(In memory of Tamil journalist S.Sugirtharajan, gunned down in Trincomalee on 24th January, 2006).

Rajans’ little boy
Every evening
Grasping the sky with his naked eyes
Calling the moon
Waving his tiny hands

"Nilaa Nilaa oodi waa
Neelaamal oodiwaa
Malei meedu aeri waa
malli heipu konduwaa"*

The moon emerges
In the skies of Trincomalee
Beyond the steeple of the kovil koneshwaran

One cold day in January
The forgotten moon
Was left alone in the sky
In the breaking dawn
While the sun opened up his sleepy eyes
White jasmines shed tears
Through their petals and sighed
Without knowing where to go
The moon found shelter at china bay

Gathering dew drops one by one
At a junction in Trincomalee
A jasmine; tainted with blood
Sprinkled its fragrance

Forgotten their tune; the songbirds were mute
The sun came up that morning
The little boy looked up;
Saw the helpless eyes of the moon

Finger tips invisible; in the soft morning light
Reached through, caressing him
Flowing like a gentle breeze

Since that January
When the sun fades away towards the dusk
A tiny pair of eyes; brimming with hope
Turns upwards to touch the sky
Beckoning the moon
With little hands waving

"Nilaa Nilaa oodi waa
Neelaamal oodiwaa
Malei meedu aeri waa
malli heipu konduwaa"


Manjula Wediwardena

Translated from Sinhala by Manel K R Fernando / * a popular Tamil nursery rhyme



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  • JDS is the Sri Lankan partner organization of international media rights group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The launching of this website was made possible by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), of which Reporters Without Borders is a beneficiary.