Women Poetry: Dr. Kamala Wijeratne, Sri Lanka

Exclusive: Women Poetry: Edited by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy
Dr. Kamala Wijeratne

There is a very thin line between a human and a monster
As signified by the story of Medusa a lovely woman thwarted in love 
Broken and transformed into a fury.
Isn't it the nature of man to love?
As I t is of devils to hate?
For the human and the demon dwell in the same abode
This six-foot bony frame
Wrapped in nerve fiber and muscle coat
Love makes the boundary
Between man and beast.

Remember the Beauty and the beast.
And tales told us as children
How sleeping beauty awoke after hundred years
And Snow White came back to life
It is all about the power of love.

Poor Medusa. she was forced to cross the line
And never return 
The Beast did and so many others

Like Angulimala 
Poisoned with hat,e crossed the line 
That divided man from monster
And recrossed with the overarching love of the Buddha
Medusa hated and cast away
Had no such love to help her recross the line


Was it Wrong to Love?
To be transformed from human woman to devilish monster
What audacity? What crime?
Let us put you on the dock Medusa,
And inquire into your transgression
Beautiful Medusa, delicate and fragile
A young maiden with an uncluttered heart
Swept off her feet by an unalloyed passion for Poseidon
Tall, sturdy and debonaire
Black locks gleamed on his neck and chin
A keen blu- eyed man for all seasons
Courteous and kind, soft in speech
But stiff and cold Athena did
She was perhaps jealous of the young maidens’ glowing youth
And suddenly conscious of her own loveless life
Wrinkled by too much brain she broke up Medusa’s love
And turned a tender maid into a fury
Crossed in love Medusa’s passion sprang into her hair as serpents
And her frozen heart turned onlookers to stone

I for one will not chastise you Medusa.

Dr. Kamala Wijeratne is a well-known poet and short story writer of Sri Lanka. She won awards for her poetry as well as her short stories from the state. In 2019, she was awarded the Sahithya Rathna Lifetime Award which is the highest award given to a writer in Sri Lanka. In 2019, she published her first novel which has won the award for the best novel in English. Wijeratne is an educationist in the field of English Language Teaching. Her specialty is English Literature teaching. Her research in these areas were published in a book entitled Culture Language and Literature. She has worked at the National Institute of Education as well as at two national universities. 

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