A poem is a piece of creative writing in verse, especially expressing
deep feelings or thoughts in beautiful poetic language to recount an
Sri Lanka can proudly boast of many outstanding poets in our
prestigious history, such as, Totagamuwe Sri Rahula, Vidagama Maitriya,
King Parakramabahu II, Alagiyawanna Mukaveti etc.
In the Colombo era, there were many illustrious poets, such as
Munidasa Kumaratunga, G.H. Perera, Ananda Rajakaruna, Tibetan Bhikkhu S.
Mahinda, Sagara Palansooriya (Keyes), Kapila Seneviratne, Meemana
Prematilake, H.M. Kudaligama, P.B. Alwis Perera, John Rajadasa,
Chandraratne Manawasinghe, Mahagama Sekera, Madawala S Ratnayake, Dr.
Siri Gunasinghe and Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera (Nisades Kavi).
Wimalaratne Kumarage was a born poet who knew the pulse of the people
In his famous poem Sundarahami, he depicts the fine human qualities
of simple villagers and their sense of hospitality, respect and
Pera Deka Nomati, Muth
Mage Toraturu Asuheti
Gemidula Tambili Gasin
Piliganviya Mata Somnasa
In his poem, Kumaragama highlights the character of Herathhami, who
assists the Judicial Medical Officer who held postmortems.
Aliya Wetunu Wewa Siti
Mavanneku Uvada Mama
Minikapana Muth Ee
Ohu Mata Wada
In this poem he gives an idea of social revolutionary thinking for a
classless society and its importance.
His first appointment as a clerk was at Anuradhapura Kachcheri.
Wimalaratne Kumeragama possessed a lovable personality. In no time, he
won the heart of his officers as well as the villagers. He lost his
sister when he was at Anuradhapura in the mid 1930s. Based on her tragic
death, he wrote a poetry book titled Sanwega Vedana. He displayed his
poetic talent in his treatise on his sister.
Sihinen Pava Nothelu
Ganaran Kandha Ada
Oba Bolanda Pana
Obagen Ane Iwarai Ma
In this verse, Kumaragama expresses in a very subtle manner that his
sister has joined the celestial abode.
In 1942, he passed the competitive examination and assumed duties as
a Divisional Revenue Officer (D.R.O.) and served in Anuradhapura, Nuwara
Eliya and Vanniya, where, he blossomed as a creative poet. Forest was
his kingdom he loved most.
In his poem Valas Dadayama he has pictured how he and his companions
witnessed the “bear hunt” sequence from a top of tree on a moonlit
Kadiya Samaga Sima
Mehi Ati Hema Handata
Mage Hadawatha Gesse
Ada Handapaluwa Ada
Wanaroda Meda Isse
The poetic language he uses was so natural and the experience
fantastic. The serene beauty of the forest bathing in the moonlight
makes it a memorable picture in our mind.
He was well versed in English and poetry. Once an English Government
Agent at Sabaragamuwa, knowing that Kumaragama was a reputed Sinhala
poet, was trying to show him that he too was English scholar quoted a
poem and from Shakespeare in came the reply “Sir, the poem you quoted
was from Wordsworth.”
He was a fine human being with a golden heart.
He lived a bachelor's life. When his pet-dog Neela died, he wrote
these few sentimental lines:
Miyagiya Dina Tunakata
Mage Endalangata Vee
Umba Duka Kiyapu Heti
Umba Gana Noyek De
situwili Matuwa Eti
Ubage Agaya Minisun siya
Mage Hadawata Etuluwa
Sita Newwehiya Tani
Ma Setapena Atara
Kaluwara Kara Niwasa
Neela Mala Hatarata Eiye
These beautiful lines amply testify the kind heart of the poet
The majority of his poems are woven around the simple lives of the
villagers of Vanniya. His poems Hapumali and Herathhami, were brilliant
pieces of literature. It depicts the true life of the Vanni villagers.
Hapumali, an innocent pretty girl leaves the village to work as a
domestic aid in Colombo.
Sexually abused, she became an orphan with a child. The poems
consists of 100 verses and its a pathetic story of a village beauty.
Bulatin Pehaya Leba
Tolpeti Deka Ratya
Gambada Nisa Ege
Ge Dora Siyalo Meheyata
Duppath Unath Eya
Wimalaratne Kumaragama – the “muse of remote Vanni,” was one of the
most brilliant creative poets that Sri Lanka ever produced. He had his
own inimitable style, beautiful, enchanting poetic language, greatly
influenced by the culture and environment of Vanni.
His name and Vanni were inseparable. He felt the pulse of the
innocent villagers of Vanniya.
He was born on January 18, 1919 at Narampanawa, Pathadumbara,
Pallispattu Korale, in Kandy. His father was Punchi Bandara Kumaragama,
mother K. H. Bandara Menike. Wimalaratne, was the second in a family of
He had his primary education at Werapitiya School, Madolkele, Kandy.
From 1923-1927, he studied at Teldeniya and Sri Rahula Vidyalaya,
Katugastota. Later, he joined one of the “Crest-jewels of Buddhist
education in Sri Lanka, Dharmaraja College, Kandy.
After passing the Senior Matriculation Examination Wimalaratne
Kumaragama joined the clerical service. Later, he ended his career as an
Assistant Government Agent.
Wimalaratne Kumaragama was a fine human being. This unassuming poet
was a simple man. The higher and higher he went up the ladder of his
career as a Government servant, he never forgot his people.
There are some officers, when they assume high positions, they think
no end of themselves. When such men fall, they fall into a drain and
This great poet, when serving at Anuradhapura Kachcheri, as AGA, used
to have lunch with the clerks at the canteen.
One day, a pretty young girl, a clerk, requested him to recite a
instant poem (Hitiwana Kaviya) about her. Kumaragama witty as ever,
smiled and said: “Kelle, you are still a young girl and you are not
Therefore, I will recite only “Two lines” and not four-lines.
Nangi Innaheti Dekkama
Meseta Ana Ana
Matath Wediya Pinkala
Bhava Dene Mese Kona.
On a sunny afternoon, a farmer came to meet the Disapati Hamuduruwo.
The farmer, was also a poet in his village.
When, he met Wimalaratne Kumaragama, he told him that he too is a
poet and asked for Kumaragama's permission to present his problem in an
Instant Poem. The old farmer, was making a complaint against his old
wife. The farmer uttered:
Gatthe Car Ekak – Eya
Loriyak Elavanna Mata
Dan Ne Piriyak,
Earlier I brought a car. But now its like a lorry. Now, I have no
liking to drive a lorry.
Smilingly the poet Wimalaratne Kumaragama replied:
Grees Damala, Tela Dala Langata Ganin Lorriya
Car Ekata Wediya Hondin Edela Yavi Loriya
Service your lorry with greese and oil. Surely, your loriya will run
smooth and fast than you old car.