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waves

SUNIL GOVINNAGE

Fremantle Beach

 

As the sun dives

into the mute Indian Ocean

across the western edge a dim rainbow fades

into a blue sky

turning rusty red

 

Sea waves carry their ivory froth to shore

another faded love

melting into memory

 

The evening breeze

 

whispers your sweet lullaby over the ocean

 

My heart aches

No song can stop those waves

Translated by the poet

apple

AAZHIYAAL

Signals from the Navel

Were it not for

your mother

her mother

and her mother’s mother’s mother,

how would you

and your daughter’s daughter

and her great-grand daughter

have come to be?

 

Think about it sometime

 

Is there no connection

to trace between the repeated signals

from those umbilical cords

and the colours of the sky

so that you, a lone woman, can see

as you too live and learn?

 

Think about it, sometime

 

Perhaps you assume

you began it, were at the root of it,

that umbilical cord.

 

Or perhaps you wonder

why you need

all those forebears

just to register your face

 

Let me see

 

touch your inmost soul

with one hand,

and point with the other

to the tree

whose fruit you once tasted

 

Are you not Eve herself?

 

Translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom

 

butterfly

ANGELA DE SILVA

Lepidoptera

 

On broken butterfly wing, your crippled mind

fluttered into my schoolroom. Failed. And died.

 

I couldn’t do a thing to stir its organs

of poor maimed sense to life again.

 

Only sensation. Reflex twitch

of feelers. And for me sentiment.

 

Occasional small rapture at your velvet

softness and smoothness. Soon the ants of time

carry you away from chalk and Chaucer

into oblivion.

 

Farewell, lovely.

The heavy footed State, which made a mess

of your fragility, called this progress,

should pin you down on cardboard behind glass

specimen of the educated class.

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