Land of Toddy Tappers – Sri Lanka

Coconut plucker

Through the coconut flower
You reap the sweetest sap you will ever find.
How beautifying is it when
A toddy tapper slants his curved knife
And carves the sap out and lets the drip-through collect
Under a sweet jaggery moon.

A man will collect toddy from a few coconuts trees
And will serve some toddy nectar
Over a little counter, where day-laborers enjoy
A cold sip of fermenting sugars.
A country of toddy tappers by trade
Tapping each-others sweetness
Through a curved meniscus over the chin.

And all we have to show for our quotidian graft
Are some rupees folded in our sarong pockets,
A little house roofed with coconut timber,
And a little island that we call home
Where tanned men drown their embittered existences
Inside a coconut shell, to the therapeutic ephemerality
Of some sweet toddy on tongue.


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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