The timing and sequence of this is a little off, but it’s a long weekend. Of course no one is drinking on Poya, but this weekend is also the Kandy Perahera. Whether it’s to the memory of Lakshman Kadirgamar, Auntie Florie, or forgetfulness itself, I’m sure many a Sri Lankan will have a tipple. People here seem to love Red Label Scotch, though arrack is another standard. Arrack is a coconut liquor with a woefully neglected Wikipedia definition. It tastes a bit like whiskey and is usually drunk straight or with Coke. What I’ve included here is a dare-i-say erotic Ode to Arrack by the brilliant and multi-talented Ms. Ruwani Hettiarachchi. Hope you enjoy the long weekend.
Ode To Arrack
You to me, are the sweetness of this wood,
You bathe me in the hot perfume your eyes.
You are the soft timbre of chinking glasses.
Your arms envelope me in their ochre glint
The hot secrets of your finger coarse through me.
Draw your smoothness over me, and let me swallow it whole.
And let me say the words â€˜if tonight I die,
I die in the duskiness of your love, a thousand times wiserâ€™
Your hot medallion of fire on my tongue; your gilded brand.
Let me make testaments to you;
No strange and waxen potions shall I make
No fleeting glamour shall I seek, your sweetness keeps me whole.
Yet you are no sweet ambrosia, no elixir of life.
Sometimes you are potent, garrulous;
In defiance of your own fragility.
But to me, you will always bring songs
Sweeter than the midnight note of the fever-bird
Laughter more resonant, our voices are full. Our hearts no longer empty.
Nymph. Wretch. Recount me your tale;
Cast no more spells on me. At least for tonight.
Because tonight I feel the coarseness of grass underfoot,
I hear the crackling of dry coconut fronds, their fullness only a lush, hidden memory.
Tonight I listen to the voluble plotting of crickets,
Tonight I glimpse the ghostliness of the moon, and I am frightened.
Lull me to sleep as you do, tracing your fingers over rivulets of sweat
But let me sleep tonight for a thousand years.
I want to forget your love, so I may love you afresh tomorrow.
In the morning, you are no more to me than a leaden milestone,
But tonight you are my very lifeblood.
Eyes reddened I will seek you out in dark places,
And I will let you swirl your fearsome fire over my mouth
And let the inferno inside silence me.
Keeper of hot-secrets,
crappy camera or art? More photos