Swarnapali Liyanage

(1963/08/23 / Sri Lanka)

Ode to Cinderella


In the glaring sun on the melting sand
She marches from near by souk
Pushing a shopping cart to noble palace
Where she slaves for the day and night
As usual pulling air into empty lungs
Agape mouthed open eyed
At a hot summer noon
Nightmares of life 'Cinderella' dreams

She gifts fake legs to loving soul mate
Lost his legs in a minefield
Delays father's death swallowing by a cancer
She dives into the sea in search of elixir
Lights lavender candles on mother's tomb
Before she bore in mind died in a flood
Sends three brothers back school again
She wants to give them what she missed in life
Smiles like a heroine murmurs to herself
Wiping sweat off 'Cinderella' sighs


Whole three years she saved a bit
Flies soon back to her homeland
No wonder everybody in her village
Gather round to listen her adventures
Of the magic land where she lived
She remembers all 'Cinderella' witnesses


With a one pat of the magic wand
A mountain of money creates from oil
All rights of humans vanish in a minute
Generosity, kindness change to sandstorm
For a slight mishap downpour of abuses
Colourful apparels raise from heaven
Mock at her peeping into her wallet
Skyscrapers make necks ache
Glittering wealth makes eyes blurred
Cars as arrows pass blasting honks
Carrying princesses of her same age
All these to her just another mirage
'Cinderella' giggles

From far she sees ' Lady' at the gate
Shining shela and abaya in black
Wiping tears off she speeds up
Ten metres per second
'Cinderella' awakes

souk = Arab bazaar
shela = a kind of scarf Arab ladies cover their heads
abaya = a kind of knee lengthed black robe Arab ladies wear over casual dress

(Note: I wrote this poem as a tribute to underprivileged young maids who work in rich Arab countries sacrificing their youthfulness to support families in their homelands.)

Submitted: Sunday, August 03, 2008
Edited: Tuesday, August 05, 2008

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