Day 353: Serendipity

My home is a luminous pearl
in the Indian Ocean
I am told.
An iridescent drop
of Buddha’s tears,
haunting and beautiful.

This home I collect,
through historical memory.
People, places, and spices,
teasing the edges of my senses,
like the ebbs and flows of waves
on the beaches of Colombo –
or is it Jaffna –
I can no longer recollect,
as snow sticks to my shoes now,
the sand, long fallen off.

My destiny is to wonder,
the pundits tell me.
The part of my hair,
never falling straight,
a zigzagged road home.
My feet too wide,
and steps to quick
to stay rooted.
A future prescribed
by ancestral physiology.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy


Day 191: Mother Tongue

Tamil.. Taa mihl.. Thamizh…T(h)amil?
my mother’s tongue,
the language by which
she was given to my father. 
A word, I am still trying to understand
And the characters that define it.

Kuṭumpam ….Kudumpam.. Koo dumpam… Ku…
broken words,
echoes of memories lost
fractured pieces of families
trying to come together and create a whole.

Places where I began,
was found, got lost and
was reclaimed.
Spaces where life is lived
in between the margins of

Eṉṉai…Eṉ…NO…Nāṉ..Nā?..ṉ? Nee?
Pieces of me
keep getting lost in you.
Leaving me with times
when I only see myself
in opposition to you.
Where I find me,
in your omissions.

Tamil…Thamizh? English? Tamilish
my forgotten tongue
Created by the middle,
words to capture two hearts,
a history told in one voice,
articulated in different symbols.
Scripts and symbols,
trying to tell me the same

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: Thank you to my beautiful friend Sathya for her work in ensuring that I used the correct Tamil terms. Just an FYI below, for the terms used 🙂

Tamil and disputed words used:

  • Thamizh: There is a debate about the correct phonetical spelling with the th and zh being the main point of debate (Thanks, Sathya)
  • Kuṭumpa: Family
  • Nāadu.: Country
  • Kaṉaṭā: Canada (Tamil Pronunciation)
  • Eelam: “Eelam is a proposed independent state that Tamils in Sri Lanka” 
  • Eṉṉai: Me
  • Eṉ: My
  • Nāṉ : I
  • Nee: You
  • Tamilish: Tamil typed in English

Day 184: Canada

With open heart you welcomed us,
travellers looking for a home
a place to call our own,
to replant roots,
torn up by war, corruption and fear.

We stood  ravaged at  the borders,
unsure of our place in this new land.
Crossing over with our histories?
Or adopting a new past?

Who we were became a part
of who we are.
All stories within the
larger narrative of 
this land.

Pieces of us,
embedded in the landscape,
Riotous colours in

(c) Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: Happy Canada Day everyone 🇨🇦

Day 36: Me… To Date

I left my native land as a child,
The civil war drove us out
And kept us out,
My father longed for home,
While I found a home,
In my adopted country.

To this day,
My father never understood,
“How can you call a place like this home?”
He would say,
“The racism, the crime!”
But home is where the heart is,
And my heart is here.

We might as well have been living
On two different planets.
While he saw the crime and corruption,
I saw the peace and freedom.
We never could find a middle ground.
I was too ultra-modern
And he was too old country.

Now he speaks of going back,
And I look to the future.
Today is all we have,
And this is gone all too soon.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: A post of an older poem, one I wrote when I was in high school. The words have as much meaning to me now as they did then.