If I can make patience my master,
But live like groundnuts, with my rewards
Beneath my ribcage earth, firmly
Concealed out of sight.
If I can make love my one true north,
Carrying her inside every pocket,
No longer searching for a key to a new lock,
To entertain no more, yet another beginning.
If I can make my honest dreams
A tireless mule, whose hooves
Know the clay that binds the ground
Beneath me, to hold all of me,
All afloat, all together.
If I can be humble enough, when
The Gods pardon my ways, and
Lets me in to modest harvests.
No one will tell you this secret though;
Complacency is a yawn!
If I can be as foolish as poor Icarus,
To fly too-near the sunny face,
Knowing happiness is a vaccine
Against melancholy, and still it adds
Up to nothing without the cornflowers,
And some gin & tonic.
If I can make my own experience,
A regret-free education; those burning stars in the sky,
My constellated guardian angels
And God, whose soft breast will always be
A sanctuary for the weary traveller.
If I can make the hard miles count,
And those easy Sundays, a respite for the engine,
To know too that the night shift is equally
Important as the daylight hours. That is
When true loves expresses her genius,
In the half light of scented candles.
Then, I will be a fraction of my own man, my dear friend!
A man whose diary entries are poorer
Than a bucket list and yet goes
Seatbelt-free to a place,
That takes notice of his arrival.
My poems will only be read in a dead poets’ society
One day, but I know that someone will
Transform my words into something more.
A dream, hope, a combustion engine, an epitaph, courage!
I can learn a lot from a colonial game of cricket!
I suppose you too were a fan dear Rudyard!
Weren’t you not born in Bombay?.
I wish to be the glare on Sachin Tendulkar’s bat;
It rarely betrayed the wrists of the little master;
Wrists are your greatest asset.
I wish to be the foghorn in Kumar Sangakkara’s larynx;
It was meant to give Wisden Lectures;
Inspiration is a cupful of quenching words.
I wish to be the persistence of a craft,
Like Glen McGrath’s line and length, that
Toys in that teasing corridor of mortality,
Rituals that all men know, as failure,
And “struggle,” the grit of one’s spirit.
My dire wish my friend, is to be as imperfect,
As poor old Donald Bradman!
(* Donald Bradman’s career average was 99.96)
Dilantha Gunawardana is a poet from the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka. He has published two poetry anthologies in print (Sarasavi Publishers), and has contributed poems to diverse international poetry journals and anthologies. Dilantha is a university academic by profession and spends his time researching cyanobacteria.