Poetry Experiment No. 2

Explanatory Note:
In 993 CE the Thamizh King Raja Raja Chola invaded and conquered the northern part of Srilanka and established a capital at the Srilankan city of Polonnaruwa. His army was composed of 14 battalions of Sengunthars from the the Terinda Kaikolar Padai.This poem is a freeze frame of the events.

I. Spy.

Soft rustle of leaves in the shadowy dark.
Crickets chirping again and then a short bark
of a lonely old dog left out in the dawn
as the village sleeps on the shores of Ceylon

Through the night, on the seas, the glorious screech
of sail dragging keel on the wind off the beach
in the south of the land where the Chola was born.
The king who has sworn reign over Ceylon

The clink of a spear. The tread of bare feet.
Shimmering black bodies marching to a beat
Unheard, unseen now here and now gone
as the Sengunthar army sets foot on Ceylon

In response to a whisper of muted command
a horde of young fighters are called now to hand.
A long wailing call from the large copper horn
and the Kaikola warriors run into Ceylon

As the torches blaze on and the women run screaming
Polonnaruwa, that city once gleaming
burns first to ash then the ash too is torn
As day turns to night in the rout of Ceylon

It is I who has crafted this battle they fought.
What have I done? What have I wrought?
For ever and a day and from this day on
I shall always be called the spy of Ceylon


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