Saturday, 28 July 2012


It shows for those who see
when open
and when shut,
when awake and when a-dream,
at midnight and dawn
through clutter of the diurnal
and the tiptoes of poignancy
the red of flag and violet of sunset
the half-empty glass moment
the full of satiation
when click-magnified
and click-diminished
and all the betweens
and absences.


Friday, 27 July 2012


Should I step aside, I asked and she said ‘yes’
and added ‘please’
and after decades of love-knowing
centuries of seek
and hide
I scrawled a note
on the Dictionary of Love:
please is another word
for love,
for now.


Thursday, 26 July 2012

The snail and the train*

         As a thought leaf          
         bedded by frozen dew drops
         I lay upon a rail track
         salivating like a snail

         the morning train
         only so many days to go
         seven or eight Saturdays
         a poya or two,
         an hour
         a second

How to evade the crushing,
O Enlightened One
pray, advise!

‘Remove the rail track
             my child’

[*Translation of 'Golubella and Dumriya' by Lal Hegoda]


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

My poem*

On a polished sheet of paper
neatly laid out on an ornate table
and with the flourish of a Parker Pen
there is no verse that I can write.

When I come home after work
with you inside a crowded train
upon a crudely unpacked empty cigarette pack
with a pencil stub
there is a poem to be scribbled.

And yet, comrade!
that poem dedicated to you
and you alone
will escape --
most of you
will not read today,
this I know.

But there will come a day
when in a kinder world
you will read it
with so much more love,
this too I know.

*Translation of a much-quoted set of lines penned by the incomparable Mahagama Sekara


Tuesday, 24 July 2012


The world of searching is a map without address,
a teasing tune
where the world’s cacophonic 
offers road sign to insanity;
but the getting to your here
from mine
is about feet and sole
the necessary footfall
on pebble and dust
and the obliteration of signage
and the happy insanity
of all impossibles
that converge on rain marked days
to offer you in every face,
every pebble and desert dune,
in moondrop and intoxication,
the orchestra of birds
playing to morning dew. 


Monday, 23 July 2012

Footnote to a heart-thesis

And when heart
is after-thought,
love is a footnote 
passed over,
one feels.
but no,
love is never foot-noted
only people are;
and footnotable people
are like necessary referents;
they exist
in periphery 
as mild adjunct 
to a thesis about other things.

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

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sea-yield, Pulmoddai

Life is  process
death too,
for some lives
are watered
by water-extraction
of both the living
and the dead,
and in the commerce 
of surplus-draw
death has different tags:
this one fresh,
that one preserved;
it’s all cut and dried
from sea to plate,
snip-snap life
has price and sorrow
lament and cheer
in gradations of volume
nuance of weight and flavour,
and immemorial questions:
who got caught,
who got dried,
who lives and who is dead?

[Inspired by the photography of Pushpakumara Mathugama and published in the UNDO Section of The Nation]