Day 316: Remember Them

To those who took up arms
and those who fought with words
to keep the peace
and right the wrongs.

Your strength and scarifice
in a world gripped by fear
reminds us to be better
and speak kinder.

So mothers will not
have to give up children
and children would never
have to hold a flag
instead of a parent.

Never forget the poppies
that marked the fallen
those remaining pinned
close to out hearts.

The sounds of tears
as they fall on
broken ruins laying
upon bodies of

The feel of feet
walking tentatively 
on native lands
no longer sure of
the path lost to
hidden bombs.

Rememeber all the
warriors who walk
knowingly into that
world to keep our
world safe and sound.

lest we forget that
there are no winners in war
but places left with
broken hearts
broken bodies
broken lives.

(c) Manivillie Kanagasabapathy


Day 220: War Tales

If this is what, I fought for,
then why do I sit here,
silent and searching?
This is not the reality I envisioned,
the dream I was promised,
when I held you in my lap,
watching the blood flow,
mixing with the saltwater tides.
How could I have known that it was
my life,
my joy,
my pain,
my tomorrows,
that flowed out
that seeped out.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

AN: I can’t quite remember the book I read but I remember the scene where the soldier stood after killing the “enemy” and he felt so lost. He lost the connection, at that point he had with being ‘human’. That scene stayed with me for years. 

Day 131: Perfect

Brown eyes capture my gaze,
And I lean in slightly,
Drawn to the face that house these bottomless orbs.

A small, wide nose flares in exertion,
While full lips gasp for air,
I pull you closer,
Watching the moments pass through these eyes.

Your mother’s care, your father’s worry,
A lover’s gaze, fleeting touches, memories
It is there,
It is written.

Your body poised, for eternity, it seems,
Every muscle, every tendon straining,
Your sleek form coiled,
Ready, waiting, mine!

I shudder and thrust deep,
Watching the blood flow free
Losing myself in the moment,
I move fast and slash up.

A perfect kill, a perfect killer.

Your body twitches in its final moments,
As I watch you at my feet,
Blood flowing freely between us now,
The cuts at my side gaping with each breath.

My dispassionate gaze watches as they continue to fight,
Pushing back lines, giving no quarter.
Knees buckling, I fall in agony,

Distorted voices cry in triumph,
The sounds of victory dim,
As victor and victim become intertwined

And in the field lie the bodies,
Without name, without nation,
Destinies entangled,
Hands outstretched,
Waiting for a peace never known.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

Day 64: Riots

You want to be strong in the face of it all,
But you know you won’t be
Standing tall and proud, head held regally…
Instead, you cower and cry for them to stop

All you see is weakness, as you watch
Your blood and tears mingle in a liquid dance,
As you bury your face in the dry feces of the Earth

They could not even leave you this,
A belief in your strength,
A sense of honour.

The urge to kick and fight ​rages in you
But you know there are too many
So you lie, prone but awake

Praying for divine strength and deliverance,
Hoping to live but wanting to die
With a final kick, they move away

Word of hate, spewing from their mouth,
Remembered words of who you are
Defined by…
A mother’s tongue, a motherland…a mother’s love

“There’s another one” they shout
Their bodies strumming with excitement,
With a final spit, they move on.

Their hearts enraptured by the hunt,
Their hands sweetly grasping their clubs of iron and wood
Caressing softly the rope and kerosene

Through swollen eyes,
You look at the terrified face of a brother
“Run” you want to yell
As your mouth opens…

But all you can do is sign with relief,
And surrender to sweet oblivion
His cries… their cries…The lullaby to your dreams.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

Day 11: Rewriting History

Toes digging into the sandy beach, I feel the jagged edges of broken coral scratch and poke my feet. These feet which have travelled oceans to reach the safety of continents, where the place of your birth determines your status… your place… who you will be.

These feet that the sat on the boat, pressed against the metal hull of the ship, watching the horizon, hoping for land, fearing the sight of land. The ocean mist, like the magical seductions of Intiran, cast visions in the vapour of lands of free people and laughing children.

On the horizon, land – a new hope, a new tale. Forget who you are, who you were. That you walked the daggers edge between horror and love, between moments of joy and disparity and cast yourself into the oceans’ mercy.

Tell me your story… they ask, these men who protect those inside from people like us. People who are armed with stolen fragments of our lives, carried with tender care through jungles, and deserts, protected, as we could not those around us.

Tell me your story… Do I tell you my past, the one where I walked the land that my father sowed the seeds of our dreams? Do I tell you that even in moments of war; they are precious instances of love and celebration?

Do I tell you of how I worked, studied, and became a scholar, a teacher, a father, a son, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a friend? Can I show you all the sides of me and that I am more than that status that you will ascribe.

These words remain stuck, as I repeat the one you want to hear. My story, her story, history… the story of my people that the world has created and the story I must tell to have you hear me… to have the three words that would end my journey.

… Asylum claim… accepted.

© Manivillie Kanagasabapathy

***Author’s Note: This is an earlier poem that I had written and have been tweaking. It was inspired by the refugee boats that arrived in Canada and Australia and my family’s own journey. ***