Rajapakse - travel photo
A Wish List
by Shirani Rajapakse

I want to travel the ancient path, visit the old places,
names that still resonate with mystery and charm —

Mesopotamia, Babylonia,
Greece, Mohenjo-Daro, Samarkand,

wander like a nomad through the pages of history
traversing time and space journeying to the present

a pleasure trip of a lifetime around the world —
drink coffee in Red Square, spend the evening

at the Bolshoi theatre, be awed by the amber room,
listen to Tchaikovsky as the miles roll under wheels

along the trans Siberian, sleep in Ulaanbaatar
huddled inside a ger tent, move to the Gobi, unwind,

backpack across the Steppe, read my future in a cup
of tea near the Forbidden City, observe the wheel turn

as the potter creates exquisite shapes,
stroll on the Great Wall, pass through to the furthest

point in Asia, hop on an early morning flight
waking up with the sunrise over a cloud

turning the sky orange gold, sit under cherry
blossoms and take note of the stillness of life, return

along the silk route, shiver up Annapurna,
worship the Gods in every temple, snack on

paneer tikka and samosa along the way, admire the many
mudras of odissi, bharat natyam and katak, meditate

under the Bodhi Tree, eat biriyani in a desert palace
reclining on cushions of every possible hue

as peacocks call out from afar, go with the flow,
kite fight from the rooftops of Karchi, savor Kalashi

wine brewed to an ancient recipe, retrace
Alexander’s route back to where he started, gaze

on the old structures in Lebanon, shop for carpets
in Isfahan, observe wildebeests migrate across

the Serengeti, flamingoes at Lake Nakuru,
follow a lone elephant or

lion in Okavango, find out his secrets, drift down
the Nile, amble through the souks, breathe in deep,

envision the path taken by Achilles among the many
ruins in Turkey, take a break, relish baklava,

view life floating along the Bosphorus, touch the waters
of the Mediterranean, drive down a country road in Greece,

pay homage to Athena, munch through
pizza napoletana in Venice, take a ride on a gondola

across the Grand Canal, sip wine in Monet’s garden,
be mesmerized in Cézanne’s world, be a

sunflower for a day, relax in Alhambra, load up on
chocolates, lots of it, let it melt on my tongue as

I picnic at the foothills of the alps
tuning my ears to the sound of the wind making music

with the hills, doze off in an igloo, gulp rum,
read a book, listen to old Marley while swinging

from a hammock on the beach, get high on life, view the
world from the Empire State, ride the Greyhound to

wherever it goes, enjoying nature change
its colours from bright summer to autumn shades,

win millions in Vegas, gawk at a volcano crumbling
into the sea, hang onto the wings of a Monarch

butterfly, discover its hiding places, Mexican food,
stumble through Mayan ruins, climb the Andes,

trek in the rain forest, rest, rejuvenate in a spa, get back on
the road stretching ahead, always ahead, cruise the

high seas following a pod of dolphins
in search of whales, take the Ghan across a continent,

chill out, delight in fairy penguins as they come ashore,
hug a koala, leap off a tree bending its arms into a

quiet pool in the back of beyond, leave only
ripples on the surface, footsteps

along the way that turn to dust, take, take, take photographs,
create a storehouse of memories in my mind,

then hitch a ride to the space station and
watch the world go by leisurely through a veil of

clouds before coming down to earth, invigorated
and geared up to take it all in again and again.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: Somewhere on the road in Ladakh, India. One of my favourite travel destinations.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: These are places I’d really like to visit (although I’ve visited some) and I hope one day it will become a reality.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shirani Rajapakse is a Sri Lankan poet and author. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013 and was a finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013. Her collection of short stories, Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Shirani’s work appears in, The Write-In, Silver Birch Press, Moving Worlds, Citiesplus, Deep Water Literary Journal, Mascara Literary Review, Kitaab, Cyclamens & Swords, Channels, Linnet’s Wings, Spark, Berfrois, Counterpunch, Earthen Lamp Journal, Asian Cha, Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry Review, About Place Journal, Skylight 47, The Smoking Poet, New Verse News, The Occupy Poetry Project and anthologies, Flash Fiction International (Norton 2015), Ballads (Dagda 2014), Short & Sweet (Perera Hussein 2014), Poems for Freedom (River Books 2013), Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012, Song of Sahel (Plum Tree), Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, World Healing World Peace 2012 & 2014 (Inner Child,) and Every Child Is Entitled to Innocence (Plum Tree).  Visit her at shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com.