“An Ode to Sri Lankan Culture” By Tara Davoodi

I am a free bird, soaring
Over the city of Colombo.
I see a bustling Galle Road, drivers swerving madly
Tuk-tuks weaving in and out of traffic
Sneaky needles in quilt.
I see turquoise waves crashing against the shore
Children flying kites, laughing with playful innocence.
I see rooftop dinner parties,
Complete with fragrant aromas of biriyani
Tempting the noses
Awakening the senses.
I glide over my homeland
Swiftly over hills.
I see women in woven patchwork dresses
Working in a sea of emerald green
Tea leaves rippling in a vast ocean.
I see crumbling stone temples
Relics of a deeply rooted history
Shrines to a centuries-old religion.
I see the muggy rainforest, camouflaged
In the monsoon’s sheen of gray mist
The perfect playground for macaques
For dark-spotted, brooding leopards
For jewel-colored peacocks flaring eye-catching plumage.
I fly upwards to the north
Where magnificent herds
Of elephants migrate across lush jungles
And expansive plains.
I see generations of women
Cloaked in colorful cloth saris,
Piled onto the backs of motorcycles
Coasting past stray cattle in Jaffna.
I see my small island nation, crippled
By tsunamis
And war,
But still standing tall.
I see a proud lion
Rippling in the wind.
I see a culture
My culture
So diverse and strong,
Its firm stitches unyielding,
Holding up the quilt that is life.

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