May 05, 2009

iii) pricey choice

Shopping for gems
amidst batiks and bailas,
seeking out stones
to take home for a setting.
Looking through glass panels,
spotting the difference
between one set that sits
next to others.

Books are my jewels
to choose, pack and carry,
all tell a story
I want to take home.
Fine cut and crafted
in mettles of gold,
I store these as dowries
to tell of my sojourn.

and I read in the news
that voting is crucial
in Jaffna elections
delayed by gunbattles
and wars of deflection.

"The people are used to violence.
So the voters should turn up."
          There will be some disinterested
          because they just want peace."

"The government wants elections.
To show the world it's serious."
          "We aren't going to vote today.
          What if they attack us?"

Jaffna local council
want to be elected
but residents are wounded
when they cast their vote.

Threats have all been posted
- stay away, stay home -
election pamphlets all withheld
in case attacks get worse.

How to tell the difference
between the noble cause
and the violent enemy
filled with vile remorse?

(c) Charlene Rajendran 1999

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