Celebrating Sri Lankan Women’s Writing in English

The English Writers’ Cooperative (EWC) of Sri Lanka in association with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) organised an evening of poetry and prose by Sri Lankan women writers to celebrate International Women’s Day. Some of the work can be viewed here.

December 16, 2012 is one of the poems I read out. It was written in January this year and was in response to the horrific event that took place in Delhi, India in December that sent shock waves across the world.

December 16, 2012

They made a movie on a bus

riding around town, no one

.

heard the songs, or

saw the dances. The action stars

.

were new. Later, someone threw

in a name – Amanat. On and

.

on they moved around Delhi’s leafy

avenues, curtains drawn while the engine

.

kept time to the sounds inside. No cuts

no breaks the actors played their

.

part. The heroine protested – like all

heroines do. A new face she was dressed

.

for the part. An item girl they sang as

she danced. Munirka to Dwarka

.

it purred on its way. The wheels turned

round and round as the winter chill crept

.

through the leaves on the trees

and a single leaf fluttered to the ground,

.

torn apart. It fell across the road and no

one took note. Just another

.

leaf among so many in the city. Action

spent the bus came to a stop but

.

before they could shoot again the city rose

in wrath to demand a ban on the script’s

.

repeat. Candles lit, they waited it out, but

the wheels grind slowly round

.

and round. And while the old men argued

in vain inside colonial walls another

.

leaf fell silently to the ground.

.

© 2013  Shirani Rajapakse

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