Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I came leaving my heritage
Like a drop of morning spittle
Breaking free from the fear of war
That hung heavy on the heart
Swiftly crossing the Mute Sea.

My babies on my shoulders
Their mouth still unsweetened
By the first golden breast-milk
The sound of their mother tongue:
Killing all our heritage
Losing mother and father
A close host of friends

Casting away life’s richness
Thrusting away
Our language from the tongue tip
We have come to a land
Strange to us, unfamiliar
Swiftly crossing the Mute Sea

Each morning we awaken
In the smooth soft beds
Of our new native land
To the kookaburra’s mad laughter

As constant sneezes stream like rain
Like steam rising from the kettle
The burden of my catarrh
Flows to my mind again:
Like some inheritance
Banished from the mother-land
It has come here
My catarrh, the burning, the pain.

(The original poem in Sinhala appearing in Sunil Govinnage’s Mathaka Divaina, 1988)
(Translation by Lakshmi de Silva)

No comments:

Post a Comment