Galle, Galle, they shout, the bus conductors
Near a new paved highway to a coastal town.

Gallus gallus is a chicken, a red one for that matter
That they say made this town, Galle.

And a few miles internally
Near a jungle, you get the wild junglefowl
As the national bird of Sri Lanka. That too is
Gallus, Gallus lafayetti
Named after a famous French man
Who carried two passports

And here too you get a dichotomy of sorts
The colonial and the indigenous, forts and mudbrick houses
To conquer and to resist, the bucolic and the urban
The native and the foreigner.
A hodge-podge holding a bewitching charm

All you need to do is to cross an entrance
Which has a dome on which a weather wane sits
Where a rooster holds his poise
And you just have to be like Julius Caesar in Gaul
And utter the words “Veni Vidi Vici”. The only difference
Being, the foreign national comes and sees
The beauty of this enchanting enclave

Only to cede his heart
And be conquered by Galle.


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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