_54615505_54615504We are all happy
By Sajeewani Kasturiaracchi

Even before the dusk peeks in
I lock the gate with a huge padlock

The wall round my house, with barbed wire along its top
is many feet tall
no one can jump in
Then I close doors and windows
I am well-protected now.
No, there is no one to bomb me now
it is the best time to watch
war-news on TV
There you go!
Those are rescued people
in those wonderful camps
filled with all the riches
in fantastic camping huts
As long as they are there
they are safe, they say
So, we are all happy


Stare at the Sky
To return home as dusk falls,
to light a lamp in a dark house,
and eat a morsel, crawl into a corner
and sigh with relief:
this is home.
But would these too
now disappear?
Blowing out the lamp and burying it in the earth,
staring at emptiness, seeking refuge in the cross,
mere phantoms

Will the city too die?
The stench of burnt foliage
the cry of the helpless, whimpering of dogs
foaming and panting, the calf dodges the noose
Water dripping from the roof, the school, the church,
everywhere heaps of scattered dreams:
Humanity in collective grief
The heart gains strength
Life may slip in a fraction of time;
but at least that would remain,
to stare at the sky




Let Life Go On

As dusk descends on Jaffna
the ghost-town empties of people
Only the bullet-ridden bodies remain –
a school girl and an old man –
terrorists in tomorrow’s news cast.
As bombs burst in the background
the crowds rush indoors
for the sixty-one hour curfew,
mustering enough spirit
for the struggle to preserve sanity

in their solitary gloomy hovels;
for the struggle against anxiety
at their ears strain to catch the boot-steps
that come to bundle them into trucks
and dump them for a lifetime into cells.
Dusk descends on Jaffna
but bright lights and balloons beautify
a small house in a narrow alley;
an infant’s first birthday.
As protective elders crowd round
defiantly dispelling despair
the child brims over with laughter.
Proud, are you, of completing
one full mile on a risky road?
Hopeful, aren’t you,
of the half-century of adventures ahead?
Let life go on
whatever be the odds
let life go on.