love and Miracles - from consensual to non-consensual to sensual | Sunday Observer

love and Miracles - from consensual to non-consensual to sensual

5 March, 2023

Zaithoon Bin Ahamed’s debut collection of poetry, ‘Love and Miracles’, contains an abundance of substance, beauty, and embodiment. These three qualities have often been associated with the human condition, and Zaithoon (or Zai, as her friends call her) doesn’t shy away from the association, but in her poetry, the reader finds resonance within her carefully crafted lines, our emotions, our fears and even reason to hope.

For such is Zai’s writing that explores themes such as forbidden love, impending mortality, love lost and love unconditional, from consensual to non-consensual to sensual.

Take these lines as an example, from her poem ‘Cicatrix’:

Her heart is racing

And he calms her down with his might

“Is this the first time you are doing this?” he asks

His hands clasped over her mouth so she cannot speak

She shakes her head from side to side

Holding back tears of pain and fear

“Don’t ask questions. Just enjoy the moment,” he says

But for him, this was one of many conquests

Like the ocean’s tide, it peaks

Then crashes and disappears till its time again

A casual need, fed too many times

He sought her only if others failed to show

In his, she found love

But love didn’t find her”

How many of us could have been on either side of the two characters in the poem above, whether male or female; how many of us have seceded or dominated, not taking the other’s emotions or lack thereof into consideration?

Is love a game and every encounter a conquest? or does it leave scars and pain, yet like an addiction, has us returning time and time again, to revisit a semblance of what it could be, what we yearn for it to be, not having the courage to break free and find something true and alive and warm?


Talking to Zai about the inspiration for her lines, she tells us, “Love and Miracles is a collection of poetry based on experiences and encounters… some of these experiences are mine and others are of people whom I have acquainted with over the years.

It’s collection of stories, yes… penned within the style of writing that is poetry.” Zai goes on to say, “Writing is my way of expressing views, feelings, and thoughts freely and somehow, I’d built up a collection that, hugely encouraged by my friends, I eventually put out as a book.”

Zaithoon grew up in Colombo, went to Ladies College and her career spans a variety of industries, from broadcasting to electronic media/journalism, financial research publishing, content marketing, corps Comms for a manufacturing company, and is currently Head of corporate communications for WSO2 – a technology company.

Zaithoon tells us that she is working on a novel, which is taking rather longer to put together than she originally anticipated, but hopes to have it ready soon. “I feel writing is a powerful way to bring awareness about social issues, and discuss life’s challenges through storytelling – whether functional or real experiences,” says Zai.

The poems and the short stories at the end of her book ‘Love and Miracles’, makes far strides in filling a void that has been present in Sri Lankan writing for too long. It’s a joy to come nearer to a realm of experiences little explored in Sri Lankan poetry, the lives of those characters that inspire these words, and their experiences we can share.

Zai takes the emotions that are far too shunned by the world as being mundane and breathes life upon them. She reconstructs what it means to be… human.

Zai’s poems have some very emotionally significant truths to share with her readers, her writing has this very ‘carefully-culled-from-experience’ feel to them, with choice descriptions mixing with the genuine and affecting interactions one can have with the world and life around us.