Tagged: Vanni

War torn prayer


My skies continue to grey
The darkness of night does not cease at day
The air gets bleaker, our breaths deterred
Though the sudden blazes of evil are not preferred
The pit in my stomach is infinitely deep
I’ve forgotten how to laugh but I remember how to weep
I’ve written letters to addresses to which I cannot post
I play no more though I whisper to the baby ghosts
Routines, a luxury that I’ve forgotten my own way
For yesterday’s losses are different from today’s
I see broken glass, I see fallen poles
I see rubble and blood, I see confined souls
My reaction to everything is to kneel down and pray
But the sun has hidden and the holy moon shies away
There used to be light in me, hot enough to burn
But now I am frozen and my light is yet to return

– Saduni Wanniarachchi

Sri Lanka War Poem

(“Nahi Werena Werani” – Hatred Never Ceases by Hatred)

For three long decades
the nation was beaten
in no small measure
at the eruption of the terror bomb
that dispelled mankind straight to death
in thousands
of whom the blood gleamed in the same carmine
be it Sinhalese or Tamils
So why this obsolete, spoilt stratification?

Vermillion balls of crystallized blood
mingled with white sand like carnelian
everywhere in the Jaffna peninsula
Precipitously blasted vehicles
Charred remnants of smashed houses
Sky-climbing buildings,
flattened to the ground and vanished
Dead bodies put inside
kerosene stained blackened tires
And how the roasting corpses lifted themselves
in the raging flames
mirroring the killing injuries
The day the Aranthale sky
turned grey in thundering scream
Mammoth massacre of saffron robed monks,
the earth-splitting sin
Streets studded with mounting bullets
and heaps of dagger ridden and
bullet embedded bodies
stinking with the stench of the rotting bodies
that hung in the air
Swollen, pale bodies swathed
in blood soused clothing
and prostrated on grubby pavements
Detached heads with bloody tongues
leaping out of the mouth
The parched bodies’ ashes
mixed with air reeking through the island
In concentration camps, mantraps and
human abattoirs in dense forests
death yell crisscrossing far and wide
Carious human skeletons like bogies
and plain blood blotches in them
waft horribly the calamitous terror committed

Man hunting atrocities of Tigers,
Guns, hand bombs, landmines
and multi-barrels
trumpeted the death knell of thousands victimized
Doom tumbled on the innocents
in warfare amidst
the shower of flesh
and the whirlwind of bullets
Freshly budding young ones
snatched away from their parents’ bosom
Merciless urging to rush to arms

Cuddle-some children huddled on
torn out, crumpled mats
in the darkened sheds
With their eyes tightly pressed
by soft tiny hands,
they howled in indefinable fright
scared by the rackety bellow of gunfire

Saturated in utter darkness
with his incorrigible megalomania
to approach an unreachable destination,
fragmentation of the searing island
He with his fellow Tigers
pulled the trigger to
an unendurable death toll of over 70,000
What hearts of stone they have?
Did they achieve anything
except bloodletting and
the record breaking exhibition of
abnormally catastrophic massacres?
Heavily venerated Tigers
enshrined in their heroic pantheons
with Granite tombstones
What did they really attain?
Mere decease and decadence
He is already in his
cortege to the cemetery
The masses are earnestly awaiting
to say him a big good bye
Some request to catch him
and hang him up like a dog
so that they can pitch stones at him
It is no small anguish crushed in their hearts
Yet, the Buddha insists, “Hatred never ceases by hatred.”
Think of the perennial truth
couched in the pristine, untarnished dharma
On the other hand,
would it halt the repetition
of murderous history
bloated with blighting monstrosities?
The punishment to him
will not do,
at all,
But the inculcation of peace in our minds
So let peace sweep through our minds!
So let peace sweep through our minds!

Aranthale Massacre: The carnage of 33 Buddhist monks, a majority of them being young novice monks, by the Tamil Tigers on June 2, 1987 in the vicinity of the village of Aranthalawa in the Ampara District of Eastern Sri Lanka

Tigers: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE, commonly known as the Tamil Tigers), a separatist organization which aimed at creating an independent Tamil state (known as the Tamil Eelam) in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka thus paving the way for the Sri Lankan civil war (1976-2009)

– Indunil Madhusankha


Grandma had mementos of the GREAT WAR

Her youngest brother had left his cozy office job

in quaint old Jaffna town to join the British

Army in Mesopotamia in 1914…

He had returned after four years of desert warfare

Grandma’s photos of her brother’s comrades

Before and after the war

Bright young faces had become haggard,

Wrinkled, old and weary, although still in their


Millions had perished in that war.

He returned to his job in tranquil Jaffna town,

Thankful to be alive…


– Jegatheeswari Nagendran
Colombo 05

Time takes me back

To my life in the Vanni,

That strange and remote land

In the age of ox carts

And oil-wick lamps

A guru in a primitive school

With a dark room to live in,

A rope-strung bed

To lay my head


Woodfires in the outhouse

Stinging my eyes,

A twig broom for sweeping,

Sloshing home water

In a pot at my hip

Too young to endure

Hardships of rural life

Life in the backwoods

Was to live a life


At slow pace

In step with folkways

Revisiting in memory

In hindsight I see

Adversity taught me humility

farmers in vanni, sri lanka

Farmers in Vanni district, Sri Lanka

Kamala Gunasekara


Sri Lanka