easter, 2009

as i lie still
in an unquiet rest,
the bright brusque midday sun
descending into a dull glow,
the fluted tones of  'it's a
small world after all', drifting through
the yellowed   pane,  breaks
into my reverie, to conclude on
a dying note, the cheery tune,

and i refuse
once more
to write of war torn limbs, bodies
scattered far apart, scarred foetuses, and
the white flag, burning in the
whiter sun, held aloft by a fleeing
refugee, in the desert sand;
i can write only
of my own otherness and
the survival of  a song, drafting
words of  fleeting fancy on the
canvas of my thought.
i refuse to sing any requiem
for me and my own.

by sumathy

In the oppressive night

In the oppressive night

of our time of war,
our little ones
grow big.

Their lovely morning,
like the shape of a little bird,
is waylaid by every
blood-soaked faceless human body
lying across its way.
Their laughter,
ringing with the thrill of life lived
is broken by
crashing stone walls.
Our children
are no longer

The silence of the starry night
is shattered by the burst of a
single bullet; it shatters
to nought the meaning
of all their child talk.
In the remaining light of the day
they forget  to make
chariots out of the seeds
of the palmyrah fruit,
to indulge in the raucous play
of killithattu.

they know
when it's time to shut the gate,
to listen to the dog's bark,
to know its suspicious call,
to not  ask questions,
to keep quiet when there are
no answers
to their queries.
They have learnt like cattle
to habituate themselves
to all of this.

To pluck the wings of the dragonfly
fashion sticks and poles into guns
turning friend into foe
in the game of murder;
This has become
our children's play.

In the oppressive night
of our time of war,
our little ones
have become adults.

by Sivaramani
(Translated from the Tamil by Sumathy and Nirmala Rajasingam. The line 'fashion sticks and poles into guns' is courtesy Chelva Kanaganayagam)

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Himal Southasian