24th September 2000
Editorial/Opinion| Business| Sports|
Sports Plus| Mirror Magazine
Words of love,loss and outrage
Reviewed by Alfreda de Silva
Poetry has been many things to many people. The poet Robert Lynd proclaimed it was "born under a dancing star". A later wit declared that "a lyric and a limerick were both poems." He obviously meant their musicality and movement and who can deny that?
Defying them both, the American poet Archibald Macleish asserted, quite controversially:
".... A poem should not mean but be."
Someone went a step further: ".......... poetry is a hard diet, fit only for the athletic among readers." This puts the onus of readership for poetry (a comparatively small one already) squarely on the poet.
Sharmini Jayawardena's book of poems 'Wet Paint' dwells on themes as varied as love and passion (fulfilled and lost), alienation, protest, violence, disillusionment, despair and other dissonances including the cold world of machines. All these are viewed critically in a contemporary setting, and present a kaleidoscope of images, many of which await redress and relate to women's issues.
Database opens the book with:
"What is your alphabet-soup name
Down to earth and symptomatic of the times in which we live, and its 'sci-fi' pace, this is one of her concerns.
Getting away from the cold of machines to a love poem, we have:
"You my love
In sharp contrast to this is an entrance into the real world of an unbearably painful relationship - The Enigma:
"I loved you strong enough
Mirage is a poem of protest against an unfeeling mother. The last lines encapsulate the magnitude of the cruelty.
The Quasi-Corporate Player's hypocrisy and immorality are brought out in the poem by its name.
"He called me up
The subject of child abuse is poeticized in Struggle, which takes up the socially sensitive issue as seen in a bus. The Boy Man doles out money to a boy, for buns and sweets:
"to his charge.
Sharmini's well-crafted Symphony in staccato (a prose poem) speaks out daringly about a woman's personal predicament in marriage.
Here and there the bold, harsh lexicon proclaims her sense of outrage on behalf of all women:
"tonight we speak out
On the way to Ahungalle is a fresh cooling draft of wind on my face:
"barrels of ra
Talent aplentyThe new production of 'Apata Puthe' proved there is enough and more talent around. The undergrads from the Kelaniya University did a fine job as amateurs. Knowing Henry Jayasena as a tough task-master, a disciplined dramatist, they had responded extremely well. For a few of us who had seen the original production over three decades ago, it's natural to go back to Iranganie Serasinghe as the mother and Douglas Ranasinghe as the undergraduate. But this is an unfair comparison. Both of them were seasoned players. Here were players who were getting on to the stage for the first time. They did well. The musicians, also from the Sri Jayawar-denapura University, too performed well. Although the central theme in 'Apata Puthe' - the problems of the undergraduates - remain unchanged (in fact, they are more acute today than in the Sixties), a few sequences like the long queues appeared irrelevant. Jayasena obviously wanted to keep the original script intact and let the audience get an idea of the conditions which prevailed then. Even if he adjusted them to suit the present day, it wouldn't harm the essence of the drama.
More booksBeing the Sahitya Month, more and more books are being launched. Popular publisher Dayawansa Jayakody brought out new titles every Tuesday this month to mark the literary month. Lined up for release next Tuesday are two new books, one by that prolific translator Dr. K. G. Karunatilleka. His latest work is a full translation of H. Rider Haggard's 'The Return of She:Ayesha'. It's titled 'Ayesha Apasu Eyi'. The other book is by popular writer Jayasena Jayakody who has written the fifth in the series 'Pichchamal Katha', titled 'Pinketha'.
By Prof. J.B. DisanayakaWe live in a world of colours and the scientist will analyse the spectrum of colours into various segments such as red, blue, green, black and so on. The Sinhala world for colour is 'paata' and compound nouns denote different colours:
sudu paata (white) kalu paata (black)
ratu paata (red) nil paata (blue)
kaha paata (yellow) kola paata (green)
An object that has a particular colour will be designated by phrases such as: sudu paata saariyak (a white-colour sari);
kalu paata kalisamak (a black-colour trouser)
ratu paata mal (red-colour flowers)
nil paata kodi (blue-colour flags)
kaha paata sivurak (a yellow-colour robe)
kola paata toppi (green colour caps)
It is also possible to drop the word 'paata' and simply say, sudu saariyak (a white sari) nil kodi (blue flags).
The Sinhalese also have a habit of saying 'paata paata' to denote things that are of diverse colours:
paata paata sari (saris of diverse colours)
paata paata kodi (flags of different colours)
paata paata toppi (caps of diverse colours).
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