The Road Trip To Habarana

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My wife and I, we got up just as the rooster
Was screaming out “dawn is here” in cockerel tongue
It sounded to us like “Cock-a-doodle-doo”
And we did doodle a little in thought
At the long drive to Habarana
But made up our minds early
To drive by 6 AM. And that journey through
Where the elephant rock and the rock temple stood,
Was a little bridge over a weekend
A pledge to make the best out of our
Early wedded years.
 
We stayed next to a massive structure of a man-made lake
Where elephants were used for a little
Tour with the mahout, and we saw the rich
Plodding on elephant-back and all we could think
About was the freedom we take so much for granted
The license of man to be freer than
The jungle fowl in the near Minneriya Park
Or the peacock that jumps like a ballet dancer
From tree to tree. Yet the sight of those
Elephants ferrying humans for a little safari
Struck an Otara-moment, a little uneasy,
A blue note, an after-thought
Even a little storm in the conscience.
 
You wonder
Whether the giant paw that sizes the ground in front
Can size the greed of the human heart.
And that gentle giant who does everything
A crooked pointed device tells him
Was a little outpouring of tristesse
– The wild one that roams the wilderness
Just for the sake of the call of the wild
Was now an unthinkable sight –
And we stayed for three nights in Habarana
Looking at the horror of the elephant
Marking a little elephantine presence
In our conscience. And we were
As oblivious as the might of the gentle giant,
At how a sinking feeling could drown
A vessel that speaks in a tongue of its own.
And we hemorrhaged something close
To our existences that day, as a billowing feeling burst
The patrolling conscience. And that bevy of
Elephants perhaps 100 odd meters away had our hearts
In hostage, in sheer surrender. Stockholm syndrome
Was now an incurable disease.
 
The beast had fallen for the beauty.
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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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