Standing on the rampart
of the long narrow Galle fort,
a world heritage site,
the granitic wall erected with bastions
of sun, moon, star
and Dutch symbol of rooster.

Watching the mellow sun descended
on the windswept ocean side,
pale yellow orange light
in sync with the distant church bell,
and the row of white buildings
in Portuguese architecture and style,

pushed and run in a dreamlike hush
the ever smiling school children
on a watch tower visit,
stolen the beauty of the harbor
from the setting sun reaching
lazily over the sea shore.

The port city, remembered what triggered
the morning that selling a false narrative
of a train disaster and wreckage
a decade back on Buddhist full moon
and Christmas long holiday,

the Queen of Sea line running along
the coast of Indian Ocean,
hundreds of local people
washed away by the hungry waves
thrown up by the earthquake
struck off far of the coast and
submerged the crowded carriage

The spirit of the resilient people
did stand up for everything,
in a forbidden parable,
not to stay hidden forever,
the young ones could negotiate again
the doosra of Murali magic
in the picturesque stadium
overlooking the fort on the city side

For now though, this sixteenth century
Portuguese town ravaged by Tsunami
yet roaring back to the busy life
washed by the rolling waves day and night,
this exotic locale in the
southwestern tips of Sri Lanka,
invited tourist from all around the globe,

looking for the Entry point for
cinnamon and other spices,
King Solomon’s ivory and peacock
drawing from the
ancient bustling port,
the hill protecting the harbor
and the Ramayana stories, impacted
the traveler’s mindset,

the crowd roaming
on the streets lined by
the colourful boutique shops
selling handicrafts and lace garments
and sprawling cafes inside the fort,
young people sipping coffee near old porch
and those voices were curious music.

somewhere the wispy
white wall, witnessing
the fabric of frozen tears
of hundreds of people
on the stony pavements,
their color, ripple and the gloss–
showed no signs of abetting,

The glowing evening having
a shadow of its own,
escaping to the stars
recalled a cool breeze,
dropped my gaze and
images poured in,

yet, I could not do without
following the tear trails,
found in a rare spectrum,
the mourning stars perhaps
shone a little low, perhaps
pleading the tall waves to subside,

and revolving around in search of the
elusive flame, mapping
the scary path of not so distant past,
and the prayer resounded
in St Mary’s Cathedral–
let the shorter life be a little more
magnificent.

 

Gopal Lahiri

Gopal Lahiri

He was born and grew up in Kolkata. He is a bilingual (Bengali and English) poet and writer. Anthology appearances include National Treasures, Indus Valley, My Dazzling Bards, The Silence Within, Indo-Australian Anthology, The Dance of the Peacock, Illuminations. His works have featured in the journals Indian Literature, Taj Mahal Review, CLRI, Haiku Journal, Arts and Letters, Underground Window, Muse India, Poetry Stop, Debug. He has jointly edited the anthology Scaling Heights.

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