Friday, 30 March 2012


She was tiny
that’s my first memory of her:
and over time
she grew smaller and smaller
not by the distancing of time
or continental shifts
for reasons of proximity
order of birth
tiny enough to command
pandered to, she was
but perhaps feared
I could hold her hand
or hold her in my palm
but maybe
that’s what she wanted me to think
she holds me too
in a heart-palm
made of mother
and friend,
but she’s tiny
this sister of mine.

*Upon reading the draft of her second novel and being utterly moved.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Uma Shanthi

She came clinging
and falling out
of her father’s arms,
she was just seven
and said not a word
she showed love
by licking her father’s face
she was beautiful
this girl of seven
touched by some grace
without a name
named after a name
she would not know,
this Goldenhar girl,
just seven years old
running all over my heart
though she could not even walk.
Uma Shanthi,
seven then,
would be nine now
or thereabouts,
it does not matter;
she passed on
this purest of human beings
about whom her father said
‘she did not harbor one harsh thought
in all her life’.
This most beautiful of children
used to live
Past tense.
She never cried

but I do now. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Summary Execution

This is not post-war
these times of claim and allegation
of selectivity and double-speak
of world-is-flat
and humans flatter theories
and theorists
these are times of self-righteousness
these are war-times
without explosives
suicide-bombers or assassinations;
these times came before another time
of a nation under siege
a time thirty years long
of everyday anxiety,
but this was a moment
a representative capture
of a summary execution
the world will not recognize,
the execution of kindness
unthinkable of a war criminal
the execution of the Manual of Hope
an introduction to the Book of Tomorrow,
the quintessential api venuwen api freeze.
It’s written not in act nor reception
but in the face of the saved.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

War criminality*

War is simple:
killing and getting killed
threat and negating threat
an exercise where life is a breath held back
sometimes never to be released,
a love story unfolding
under a terrible sky
on an exploding earth
lovers making out as best they can
under an umbrella of bullets
and debris
war is blind to the precious
baby’s breath
mother’s milk fragrance
horror at the gaping wound
even after you’ve seen ripped out limbs
war is not delicate nor delicacy
and war criminals are divested
of tenderness,
they don’t care
and no mother, 
whether war-torn, bruised or poor
will gift baby to brute.  

*inspired by the photograph of a Tamil woman who had fled LTTE-controlled areas handing over her new born baby to a solder in a truck (presumably before she got in herself), smiling all the while.


Monday, 26 March 2012

Sal Mal

[an animisa lochana poojawa]

From Lumbini to Kusinara
and long before
and long after too
a thorana that needs no song
no light
but is text complete
a story that slips
from the bana potha
and the jathaka katha,
a soft encounter
of tenacity and yield
with root that turns
into abiding fragrance
the being and breathing
through centuries and centuries,
made for the dana paramita
the giving beyond gift.

*Pic courtesy

An ode to Blueness

They say there are blue skies
not sky-blues,
blue waters, but not water-blues,
but our mountains are also blue,
so too, the road,
so widely bluescaped
blue-arteried by river,
blued by cloud and mist
and there’s engineered blue too,
a blue-spotted map
the wellassa of the hundred thousand waters
and the cross-pollination of blue
we are blue in embrace and resilience
is our many-blued land
an indelible signature surely
of the blue planet 

[Inspired by the photography of Hiranya Malwatta]