Sheena Blackhall

Gold Star - 6,546 Points (18/8/1947 / Aberdeen)

Mount Lavinia, Colombo - Poem by Sheena Blackhall

Sipping iced tea beside the outdoor pool
(Blue’s a sapphire, clearer than a tear)
Is an excellent view of Colombo’s sweeping bay.
Coconut palms like raffia matting frayed by many feet
Wallop the heat. The Indian Ocean beats
Its dirty washing on the beach.

Rag pickers strip the rocks of shirts and saris
Imported by the tide, free hand-me-downs
Plucked by the waves from Pondicherry, maybe, or Madras

The breeze is fragrant. Germans, British smile
Waiters bow and circulate with trays.
In the British governor’s mansion
300 dollars a night buys a bug free bed
And a flunky wearing Kaiser Wilhelm’s hat.
Crows dine first class unhindered, off fat pickings
Unhassled by the staff. This is a Buddhist country

Hard by the beach, the trains run punctually
The human cargo packaged like sardines,
Hangs from the window gulps what it can of air

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, February 14, 2010

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