Thursday, 30 March 2017

The architecture of poetry

A word
or maybe just random letters
these are the gifts unintended 
but there is a filing instrument 
again a gift unintended
yes hurt 
can chip away
smooth over sharp edge 
cut clean
and hand over to heart
these raw materials 
with which
by and by
splendid pavilions I make
for who knows whom
if so desired to stay awhile 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017


Rise, roll and crash
then run 
touch feet
and run back

rise, roll and crash
in endless repeat

it’s not the you 
of first arrival
and it’s not someone else

the evening post exclaims: 
waiting for things that never arrived
waiting for things that might come

sifting grains 
and shifting blues 

are splendid places 

for feet to grow old

in the brine of being

Monday, 6 March 2017

Gossamer Girl

There's light thieving in
street light, home-light and moon;
it's quiet here and cool
but I wish it would rain
blend-light further blurred
is guest, not thief

There's a feast downstairs
a quiet consumption
of demand and request
a chewing out with burst
and a resolution with smile

You in your infinities
I in my dust-speck
We in familiarity 

Gossamer of a kind 

Friday, 24 February 2017

A joy and a pleasure

Not to rally round 
for yet another scarecrow to make
but the the threshing floor 
of its birth to fertilize 
a joy and pleasure
surely for the straw

[translation of "සැපකි - සතුටකි " from the collection "මීළඟ මීවිත" (The next wine) by Ruwan Bandujeewa]

Tuesday, 21 February 2017


The river's face and mine
after a long, long time did meet

The river 
into my face peered 
scratched head with fingertips
and a sign of recognition sought,
I felt

having seen us
not separately
but together
a moment more tarried
took a turn and hid
the river did

[translation of "මුහුණු" from the collection "මීළඟ මීවිත" (The next wine) by Ruwan Bandujeewa]

Friday, 17 February 2017

A sandesaya to Gamini Fonseka

Tell us of the roles you play
the scripts that come alive
as you walk and walk,
speak and say nothing,
in your gaze and gesture,
out there in those other locations
among the other heroes
supporting casts
props and equipment.
Tell us about that life,
the parameters
within which they capture
moment and a love note
a kiss and an arrow;
the contortions of the human condition
the comedy, tragedy and other undefined things.
Tell us about the play of power,
of dignity and arrogance
the slippages
between ‘possible’ and ‘impossible’,
loose words, and
silence that draws from the eternal verities.
Tell us about the heroines,
the casuals,
the portraits shattered with gunfire
the images that were not bullet-proof
but which survived.
Tell us,
in this land beyond recall,
how tall you are,
how commanding;
give us the dimensions
of profile and bearing.
Do you, for example,
hold the screen in a clenched fist
or in your determined eyes,
or have you disappeared
in the burning black-white frame
of your own exhalations
or crushed like the cigarette-ends
you ground out
to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’
as per script
or out of it,
as was your way?

[first published in 'The Nation' in October 2006, a few days after his death]

Thursday, 16 February 2017


“O Father
why do we not go
for the Ploughing Festival?
Even the king today
will step into the paddy field..
should we not this silence break
and inform them all
how we made fertile this soil
hidden in the bowels of the earth?”

“Little one,
the blade of the mammoty
must into the dark mud cut
and of those who fertilized
and those who did not
is quite unconcerned —
so dig deeper into the dark mud
for son,
it is inadvisable 
to crawl 
to surface openness”

[translation of "ගැඩවිල්ලු" from the collection "මීළඟ මීවිත" (The next wine) by Ruwan Bandujeewa]