Poetry Corner | Sunday Observer

Poetry Corner

1 May, 2022

Thursday Chronicles

For Appachchi

Thursdays I`ve always been in love with. Years ago,
while schooling, when I`d be waiting for the weekend,
Thursday was always a delightful harbinger to Friday,
the last day of the school week.

My penchant for Thursday,
over the rest of the week was not without some more delecatable reasons:
Every Thursday, from the fair in Kuliyapitiya town, I`d look forward
to my father bringing those awesome snacks - jam buns, fried gram,
peanuts, sweet buns, pan cake, wiskirigngna, and the likes;
my share of sweetmeats would await my return from school,
dusty, soaked in sweat, and stinking. After a perfunctory wash
at the well, and changed into a pair of shorts, I`d jump
on to my lofty perch atop the short wall on the verandah
overlooking the gravel road
and clouds of dust floating above it
beyond the clump of coffee trees,
and savour my sweetmeat.

This ritual became a little less important only after I met
her, who ushered in a sea change in my hitherto simple life;
Thursdays became sweeter still then, as I`d be waiting for her
to return from the Business Studies class,
in the shade of the big Jam-fruit tree
by the abandoned garage with the reddish front doors and
be accompanying her back
to the town in earnest companionship – I, she, and our mutual friend
chattering away without a care in the world;
I`d return home late in the evening to eat my share
of the sweetmeat my father, a bricklayer’s helper full time still,
never forgot to bring us on his return
from the fair in the town.

Soon afterwards, there came a time, when I`d begrudge the very arrival
of Thursday, for we`d part on Thursday to meet back on Monday;
But, as usual, I`d wait for my father to return from the fair
to have my sweetmeat, lying on my bed, recollecting dreamily
the sweeter memories of the past four days,
blissfully oblivious to the rest of the world.

More recently, I`d eagerly wait for Thursday
To dawn to return home from Colombo; arriving home late at night,
I’d shower, dine, and fish for my share of delicacies
in the sugar bag hanging from a hook
on a rafter above the big table,
and eat it while watching the late-night news or asoap opera.

Now back at home, I still await the arrival of Thursday with the same
child-like eagerness to eat the sweetmeat, hoarded away in the bottom
of his battered blue leather bag,
hanging from the handle of his rickety bicycle
which has aged as much as he.

Our home has all changed now,
Out of the six beds, only four are occupied now;
I`ve grown up; so has my brother.
It has all changed– the village, the school,
the temple,
The grocery shop,
the bus-halt and the cemetery ….

My father is now a septuagenarian,
Of late, I`ve grown more obedient than
rebellious to him,
My fear of him has now turned to respect,
My affection for him to concern.

Words - Jayashantha Jayawardhana