
in a boiling pot,
they wrestled to be the first
victim, for letting her burn
them alive,
while hysterically pleading her to get them
tightly, was the climax of their desire.

Queen Anula (47 BC – 42 BC) was the first female head of state in the country and in the region. During her five-year rule, she co-ruled with five husbands (one after another) and poisoned each. Her motives of killing them are not known, and she has had, as any such woman in other places of the world, ill-fame for her acts of cohabiting with many men (and killing them). However, she has merely followed polygamy that her male predecessors (and her successors) accepted as right and duly followed during their rule.

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නුඹ මගෙ යසෝදරා (You’re my Yasodhara)

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Culture cannot be translated. Also, an attempt to interpret one’s relationships devoid of their contextual (cultural or whatever) images is not interesting because it’s a language without metaphors. So, I am sorry, I would not translate this poem, which I originally wrote in my first language, into English. Instead, I’ll write its meaning with an explanation of the cultural concepts.

1)You are my Princes Yasodhara, who suffers for my own pains.  I don’t feel lonely when you are here with me. 2)You’re my only companion; So am I. You are mine, and I’m your own. 3) Let’s look through the mirror and see our lives beyond this life. And let’s see who we should have been in ‘Chanda-kinnara’ story.

Cultural concepts:

1) Princess Yasodhara: Prince Siddhartha’s (later, Gautama Buddha) wife. In the Buddhist tradition, they are famous as ideal lovers (who had been devoted to each other, not only in the last life that we meet them but many of their previous births, too.).

2)Chanda-kinnara Jathaka story:  a Buddhist tale about a couple of nymphs, according to which a king mercilessly kills the male nymph and suggests the female nymph to marry him and live a luxurious life. She refuses it; instead, she curses the wicked king. Because of her dedication and love, Sakkra (the supreme god) gives life back to him (male nymph). According to the Buddhist tradition, it is one of Yasodhara and Siddhartha’s previous births. The nymphs in the story are believed to have been none but Siddhartha and Yasodhara.

Note: In The Old Man and The Sea by Earnest Hemingway, Santiago says that he is not religious. However, you could see how many times he makes references to basic religious concepts. It happens spontaneously. The Jesus Christ is the central image in this novella. This suggests to us that we write in relation to our own contexts (or intertextuality).

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You Hurt My Heart

Again, you come, and again,
Humming the same song,
As drought to a swallow,
And do hurt my heart.

So you may not come
Again on another day,
Tightly I close my heart,
Yet you come again
Opening the lock
And do hurt my heart.

Again, you come, and again,
Humming the same song,
As drought to a swallow,
And do hurt my heart.

She left me once in the past,
Now she’s mine, and I’m her own,
Yet the same dream
Comes again, and again
And does hurt my heart

Again, you come, and again,
Humming the same song,
As drought to a swallow,
And do hurt my heart.

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Good Wine Needs No Bush

Buddy, in this stall open for toddy,
I’m selling not any wines but toddy,
Toddy, only toddy, for I’ve no vines
‘Round the thatch-eves run’ for wines;
I have only palms in my warm farm.

Image source: Pixabay
Copyright © 2018, Newton Ranaweera

My Own Funeral

I went to the funeral of mine
To spy on if I were treated fine,
To see if my wife and my sons,
My brother and his fellow dons
All were wearing white gowns.

Fine speeches dipped in wine,
A single line from a poem of mine,
A farewell song sung by dames,
And silence with the rising flames
Were the ones I had in my dreams.

None did I see waiting in a line
Or any speeches dipped in wine,
Funeral songs nor pretty dames,
Sons or brother, or rising flames,
For it was one in a line of dreams.

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Sweetest pain


Was seeking the sweetest pain,
the cruelest love, lust and loss,
the only aim in her hollow life?

Or was it that she wanted us to learn
flying down from sky high is as worth
as flying high, sky high, from ground?

She chose to fly straight down from high
from her cozy, velvet floor in the tenth floor
seeking the bitterest warmth from a shoe-flower.

She danced, like a moth around burning flames,
around the show-flower with flames of love,
the bitterest love, which but brought her only loss.

She lost her show-flower and soon the two pretty buds,
for the law is arriving but soon departing
in this world, deep down here.

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Knee-high flower

My teacher used to talk in images;
He walked, talked and ate with images;
Images, he said, digest his thoughts.

“Look at that humble flower
That stands over there, knee-high,
Swarmed by dirty flies that don’t fly high;
See how they defecate on her petals,
How that stray dog salutes her
By raising his right leg
Whenever he passes her.

Look at that one, that rises above
Like a lotus that springs from mud
But doesn’t wallow in mud;
See how her warrior, sharp prickles,
With ‘threatening, piercing frowns’
Keep those dirty idlers afar,
But let hummingbirds reach her.

Be a hummingbird and try
Not that easy to reach at flower,
But the one that stands princely above;
Mind, you may not reach her safe,
For prickles, I’m sure, will tear your flesh,
but that pain is far worth
than touching a knee-high flower.”

Image source: Pixabay



Fools say it’s our karma,
An unforeseen dharma
We two, nocturnal lovers,
Feast with bats, cats and owls
that succumb to this dharma.

I’m not him, that famous one
That stopped Sun
And did play with them;
Nor you are another’s town
I’ve stolen into for illicit wine.

Then why we meet and feast
On sturdy, hardy bowers
Made for nocturnal beasts
and hover, long night-hours
if it is not for our karma?

If it is truly for our karma,
True love should be that karma;
Or else, since karma is a baggage
That often comes in a brigade,
Men’s meaningless taboos
Should be our karma.

Image source: Pixabay

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Through the tree tops
Moon peeped,
to a window,
knocked softly
and hushed
to keep his promise.

‘Chuck, chuck, chuck,’
a gecko wished;
a bat dropped
an oozing mango
and flapped
from the backyard;
a curlew
screamed a welcome note;
a door creaked open;
and they
shadowed the moon.

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An Unwelcome Love

Old Sun and New Moon
Their union in the eve,
Jackals’ uninvited hooting
Marked a beginning in our love.

The brook kept her on one bank,
And me on the other;
Denying our unwelcome union
Jackals hooted all around.

Between New and Full Moon,
We did cross that brook;
Being blessed by the Full Moon,
We went on our honeymoon.

Image source: Pixabay