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For Sunila: Sundari by Cheran


(For Sunila Sundari Janet Abeysekera)
Twenty-six years have passed.

Our first meeting,
North of Colombo,
a house on the beach.

Beyond the fence,
flowers and creepers;
fearful and shy
lovers trembling in passionate embrace.
Waves breaking incessantly.

For both of us
the agony and haste
of flight to safety.

The spark of righteous anger
a straight line on the sea,
unswerving we stayed the course,
reaching the Hague
where dawn and dusk
merged as one.

“Goluhathavaththin thunveniyamatta”  –
your  music my lullaby.

When  Subha was born,
I heard her cry
I saw your tears.

Scattered like floating lotus
defying land and time,
our wings gained strength.

Your life the essence of kindness.

Divided by land and sea and space,
our dreams
a constant bridge.

“Son, where are you?
I don’t hear your voice,
send me your picture.”
The messages you sent.
The telephone bursting with

A short life,
what did we learn?

We are puddles
created by chance;
not crystals of love;
poetry, music and freedom
remain always entwined;
we can tread on fire, or
defy the wind;
we cannot lose our lives.

This year in the Hague
when we met,
my farewell was final.
From you
a smile and a tear.

September 11, 2013.

Translated from Tamil by Chelva Kanaganayakam

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