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A poet's fearless death

Puthuvai Ratnathurai is an Eelam Tamil Revoluntary Poet. He was in charge of the Tamil Eelam Arts and Cultural Guild. 

Mr Rathnathuai was last seen in the custody of the Sri Lankan military on 18 May 2009 in Mullivaikkal and to date his fate is not known. 

He has written hundreds of poems. Here we publish just one such poem, originally written in Tamil and translated into English by the late Chelva Kanaganayakam.


If I am not stricken by disease
or felled by enemies,
if I do not perish by these,
I will thrive even in old age;
my poems
will give me the strength of youth.
To walk apace
to wring my arms
bend to pick up a grain of earth;
If I have the strength
I will ascend and fly,
with the courage to face death;
I will love life
as roots with flowers
and flowers with roots, I will live.
With my poems
I will be born again,
alongside those
fighting injustice
I will blossom;
I will not grow old
not be infirm;
my poems will prevent my death.
When the final lines of
my life are written,
do not come close to me;
in the light of a small lamp
a face is all that is needed.
When I was born,
when I was poor
I was alone;
When I give myself to death
I want to be alone;
The sound of Death
ringing in my ears won’t agitate me,
I will welcome death;
a mat to lie down
a little water to quench my thirst,
my song in my ears
that is enough,
I will depart.
My body frozen,
when I am a corpse,
do not despair;
when my body lies at home;
sing my songs,
read my poems aloud,
be at peace;
I came
and left;
no, I did my best
and returned;
for me
that will suffice.

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