The Walk Through No Man’s Land

Refugees

The faces eager for survival.
The long walk through the cracked earth,
And little tunnels of Ataturk’s land.
The dawns of regathering your mettle,
The eves of laying down your arms,
The days that bridge dawn and dusk,
Courage and desperation.

And you just have to look at a little child
To see, how amber like, their eyes are,
Preserving the fossils of a long walk
While the soft-proteins, on their soles
And palms, turn to hedgehog skin,
And you can only guess the horror
That two innocent eyes can witness.

And here, you find entrapped
Inside a palpitation chamber, the locked
Ammunition of hate, that like
A tall pine tree, opening up and detonating
Thousands of tiny yellow pollen, shoots with no aim.
You hope to god, that invisibility boiling below
The poker face, will never hold an AK47
Or a grenade, or wear a detonating vest.

Hate, the kind that manifests in rage,
Is a sleeping giant, who when awakened,
Is no match for the innocent Lilliputians,
Little children who are caught
In the crossfire, of that never-ending war,
Divided by the count or absence, of a small piece of open skin,
That shoots little bullets, bridging life with life,
And yet lives mightier than a ballot slip
Through an open heart, the vote that counts,
In the most primal democracy of them all – love,
Which cares little, about a snippet
Of redundant skin.

Merry Christmas

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Wishing you and your loved ones the cheer of Christmas, from spirit to spirits, the joys of having your family and friends as a gathering, celebrating the year gone-by, with an eye for the coming year, while remembering that Joseph and Mary were refugees on the run and that throughout the world, there are many faces to the displaced, who will be spending their Christmas in temporary shelters. So do offer a prayer while you dig into the festive feed and the yule-grog, and make room in your hearts for what the future has to offer. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.

– Dilantha –

Anecdotes

This poem of mine is found in the book – https://www.amazon.com/Land-Seas-Poetry-Refugees-ebook/dp/B01H3N1J10?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0

Poets worldwide

They wander map-less
A group of Syrian Christians
Marching, plodding, waddling
Past frontiers laid by two tired pupils
A life that was deracinated and given heel power
As they walk until the talus
Bone aches and the knee joints
Start to quake in subtle tremors
When they stop for the night
Somewhere in Galliforme country
Bridging two continents.

They are only mules of their life-belongings
Firmly wrapped and placed
In the profound depths of a locked fibrous vault
And unlocked day-after-day
Around a camp fire
Over some watered lentils they call soup
And in this dire horizon
What else but anecdotes of a lost home
Replenish an open heart with die-hard hope
And hope, just like gold
When buried deep inside
A formidable chest
Is a rare treasure.

 

Syrian Refugees

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A refugee has no country, town
Street or house, a migrant
Searching beyond the canopy of a tent
To be an inhabitant of one terra firma
Where partitions and pickets
Are enclosures, walls are brick,
Doors have locks and keyholes
And curtains have kinetic sliding power

A place for a night vigil
Where minds can tranquilize
Hearts can slow down and feet can rest
As wounds heel and scars become scabs
When he loses his refugee status
And becomes native but not citizen
No longer absent or forgotten
As a square photo on a small booklet
Claims he belongs to one place in a map
Bearing soon a social contract
When he is no longer a nomad of borders
Or a mule of belongings
Just a man who now can sink his roots
To one small plot of earth

When everything bone and neuron
Will sink – like roots – through
Clay, sand, gravel and dust
Except for one chamber that has no root primordia
Which will forever rest estranged
For no landslide can enclose
The nostalgic heart, nor change her course
From the Levant to the west
– For the road away from Damascus
Does not metamorphose a mortal heart –
After all, first love will forever rest precious
And residue of the first cut
Will always be, the deepest.

Calais

My First Poem on an International Poetry Journal can be found here.

Poem Page – http://www.eastlit.com/eastlit-march-2016/eastlit-content-march-2016/southlit-supplement-march-2016/calais/

Journal Address – http://www.eastlit.com/eastlit-march-2016/

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Calais by Dilantha Gunawardana

The still eager faces
Amidst flickering lantern-irises sapped of hope
After all in this ‘Jungle’ near the North Sea
Where there are no cakes or bread loaves
Just memories of Marie Antoinette
Unlike a faraway land called home
Laden with golden grains of durum wheat
As prowling eyes search for a glimpse of Moses
Or a staff – which keeps slithering far in to the horizon
To divide a few thousand acres of brine
– After all the promise land is found
Only once one crosses the bloody sea –

Here muscles and tendons – that could hold a smile
Collapse to the sullen and eyeballs
Shift inwards to entertain the frowning brows
There’s a small Eritrean girl called ‘Hope’
Around whom – like a bonfire – people gather
Searching for a flame
Or even an ember of faded hope

The echoes linger on
Like the voices of grandparents and elders
Who were left behind – too fragile and too cumbersome
For an intercontinental journey
And the laughter that was shared
Around a meal of hummus and pita
Yet stealthy voices labor on in shenanigans
– After all every refugee is a holder
Of a de facto Schengen visa –
To search for a lorry or container truck
To drift towards Dover

This was once the route of Julius Caesar
On his biremes, and here in Calais
Every refugee holds Julius’s fate
– To be erased from history in one stab of kismet
Or to look far beyond the beautiful coastline
From a lonely beach in Dover
And whisper the words ‘Veni Vidi Vici’ – I came, I saw, I conquered –
After all, there are no magical bridges over troubled waters
Just acres of graveyards beneath
Where no tombstones will ever be found
Only hosannas of eulogies
Sung by the north wind.

Forgotten People

Forgotten corners of mankind

Like a gypsy gathering in Europe

Or a refugee camp in Africa

Like all inhabitants of this turquoise globe

Living on the arms of a clock

And the arrow of a compass we call fate

Lingering unannounced

In the craftsmanship of survival 

Where beyond luscious meadows of civilization 

Lies crowded streets with no names

And cloned names with no deeds

Living in a twilight between the crows and the ghosts

In wastelands of human suffering

Searching for the faint glow of tomorrow

While standing in the looming shadow of yesterday

Refugees

One horizon, and the next, to the next

A journey carried forth by two feet

Sometimes by feet and palms in union

Walking past uncountable horizons

Harboring dreams of floating to fate

Amidst nightmares of running from fate

Where one tear can arrest a heartbeat

And one word can surrender a generation

Bohemians without frontiers

Walking on bare feet lifting bare dreams

Searching for a rare miracle

To inhale one more breath

To gaze at one more horizon

To awake to one more dawn

To be one with the soul………..

And not be one with the land