Sad eyes stare at the world outside,

iron bars lock you in. Four thick walls

mark your space. This is all you

have and nothing more. Proud strong

woman from my homeland you live

imprisoned in a web of lies they

churn out for money from crowds

that come to ogle as you stare

out of your cell with lonely gaze.

Your feet hold scars of neglect yet

the pain in your heart

can never be seen by those that claim

you are well. There’s no one in that space

that can share your grief. You hide it inside

as you have all these years. Can you

still speak oh woman of my land?

Do you understand the words

your ancestors spoke, recall the stories they

whispered to you as a child? Do you yearn

to walk across the lands they owned,

feel the breeze on your skin

once more as it blows warm and free?


Remember your life long ago dear friend,

in that faraway place divided by earth

and sea. You roamed with your

family, played in the woods,

picked up trunkfuls of earth that you

smeared on yourself, bathed in rivers deep

and narrow as the fish swam below between

your feet. Remember the days, you walked

with the herd across vast tracts,

brown and green and azure up above.

They promised you happiness

the day you were sent as a gift yet all

you got was this prison lonely

and sad. Solitary confinement yet you

committed no crime. How long will this last?

Every day you die

a little and every day the lies grow strong.


© 2012 Shirani Rajapakse

7 thoughts on “Mali

  1. Deazelle

    Beautifully and eloquently said, Shirani. I think you can read in Mali’s heart… I shared this in a public post on my Facebook page.


  2. Pingback: Animal Liberation | Shirani Rajapakse

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