Saturday, 12 May 2012

‘How did you come back from where the heart took you?’

If you are asking me,
I'd say this:

There were no name-boards
or landmarks
no road-sign, no map
for hearts
though contoured
slip through fingers
evade cartographer.
There's a price to pay
for heart:
salute love
and concede reason,
give up choice;
there's no agency.
Did not ask,
did not plan,
do not complain now;
there might have been mirror
but I didn't see;
there are people
and they never asked my name -
so i said 'conclude, as you will'.
There are no auspicious times,
not for heart,
not to my knowledge,
nor my ignorance,
as of now.

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

Friday, 11 May 2012

Seen and heard

I saw moonlight bend
a tender leaf,
heard an ancient monument
murmur a prayer,
I breathed colours
footnoted in history books,
and noticed
in my passing
the play of the heroic with the vile,
the great heartedness that made a nation
and the carelessness
that makes for divorce.
I saw the hands of the clock move
making notes of this and that
without pausing to worship
things unimaginable
that somehow were true,
I saw the claws of time sprint
towards the sad rendezvous:
the end of time.

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

Thursday, 10 May 2012


and I close my eyes
so you can see me
at my prettiest
my flowered innocence;
be harsh
and I will stab
with eyes closed;
I am life-lesson
a wayside gift
footnotable by footfall.

[Pic by Kumari Herath]


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Hela Hatan of Ritigala

(for Ritigala Sumedha)

These hills are ancient,
older than the stories
and poetry
the dance and the dancer
the warrior and the war.
They live
because they are lived in
and their stories re-related
not only with word on paper
but in the grace of movement,
the tempered steel
the focused mind
the heart of equanimity.
These hills are ancient
because they are new
and are renewed 
and their spirits reawakened
with the particularity of gaze
the clasp of hands
the sprinkling of labour
the veneration of a tradition.
There are winds 
               that swirl as mist;
they are made 
               of the life-breath
of the immortals,
the defenders 
of a land and lifestyle,
the thousands 
of the Yaksha Nation;
they are made of strong belief
and tender engagement,
feet that know earth
hands that protect flame 
and eyes bereft of anger;
made of you and I
and a history un-visited
and is yet both of our now
and tomorrow;
made also,
among other things,
of a man called Sumedha,
of the soil, the waters
and a mountain
called Ritigala.

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


Monday, 7 May 2012


I take word away from language letter from alphabet
punctuation from sentence
heart from life
and toss it out
for wind and time to craft.
And if she reads me somehow
what then of theory
of word and music,
grammar rules and such?

[From the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves']


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Itipiso Bhagava Arahang...

All things are transient
and thus the Enlightened One
journeyed through sansara
lifetime to lifetime
slaying the kleshas
one by one
spoke the word
showed path
was born
attained Enlightenment
and reposed
in the incomparable
parinirvana manchaka
and we resolve
in our impurities
to purify
to reflect
to affirm righteousness
as embedded in word
and example,
trip on our frailties
stray again and again
but return
to a singular avenue
eminently recognizable
by fragrance of text
and the colours of emancipation
striking and soft
in contrasts that blend
to everything and nothing.