28 May, 2022


Us And The Modern Monsters

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Kavi Kola – Poetry Sheets (1):  Us and the Modern Monsters

Cry, my beloved country, cry.

Loudly ask why

Do not let the monsters

Smash out the light.


Look at those three hoodless vans

In the thick of darkness coming,

Keeping measured distances.

They move slowly.

One in front carries

Young prisoners from a camp

And a few soldiers.

They each take a prisoner

Throw them into the air,

As children throw balloons.

A marksman takes aim,

Moving his expert fingers.

A few soldiers rush out of the third van,

Pour petrol and set fire

To the wounded youths.

Three vans move again,

Keeping measured distances,

Till the next prisoner is thrown like a balloon.

When Kerosene runs out,

The van begins its return, taking back

A single surviving prisoner.


In a mass grave at Matale

Remains of one-hundred

And fifty bodies are excavated.

Some, among so many

In the South, North and East.

Such are the works of new monsters,

Created by the marriage of

Modern physics and ancient metaphysics.


Modern monsters more sinister

Than a nine-headed poisonous dragon,

Medusa or Minotaur.

Thesius, Perseus and Hercules

Too weak to tame

The modern monsters,

Created out of new concoctions.

Perhaps, the depths of all oceans,

And ocean-like human minds,

Must be stirred, again and again…

Till a new potent concoction,

Emerges with powers

To annihilate the modern monsters.

Cry, my beloved country, cry.

Till out of the abyss of our desolation

New giants may arise,

Who, unlike Hellenistic heroes,

Will posses the psychic power

To melt away our collective burden.

*Basil Fernando published his first volume of poems A New Era to Emerge in 1972. Since then, he has published several volumes of poems in English and two collections in Sinhala. His poems have appeared in several Sri Lankan and international anthologies. His poems have been translated into many Western and Asian languages. A translated anthology of his poems was published in Malayalam entitled Sundaramaithry. In 1983, he and Richard Zoysa shared the first prize for poetry in New Ceylon Writings, published by Professor Yasmin Gunaratne. His poems are available here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0

    I hope you aint talking about US United States Of America. I hope you calling you and Sri Lankans “US”.

  • 0

    I used to think that
    poetry is a goblet
    that you dip in the pool
    of life and draw the pith.

    But now I know it is a myth,
    Any Jiblet can write a poem.
    You find a few rhyming
    words and write your bloody
    sentences breaking the
    lines at odd
    places and you are on
    your way to the short list of
    emerging literary Jilmarts

    No harm meant, no malice
    just felt like
    joking with you Basil.
    You are a good man
    Have a nice day.

  • 0

    Keep it up Basil

    enjoyed this.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.