Jaywalking to Anonymity

Note – This is a poem that I wrote for the Amnesty International poetry competition on missing persons in Sri Lanka. However I changed my mind and submitted a different poem, to which I haven’t got a reply from them. There is an automatic response system according to the Amnesty International website but I’m wondering why I didn’t get an acknowledgement. Strange ! …….Has anyone else had the same fate ? If you have, please e-mail me on dilanthag_12@yahoo.com.au and let me know. I would love to hear from you. I have e-mailed Amnesty International (Asian and London offices) but even my mails have not been answered this far.

Update – The London office got back to me but I’m waiting for a reference number still …….


The Tamil communities
Divided between the auras of avatars
And the mortality of the son of man
Zipped lips, stitched eye-lids, knotted minds
Smiling around bonfires – flickering consciences – at night
And travelling by daybreak
Those who sowed grains of rice and finger millet
Now sewing the fabric of destiny
Amidst sleeping satellites and silenced shadows

They say in the North
People fade with a pink slip from Yama or God
Or evanesce like a whisk of smoke
And some disappear like a Talaimannar sunset
Yet there are those who sublimate, from flesh to anonymity
Where there are no cries or echoes, nor are there feet marks
Just a blatant silence, eerie like a sea of cemeteries
Sinking throngs of boat people

On limestone earth are alabaster dreams
Innocent as a child’s awe-imbued eyes
Empowered with fists of iron and feet of steel
A land of specters like skeletal trees at twilight
Limping away to the night
Where there are kites without kite runners
Toothbrushes absent of hygienists
In makeshift dungeons and permanent burial plots

Sometimes the greatest amnesty
Rests on bipedal feet, unchained and free
When man can carry a heart sodden with love
And a spirit maddened with courage
Down the isthmus of Elephant Pass
Where there will always be a stubborn mortality
Between his runaway aura and his tracking shadow
Who will never be trafficked or smuggled
Of his heartbeat, who will rest forever a man
With Palmyra-treacle skin, proud of his Dravidian heritage
Fortified with outer courage and inner will
Who will never be chopped down or wind-toppled
Like the erect bough of a Palmyra tree

It is said……….
Where there are no stripes and feline whiskers
Even camouflaging rosettes of leopards
There is no residue of fear, just a scent of prejudice
Where steel doors engulf jaywalkers
On lonely pedestrian nights
Where the streets have historical names
Yet street corners are absented
Of tombstones or epitaphs


One Comment Add yours

  1. Enjoyed discovering your poetry Dilantha! Best of luck with the competition, I submitted too 🙂

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