The Galle Literary Festival has finished, but with a wonderful sense of hope, and a drive to keep metaphors and stories flowing throughout the days and weeks ahead until the time comes round to gather up writers and readers again in the Fort in 2009.
I was pleased to leave with a strong book of poems in hand, Nothing Prepares You, by Sri Lankan poet Vivimarie VanderPoorten. It's a first book full of poems written with a deft storyteller's ear, fine in their apparently casual rhythms, but carrying potent emotional punches to heart and head for those moments when the reader starts to think more about the words just consumed.
Here is Decree Nisi which means "the provisional order indicating that the court is satisfied that the ground for divorce has been established."
Today a judge in a musty courtroom
Will decide that
we can no longer live together,
you and i.
He will declare our marriage
Transform us into strangers. Again.
You are brave to be there.
told me Not to Go.
So, hiding away
from lecherous glances
(surmising, behind hands over mouths)
and out of sight of
I have time to recall
some good times we had.
Countries visited, miles driven, wild life watched in still
meals shared, moments of tenderness,
some laughter, even.
But enough of that.
Now, since I cannot desert you maliciously,
And adultery is no longer a crime we can commit,
Perhaps we could be friends again.
--Vivimarie VanderPoorten, c) 2007, Nothing Prepares You