Gutted houses
Gutted lives
Charred wood
Charred flesh
Shattered brick
Shattered glass
Hammer blows of fists
Iron rods
Breaking walls
Breaking doors
Clubs, poles
Pulped flesh smoke choked breath
Slashed limbs, stab wounds, human
Torches blazing in the streets
Eyes wild frenzied of the mob brutal
Cries blood curdling screams human
Bloodhounds scenting alien blood
Marauding gangs stalking the innocent

Blood wells up, flows disgorged
From gashed fountains and springs
In charred gardens
Wine dark blood streams
In sunlit air crimson buds
Newly open swiftly crumple
Pervasive odour of scorched
Flesh charred and blackened
Stumps like broken statuary
Strewn on burnt out lawns

Flames soar licking hot with pulsing tongue
Each edifice consumed by fires of hate
Lust for death makes rapid panthers
Springing from dark lairs

Flanks freshly steaming with the heat
Of hunt the unarmed defeated
Skulk in jungles fleeing from
The orgiastic love for death
Hiding among the 'mana' grasses, thorn
Thickets tea bushes or seeking
Cover in homes that grant temporary
Asylum to those who crossed
A borderline to this brief safety
We are prisoners of fear
Crouching in dark locked rooms
Drawing each breath in blood
Heart leaping at each
Closer murderous cry,

Some fall at doorsteps as they flee
Stabbed to the heart, axed down
And poled frail birds whose wings
Foiled in their flight were crushed,
Melted like wax in mounting fires.

Yet whom they destroy?
Those who to each other are unknown
Who know not nor will ever know
Each others histories or personal
Loves and hates, no longer to equate
A child's toy with a human life
As cradles burn
As beds of lovers go up in flames
The only ecstasy is death
Bathed in the blood of murderer
Even the guilty now absolved
Of every sin, become saints.
Whom do we destroy?
Wrenching apart like broken fingers
Fractured bones unclasped from palm,
They go back to their lairs and dens
Piled with loot clothe themselves in
Other skins.

They have destroyed themselves
Yet do not know it
Waiting for the next call
To stream into the streets with burning
Brands and bombs and clubs and poles
They make their gleeful beds on carnage.

In each man who is alien
To their tongue and speech
They see both enemy and prey.

Within the flames of burning cities
Writhe and twist their purgatorial souls
Within the fire great monsters rise
Hulks of dark brutal giants bruited
Against the fearful midget-kind diminished
By fear, who make no stand, no gesture of defence.

What chance, what hope
When all is wrecked.
A dead body floats
In the calm waters of the lake,
Beaten and mutilated,
Beggars still hold out their empty palms
To all who pass, they alone in poverty can see
No difference.

Perished on pyres with rituals of hate
Or immolated within the walls of burning rooms
A few survivors hold in their hands
Corpses of husbands, wives and children
Pieces of charred and broken brick.
Here there is no longer any home
For those of alien breed.

Jean Arasanayagam | 'Apocalypse 83'
Image: "The Silent Evolution" | Underwater sculpture - Jason deCaires Taylor (2010)

© ICES 2003

Jean Arasanayagam (born, Jean Solomons) is a poet and writer of Dutch-Burgher descent, who lives in Sri Lanka. She is also a painter and designer who has exhibited her work.


Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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