In this place there are
No trees no
old house
With the rope swing
Between the karatha kolombang
Here there is only
White heat white-brown sand
Four tin walls
And a tin roof.
It is better than
the camp
At least we don’t have to queue up
For the lavatory.

But for me
The war is not over
Even though they are celebrating
Victory Day in this
strange deserted place.

The war will end
only when

I can go back
To that childhood home,
when our daughter starts
to speak again.
And you come home
to me.

Poem by Vivimarie VanderPoorten. All photos by Sharni Jayawardena.



This article is part of a  larger collection of articles and content commemorating five years after the end of war in Sri Lanka. An introduction to this special edition by the Editor of Groundviews can be read here. This, and all other articles in the special edition, is published under a Creative Commons license that allows for republication with attribution.

  • Theo

    There is a simplicity in the photographs that the poem reflects. Evocative.

  • Sampath Kulatunga

    “When our daughter starts to speak again…” I cannot imagine the extent of the psychological impact of the war. A poem and photos to reflect on.

  • puniselva

    What a beautiful poem baring your beautiful heart.

    • Sharni

      The poem is Vivimarie’s. I am so grateful that she wrote it to accompany my photographs.

  • N.M. Lahir

    Yes, it is important to realise that recovery is more to do with the mind than material things. I would like to know how much work has been done to help people gain their mental and emotional health after decades of conflict, fighting and insecurity. And would it ever be possible without people gaining a real sense of security?

  • K L Sangam

    Eloquent poem and poignant photos. In a way, I suppose, the poem does not need the photographs – and the photos don’t need the poem. They would stand tellingly on their own. But thank you for this.