[Thinking about recent political developments in Lanka, here is a recent poem by Mahendran Thiruvarangan, who lectures at the University of Jaffna — AK]
A search that depressed me
in those semi-arid paddy fields,
the cleavages of the silent hills, no longer luscious,
the dried up river,
the never-ending rows on the ballot sheet.
No sickles, no hammers, the sky blackened without stars,
green, blue, yellow, white, brown — all could paint our walls
with faces of new-born patriots and traitors,
the missing red,
gone with the wasted blood,
Bridges bombed and broken,
the tree long lost its roots,
the violent tsunamis,
patriotisms and nationalisms,
homelands and motherlands,
the ship is out of sight,
the crew all dead and missing,
sleeping in new camps,
with strange bedfellows who praise gods and demons.
The unhappy farmer of Tissamaharama,
the manacled Tamil prisoner from the thickets of the Wanni,
the withered tea-plucking woman in Talawakkele,
the homeless fisherman on the Eastern coast,
the evicted Jaffna Muslim,
the unspoken Malays, Burghers and Telugus,
throttling each other in battles misfought.
the wall crumbles.