Colombo, End of war special edition, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Poetry, Politics and Governance, Post-War


Colombo, Nov 2: A mentally challenged man, who jumped into the Indian ocean to escape arrest, drowned after being badly beaten up by Sri Lankan police in the water in front of a large crowd, police said. (news item)

wonder was horror-edged
and pity was guilt-edged
flotsam on our conscience
as we watched the boy
thrown into a senseless
sea swirling with violence
and as shocking anger
beat him to death
and forced him to drown
we who had watched worse
and said nothing
gazed in silence
a mobile phone video-recorded
footage of folly
that moment
of hideous history
to bear witness
to a country whose
war was just over
to a people
now at peace.

the waters whirl and
the foam is still froth-white
the sun glistens still
on the golden sand
but the boy we call mad
is retreating into the ocean
still trying to hold off the blows
with batons and sticks
the last vestiges of his
strength devoured
by hatred and waves

and our humanity
strangles itself
on the shore.

End of War Special Edition

  • Tari

    We’ve become so desensitized to war and hurt and pain and death. It’s writing like this that makes me realize how much of our own humanity we’ve lost – without even knowing it. Piercingly beautiful. Achingly sad. Thanks for this, Vivi.

  • Punitham

    Viv, you’re vivid.
    You always delight me with your wordplay.
    Oops, delight – only at the wordplay and not at the material.

  • This is heartbreaking. Vivimarie your words have gained a follower. Thank you for this.

  • dinidu K

    A great balance between creativity and criticism.
    Graphic, trenchant and timely…
    This is the role the present SL artist must play.
    best luck
    (we await more)

  • Sophist

    Sadly, despite reading and being moved, how many of us were moved enough to stop the club waving policemen that day? Reflection is good, so is introspection and realisation. But if we dont’ make all those things galvanise us, then Vivi’s poem is just another twig cut into our river of conscience.