VERSE | ATOMIC GRIEF

When I look inside of you 
Into the very depths of you
Do you know what I see?
Two stormy mushroom clouds
Looming wetly in your eyes
Grey harbingers of doom
They roil and linger in the room
I’m afraid; I’m mesmerized
Then Boom! Everything is gone
In the ferocity
Of your atom bomb
Atomic, Anatomic, Catatonic
The fearsome stillness after the storm
Your atoms ravaged out of form

When I look inside of you
I see vanquished fields beneath
The clouds of smoke and acid rain
I see the skeletons of trees
The mucid ashes of flowers and bees
They were rustling, bustling, hustling
Their atoms dancing merrily
You plucked each atom from its orbit
In the fierceness
Of your tragedy
Calamity, Catastrophe
You heaved your mighty weight upon it
Smote your world beneath your feet

When I look inside of you
I see the heaving cosmos
Suns and planets whirling, swirling
In the vast blue-blackness
Meteors like fireworks
Blazing exultant trails
Shimmering tails, Star-burnished sails
The firmament a holy grail
You crush the heavens in your fist
You flick your angry blue-bruised wrist
The sky comes crashing down
Molten lava on the ground
Seismic vapor all around
I can taste it in my mouth

But when I look at you from here
You sit there statue-still
Not an eyelash moves at all
You are transparent, mystical
Ethereal, Apparitional
But within
Clandestine, Hidden
There are raging storms
Carrying sand and ice alike
I feel a chill in my bones
And all of hell’s feverous might
And all the while you look at me
Your skin shrouded in serenity
While in a loop, relentlessly
You break and shatter on the inside.

KIDSBOOKS | BRAVE LITTLE MEG

Little Meg was a field ant
She had a wooden leg
She couldn’t crawl like the others did
She hoppity-hopped instead

She could not carry heavy crumbs
Of fruit and grains and sweets
She could only hoppity-hop
So she didn’t go on hunting sprees

While the rest of the colony
Went searching for their food
Little Meg stayed in the nest
And swept and cleaned their rooms

One day it rained for five whole hours
Flooding the whole world
Little Meg’s home too filled up
As the mud and leaves all swirled

The Queen then gathered all the ants
Something had to be done
A bridge to cross to higher ground
Away from the dangerous currents

Little Meg with her wooden leg
Hoppity-hopped to the front
“Your majesty with my Neem tree leg
I will get this job done”

While the other ants made mud balls
Little Meg went on ahead
She dropped each ball in the rushing flow
And hoppity-hopped to place the next

Little Meg with her wooden leg
Got thousands to dry land
They still sing songs of her courage
That brave little field ant

FEATURE|CHILDREN OF THE WEATHER GODS*

This piece is inspired by the dramatic elements of surprise that are innate to tropical weather. An ethereal tribute to Sri Lanka.
Title inspiration from Mark Medoff’s 1979 play titled “Children of a Lesser God”. Screen-adapted in 1986 by the same title.
Indra: Hindu storm god
Yu Shi: Chinese rain god
Zeus: Greek storm god

Calandra: Greek goddess of rain
Olympus: Abode of the gods and site of the throne of Zeus
Having lived in the golden arms of a tropical island in the Indian Ocean for over 5 years now, I have had ample opportunity to experience its whimsical flirtations with the weather gods.  From a spirited lightsaber play with Indra*, to a blitheful dance in the rain with Yu Shi* to a gladiatorial display of stormy rage and thunder with Zeus*, the tear drop island of Sri Lanka has perfected a celestial theatre all its own.  The spectators, all its creature denizens, are left sometimes daunted, sometimes dazzled but mostly awed.

Here’s my attempt at describing a not so unusual day in the equatorial climes of Serendib.

Act 1 - Scene 1:
I wake up to a pale amber light filling the space above the curtain rails in my bedroom. The usually glad-eyed sun is in a somber mood today as I draw back the drapes on an overcast day. I can feel the fickle aura of the atmosphere seep into my bones and I know it’s going to be one of those weather-wise dramatic days. I arm myself with an umbrella as I step out into the late morning torpor. For while the heavens prepare to unleash their elemental surprises for the day, the moisture laden warmth of the tropics continues to caress all and sundry with sticky-wet fingers.
The clouds continue to gather in thick-bodied eskers along the horizon while the sky above shifts between a myriad shades of grey. The trees sway to the side favoured by the wind, rustling prophetically of things to come. Then suddenly they are still, silent.
A storm is brewing.

Act 1 - Scene 2:
As far away as the rain bearing clouds appeared 20 minutes ago, they have magically, mysteriously traversed the curvature of our atmosphere and are now directly overhead. The grey of the sky becomes opaque like thick wedges of granite. Even though you’ve witnessed this drum roll of a scene a million times, it stops you in your tracks, makes you look up, sends the smallest of cold shivers down your spine. If you’re indoors, you look on from the safety of your enclosed space. If you’re in your car, you hurry home; if you’re walking, you quicken your steps to the nearest shelter.
And then the weather gods begin their ethereal orchestra as big fat drops of rain begin to pelt the earth in an opening prelude.

Act 1 - Scene 3:
Lightning forks through the sky in an ever widening mesh across the city, its jagged ends tearing into the clouds overhead. Jeering, threatening, laughing Thunder strides along with its booming megaphone. The stuporously falling rain has now transformed into sinewy sheets that cut diagonally into the stinging, singing earth. The usually bustling streets are almost empty; when the gods are at play, the mortals look on from safe distances. Maternal Calandra* cloaks the city in a gentle haze, blurring out the most riotous parts of the explosive crescendo.
And the rain continues to come down.

Act 2 - Scene 1:
The glistening leaves on the rain-washed trees rustle in the evening breeze, shaking off their watery burdens drop by drop. The Earth rises from her lotus position, stretching out her arms, a sweet petrichor exuding from every pore. Flying, crawling, creeping creatures poke out wary heads, blinking at their shimmering world. The more intrepid venture out for a last meal before their day is finally done. Fledglings raise a stridently petulant clamour, instinctively aware that the beast has moved on and their world is once more safe and bounteous.
People hurry on with their lives, still guarded, still weather-anxious but impelled by that unceasing urge to get up and go on.
There is a final roll of distant thunder as Zeus laughs one last time.
The clouds clear and a rosy orange sunset appears on the horizon as the rest of the deific thespians head back to Olympus*, their cosmic romping done for the day.

Act 2 - Carpe Momentum:
The late evening breeze is cool and crisp as it darts nimbly into gardens and homes, nipping gently at sun-browned skin. The sky is clearer, brighter as Orion and Taurus blink in nocturnal wakefulness. The smaller creatures are abed, while the bigger ones slow down in the gentle luminescence of a clear, fragrant night.
Tomorrow will be another day with its own atmospheric act and aura, for that is the way of the lusty tropics. And the children of the weather gods will awaken to a new day, fresh beginnings and another chance to get it right.