The Sri Lankan Flag

She stood sailing, a lion
Amidst the many fellow felines, spotted creatures
House cats that live inside homes
And leopards that hide beneath bushes
Surrounded by lush jungles

She saw carnages – cinnabar eyes
And scarlet-red canvases of skin
Volcanoes rising beneath irises
And leaking rivulets of life-ink
She was sometimes draped
Around ebony boxes and carried far
Where widows wailed – salt drops dripping through sockets
As albumin water was turning to milk protein

She still waited, patient and forbearing
When the wild cats ambushed the domesticated
While time ambushed age
When ticking bombs conquered beating hearts
While last rites finely wrapped inside vests
Wrote testimonials on tombstones

And after 26 long years
She stood amidst clouds, the watcher and guardian
Holding courage in her paw
After all what saved her land
Was not fragmented maps but squads of feral cats
Marching towards the wilderness
Under her perpetual shade

She still fluttered on
– Unproud Of her lion’s blood –
Knowing that it was only feline whiskers
That were felled from smiles
As the roar and the purr crashed
Until peace filled a warring isle

And now she stands
As the heartbeat of a nation
Aware of an ominous truth – that war is a sleeping lion
Yet knowing deep down that in spite
Love will always possess supple feet
Just about enough
For nine lives.

Fluttering Sri Lankan flag
Sweet mandarine
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Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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