Poems: A Selection


The speeding mind


past events

and races past the vehicle.

A journey of many years

for me and for the road.

The uniformed guide

standing on the first step

delves into the month of May

and rambles on about

artillery guns landmines

hand-grenades rifles

blood tears fear.

As it comes to a grinding halt,

he speaks of the time when

Tamil Eelam Welcomed You


Face flushed by the harsh sun;

I shade it with a scarf.

The checkpost lies worn out.

Tamil lies under Sinhala

all along the way.


Once fortressed and policed,

the structures of the reign

at its zenith

have now turned to debris

under the roots of the arukam grass.

The verdant growth has crept over everything,

muffling the voices.

The hero stones have been bundled away

for interrogation.

Even the headless palm trees

which showed the way

are gone.

The fair Buddha

who has sprouted in the wilderness

adorns his hair

with the karthikai flower.

My unrelenting vengeance

buried in his silence

rages on in the flower’s flame.


houses blown to bits

in weird shapes

like an art fair.

in the middle of

the crushed vegetation,

wet footprints.

a young shoot peeps out

from the dead Tiger’s Claw Tree

on which clothes hang to dry.

the people have learnt

to pose for hours

clutching with ease

the barbed wire

without getting pricked.

in every nook and corner

of the razed city

fags of

banks with big money

reach out to the skies.


To the land that was done with triumphs and setbacks

comes the ancient wind,

drained now of its hues.

It speaks a new language now.

The flag it curls itself around is also new.

As we move along

wheels kicking up the dirt,

the wind that blows

in one tight embrace

breaks the walking stick

of the old man.


The swords of the victors and

the eyes of the vanquished

have been buried.


disintegrated in

blood and booze.

ln the land lost beyond dreams

food, repose and work

are all back to normal, they say.


when I say

that Eelam is where I was born,

they growl more than ever.


The sea tossed about by the big waves

was now weary.

In that hour,

when the cranes were busy catching fish,

the war ended.

For the sacrifice

to begin the war

Aravaan was the marked one.

English speaking, yet a Tamil.

Even a moment’s delay, and

a war would have not taken place.

After Aravaan’s life ended

in the swimming pool,

the commander of the Pandava army

assumed charge.

The lame Sakuni was slain,

who spent his time playing dice.

An auspicious day was fixed.

In the battleground

where Pandavas and Kauravas milled around,

the world’s great kings too joined forces.




Karna, who narrowly escaped death,

gave vent to his anger.

War War War

For eighteen months.

With the skies and the earth and the waters and the wind

chasing them,

the people were trapped

in the emperor’s fort.

Victory upon victory!

As the ancestors,

fasting while relaxing

on cotton beds,

blew the conch of triumph,

five people, men women both,

were crowned

in the Kaurava court.

Karna and his army

languished in prison.

Krishna, reborn as Buddha,

quit the scene as a demon.

Gobbling up the remains of

the chopped hands and

the buried lives left over,

the Gods, who listened to his Gita,

have begun to raid the villages.


There was a nation once

where lived a race.

In remembrance of them.

these celebrations.


with poems, essays and fables,


with ministers and actresses,

symposiums, mega-conferences are all organized.

women, intellectuals are specially taken care of.

the web links have begun to bloom

internet pages have begun to scroll

photos, speeches,

videos made by people who visited

rousing songs and

music CDs in abundance.

at places of worship

special prayers, heedless of caste or religion.

both the priests

and the atheists

gathering separately.

rallies and hunger strikes

take place without saying,

money is lavishly spent.

The only bit of worry is

whether the barbed wire fence

will get wrenched out.


With the bunch of keys

you left behind in a hurry,

I too am joining you

in your journey.

Though your solitary cell

had no door

you kept with you the bunch of keys.

In the ring made from

the hair of women

you had strung

many keys, in many designs.

For your resurrection

without doors

the music of the keys

is essential.

In that moment

when your bunch of keys rested,

my breeze

invaded your cell.

You became wrathful

and set fire to my house.


I am sending you my sparrow

untouched by the fire till now.

May your cell

be suffused with light.


Death is not final

as we think it to be.

We will die many times

as long as we are alive.

Until the end, it will remain a stranger.

The loss will not be forgotten.

It will wrap itself around our throat

like a constricting python.

We will be unable to unload it

even when we visit the toilet.

Like a ghoul set fee,

uncertain where to go.

The list will roll out


beginning with

mother, father, friend, kin

and rolling on with

the people living in the same street,

the people living in the same village,

the people speaking the same language.

If anyone tells you

that Time heals,

don’t trust them.

One can live without crying

One can live without thinking

One can train oneself to go sleepless.

The only thing

one cannot stop

is the death

coming alive in your dreams.

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