New Verse.News

“Saudi Arabia” was posted today at or read it below.


by Shirani Rajapakse

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In elections that allowed Saudi women to vote and run for office for the first time, more than a dozen women won seats on local councils in different parts of the country, officials said on Sunday. While the move was hailed by some as a new step into the public sphere by women in this religious and conservative monarchy, the local councils have limited powers and the new female members will make up less than 1 percent of the elected council members nationwide. —NY Times, Dec. 13, 2015. Photo credit: Ahmed Yosri/European Pressphoto Agency.

What use a vote
when they are all shrouded

in darkness? An
image at the periphery of the horizon

crying to be acknowledged,
a shadow fluttering past, a sad cloud

shielding its eyes from
a dust storm,

a puppet in the house
dancing to someone’s idea of a

tune. None of these are of much use,
except to entertain

and you don’t
need a vote for that.

Shirani Rajapakse writes poetry and fiction. Winner of the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013, finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013, and shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2010 her work appears in Flash Fiction International (Norton 2015), Silver Birch, Asian Signature, Moving Worlds, Berfrois, Counterpunch, Earthen Lamp Journal, Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry Review, TheNewVerse.News, About Place Journal, Ballads (Dagda 2014), Poems for Freedom (River Books 2013), Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012 and many others.

 Wednesday, September 11, 2013


by Shirani Rajapakse

Remember, you said, that day. People
falling from the sky like stars,
burnt out flares unable to cling on. Fire

in the sky metal crashing above. Remember
how it felt as you looked up at the
heavens, the noise deafened

and the dust from the stars crumbled
into your eyes. Horrorstruck, was this the end?
Remember the smell, flesh, iron roasting

cheap like a giant barbecue in the sky
while all around the grey dust of construction
falling like haze on an early morn.

You screamed but no one
heard amidst the noise of a world gone mad.
You cried in vain for what you

couldn’t hold, then forgot as
the years flashed by and they made plans anew
leaving you out of it. No use to no one

anymore.  Remember how you forgot
it all, buried in your life, the chores, the rush
and swirl of work, the demands

of modernity. Remember how she felt falling,
burning, crying. But do remember
how a madman rose in the sky

one day to steal the future leaving her
with tears and nothing else except a few
burnt out shreds. Remember.

Shirani Rajapakse
is a Sri Lankan poet and author. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013. Her collection of short stories, Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Shirani’s work appears or is forthcoming in Linnet’s Wings, Channels, Spark, Berfrois, Poets Basement, Earthen Lamp Journal, Asian Cha, Dove Tales, Buddhist Poetry Review, About Place Journal, Skylight 47, The Smoking Poet, New Verse News, The Occupy Poetry Project and anthologies Poems for Freedom, Voices Israel Poetry Anthology 2012, Song of Sahel, Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, World Healing World Peace and Every Child Is Entitled to Innocence.


Posted by Editor at 2:00 PM

Go to, scroll down on the left. Click on November 2011 and scroll down to almost the end for my poem. Or read it below.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


by Shirani Rajapakse

The sweat streams
Down her cheeks
And loses itself
In her
Blouse. There’s time
Yet for her to
Leave. The clock ticks
On. Her eyes
Hurt. Her hands
Feel numb. Is this
Life? She
Has no choice.
Its her day.
Darkness all around,
Sweating it out for
A morsel of
Food for her
Family waiting
Patiently for her
Her fingers ache.
The machine
Throbs in her
Head. She lifts
Her hand to wipe
Off the sweat.
Wall Street’s
Occupied, drones
The newsreader.
She looks up but
Doesn’t understand.
Then back to
The machine.

Shirani Rajapakse is a poet, playwright and fiction writer of Sri Lankan origin who spends her time writing stories and weaving verses out of fragments of dreams and left-over sentences. Breaking News, her debut collection of short stories published in April 2011 by Vijitha Yapa Publishers, Sri Lanka, was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award 2010. Shirani has a BA in English Literature from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, and a MA in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. She worked at the Sunday Times and Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka and in international organizations including the World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat.

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