Soldiering On


After 26 years of seeing blood
Spewing out from arteries
They now protest for a few thousand
Rupees folding in their palms
To spit out the scarlet paint of Areca nuts
Made basic with lime

And a sedentary armchair next to a wheel
Chair has a little artefact on which
Betel leaves are kept. Leaves which will never
See a hero’s feet that lay amputated
In the harshest of realities

The story of the betel leaf
Resonates just like the story of the soldier
A leaf of respect and honor chewed
By a soldier who travels in a wheel chair
To protest for a miserly pension that can
Buy some betel leaves and areca nuts

They live through the sable nightmares
And the forgone grunt of a mine
To inhabit a world where they can smile
With lesions in their mouth
Inside a lonely ward in a little town
Called Maharagama

The betel leaf was supposed to embellish
Two feet and held inside open palms
In honored traditions

And not be spewed out as blood.


Published by

meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist, who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. Dilantha wrote his first poem at the ripe age of 32 and now has more than 1700 poems on his blog. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, Kitaab, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry and Ravens Perch, among others. He was also awarded the prize for "The emerging writer of the year - 2016" in the Godage National Literary Awards, Sri Lanka for his first collection of poems (Kite Dreams – A Sarasavi Publication), while being shortlisted for the poetry prize. Dilantha is a dual citizen of Sri Lanka and Australia, and shares his experiences from two different cultures. He blogs at - https://meandererworld.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s