Saturday, 28 April 2012

Serendipity unveiled

This land
is every land there ever was
and ever will be,
this land
is not foreign
to foreign soil,
gaze upon it
and that’s all it takes
to obtain permanent residency
to love and hate
to own and disown
This land passes
from generation to generation
traveller to traveller
journal and revision,
it has moved from hand to hand
been chit-chatted about
civilized and vilified
and yet
again and again
through ownership and bombardment
lyrical rendering and misrepresentation
it rises
from cartography and cartographer
traveller and description
long nights
and blazing afternoons,
emerging in colour and storm
wave and wave-remnant
through mist and forgetting
rides on parallel lines
and wanders in impossible universes.
There are temples made of rock
and made of seaspray and yearning,
monuments from the past
as fresh as imagined tomorrows,
boats and carpets
lines and curves.
This land
is a beautiful woman,
an old woman’s recollection
a baby’s ripple of laughter,
a song sculpted without blueprint
plundered without mercy
lost without name
but always,
signatured with love.

[from the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]


Friday, 27 April 2012

A curl of cinnamon

Cinnamon is bark
is bite and flavor-flush,
intoxicating aroma too,
a lakeside, a garden
commodity and profit-giver,
and like all things exotic,
it begins with sweat,
the arc of labour,
the art of crafting
the curl and bind
of political economy
game for child
business as usual for end-adult
necessity for primary-adult
a taste of heaven
cooked on earth
with hands
and fires that resisted dousing
century after century after century.

[Inspired by the photography of Rukshan Abeywansha]


Wednesday, 25 April 2012


Fresh, so fresh, exciting!
hot, so hot,
hotter than Global Warming at its worst
water is play-invite
rain or sun
it’s lightness of being
light, so light
it’s made for flying
flyer and spectator
when it rains, it rains
we live with it, we play
like snow
made for snowmen and snow angels
and sun
for tan and crop
and drying clothes,
embrace empowers
curse detracts
and that’s the story
the poet missed
when a lie was immortalized:
‘rain, rain, go away!’

[inspired by the photography of Rukshan Abeywansha]


Tuesday, 24 April 2012


And Satheesh
you were so much like your father
spirited but not in-your-face
nor mine,
and your heart-timbre
was voice
in the long-breathed drag
wavering as the waves
of the great oceanic wilderness
that is also refuge
wavering in the less tempestuous flow
and the egoda-megoda
of life
in a boat that has now crossed
leaving cadence and echo;
haunts, brother.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Signatures of sustainability

Their footprints will grow
as shadows do
longer by the hour;
smiles will not grow wider
for the yawn of dream and reality
collapses fast in dream-fade
and in that short road to adulthood
smaller footprints will show
that life follows life
city skyline grows higher
landscape becomes art form
children will smile
now and then and again,
and in the swift movement of nation
from the here to there
of design and architecture,
glitter and ambience
poverty remains alas
slow of foot,

*Pic by Rukshan Abeywansha
[Published in the 'UNDO' section of The Nation, April 22, 20112]