Poetry & Prose

Because We Were Not There

Once I dreamt,
of drawing you, only you,
but I woke up,
before I was done.
By then, I had become a matchstick man
in a scribbling of your childhood’s morn.

Everyone in your house
with its front door barred
was looking through windows,
all except you.
Flowers were blooming in your garden,
your ragdoll lying among them,
but you were not to be seen.

Traces you left
along the deep blue river,
where shoals of goldfish swam,
took me to distant green hills,
but not to you.

Blackbirds flying
over a yellow sun
in a blue and white sky
never led me to you.

But a prisoner of your
childhood’s landscape,
among the hills and valleys,
its rivers and dales
I looked for you, never finding.

When one night
I dreamt again
of my picture of you,
as you looked on,
tongues of fire
devoured the canvas
leaving the frame.

When they finally came
and looked through,
all were alive, except you and I.

 

Ajith C. Herath | 2002 January

Translated by Prathap de Silva   |   Illustration courtesy of Dimitry Cozma

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Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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