Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Ode to projectiles

I am thinking of projectiles:
the toss of a rock and a teargas canister
multiple arcs of a stone bouncing on water
the throw from the bounday
accusation in court
a token of love into a trashcan 
as an orchestra goes silent
a prayer for a child unconscious 
a shooting star disappearing into target
color-throw from one end of sky to the other
and a thought, a plea and a voice
moving across the uneven earth
and through other trajectories 
coming to rest on a singular card 
that says ‘heart-locked’ 
and concludes ‘yours’ 
but perhaps 
not just mine.   

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Earth of the salt

Metaphor for flavor
belonging and goodness,
enricher of idiom and language,
symbol of political stance,
issue of elemental intercourse,
token of a kitchen’s viability:

It does not come from sea,
not from play of sun on water,
it does not arrive,
it is made.

It has a synonym
here in Puttalam. 

[first published in 'The Nation,' July 30, 2006]

Friday, 10 November 2017

Lost and found in dimensionality

without name or number
or named and numbered
but in another tongue
polarities and marmalade
benumbing ascents and descents
to one unable to fly
and yet with sole so scorched 
that feet resist gravity 
lyrics and paint 
beads that charm
cards stacked and read 
and illegible,
all mesmerizing artifacts
makes for silence
across dimensions 
and poverties 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The poem addressed by a tree to its flowers

It appears upon inspection
that a few more flowers
are due to blossem

if there are any flowers
that would voluntary wilt
raise hands just once 
before the wind arrives

[translation of "ගසක් තම මල් අමතා කී කවිය" from the collection "මීළඟ මීවිත" (The next wine) by Ruwan Bandujeewa] 

Monday, 6 November 2017

From the Peacock Caste

Seeing the unforgiving drought
racing and roaring in
spouting dust from mouth and nostril

breaking door and window of nest
gathering whatever hands can lay on
migratory birds do flee to the faraways

However dry the zone may be
they remain on branches dead and dying 
and none, not one of the peacock caste
to lush places fly

If there are kids without toys
at play in a garden nevertheless
swoop down instantly they will
and drop a feather or two
as per the custom of the tribe. 

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

Thursday, 19 October 2017

In a certain valley….

On either side of the river
from a long time ago 
two mountains rise
bound in love 

They cast gaze
on the other’s face
and nothing else
have they done

And yet now and then
from mountain eyes
tear drops roll
down to the river below

They burst out 
and as thin streams roll
and gather at the river,
this is apparent. 

[Translation of Ruwan Bandujeewa's "එක්තරා නිම්නයක..."]

එක්තරා නිම්නයක....

ගඟ දෙපැත්තේ
බොහෝ කල් සිට
ප්‍රේමයෙන් බැඳි
කඳු දෙකක් ඇත

උනුන් වත දෙස
බලා ඉනු මිස
මෙතෙක් කල් වෙන
වුනු දෙයක් නැත

නමුත් ඉඳ හිට
කඳු ඇසින් වට
කඳුළු කැට කැට
ගලා පහළට

සිහින් ඇළ දොළ
ලෙසින් පැන නැග
ගඟට එක්වෙනු
දකින්නට හැක ...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Aerial Music

Unheard, unsung
and yet not unmade,
there’s a timeless music score 
of wingtip, flight-path and synchronicity 
played to the accompaniment
of orchestral skies
the singular note of an oboe
rising above depravities 
the cardinal errors of acquired incapacity 
and sorrows embedded 
in earthy things.

[Inspired by the photography of Sajani Amarathunga]