Saturday, 2 June 2012

Rules of engagement

When the world says 'speak',
we have to speak;
when we are ordered, 'be silent',
we obey.
'Dance!' says the world,
we move;
'Enough! Stop!'
and we submit.
All this is 'art',
the Art of Living.
And when we want to sing,
when it is tragic not to dance,
when a child at a street-corner
a smile on the face of a vendor,
the collapse of all things but lung,
the silencing of all things but heartbeat
tell us, 'do this, not that',
the world objects: 'Not approved!'
That is also 'art',
the Art of Dying.

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


Friday, 1 June 2012

A further note on silence

(again for Sashi)

The most beautiful silences
are those between words
and even syllables,
the fleeting and fleeing ‘nothing’
between sound,
between fury and compassion,
embrace and let-go,
but now,
reading you
and misreading perhaps
the blankness of waiting
and the interruption
of battery-dead-and-no-charger
was long:
it shrieked!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sashi’s Space

is a many worded language
one which says nothing
and is read as everything
and you will mind-pick
syllable and nuance
and craft the headlines
of unsaid stories
and sigh
or smile
and the decipherable
in its faraway and caress
will be yours
and not.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Ode to a snake-charmer

And in the end
once the long day's work is done
and applause has disappeared
into other conversations
and night-plans,
once snake has charmed
and monkey entertained,
does charmer steal away
into dream-box and wonder,
'who was the player,
and who the played;
who was monkey and cobra,
where are my scales,
where is my tail,
did I bring them home,
or were they used
to gift-wrap audience
and celebration?'

[Inspired by the photography of Piyumika Pathirana and taken from the collection 'Some texts are made of leaves,' shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2011]

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ode to language

There was language before
there will be language later
but the now-language
is not language we've ever known.
This language recognises words,
moves them, empowers,
perfumes and endows with lustre
and yet is differently constituted.
This language of the now
is the private universe
where rainbows un-curve
to give colour to cheek
where flowers spray
gene-defying fragrance,
It is uncommunicable.
It is all we have and need.

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

Monday, 28 May 2012

It’s the bubble of life

This one belongs to parents:
‘Fond Hopes’
this to friend and lover:
‘Be Forever’,
That one got away:
‘Where I Want To Be’;
and so we watch
this spherical arrangement
of water and air
where burst is un-doubted
but intact willed,
where suicide bubbles
with touch and not-go
disrupt geometrical eloquence,
watch the carnival of flight
delight and sparkle
the kiss that kills
but exclaim in obdurate bubblitude:
and in a bubbling tone observe:
‘And bubbles there will always be!’

[Inspired by the album 'Bubbles' by Natalie Soysa and published in 'The Nation', UNDO Section