The Winds of Prayer: A Tribute to Toronto’s Tamil Demonstrators

A good and kindly people
They fed me spicy rice and sweet coffee
And held my hand when I cried for them
Deep warm eyes, dazzling smiles
Shy grins, heads bobbing gently
Brown hands clinging to
Signs proclaiming their dreadful story
Worn old fingers warming over
A feeble flame, a tiny light
Amongst many tiny lights
Praying, crying, sighing
Waiting, waiting
Begging to be heard, clinging to hope
Please, please, please
Have you heard what is happening in my country?
Flyers and signs and sad little alters
Letters to the world, to the powerful ones
Have you heard?
Children leading crowds
Children knowing exactly why they stand
In the sun and the rain and the wind
Into the night
Pausing now and then to play amongst themselves
Parents thanking God as they watch them run and
As they listen to their laughter
But ask why the other children
The children in the pictures
The ones that are no longer children
The same parents ask the same God – why?
They pray for their own parents
For the young men and women, their kin
For elders and babies, and those yet to be born
For the innocents and the battle worn
For peace and home
For simple precious safety and food and medicine
For blue skies and quiet and good honest work
Rich dark hair flowing like ebony waves
Down the wide avenue that streams
Between the people and
The silent flag adorned wall
The silent wall on the other side of the avenue
Thick coats and woolen caps
Standing under winter skies and rain
Umbrellas defending the defenders
Then hot sun and long silky skirts
Students abandoning books to bear witness to history
The flutter of silver winged birds, cooing, cooing
And lush greenery and bright flowers
Hot sun baking the elders day after day
Waiting, waiting, waiting
I’ve brought you cold strawberries
Have you heard anything? Is there news?
The prince drove by and waved.
Did he know he was waving to saints?
Do the speeding cars, racing down the avenue know?
Night falls and candles are lit
And lit again and again
As the winds steal the flames again and again
I wonder where those determined winds
Carry those little flames
Those tiny flickering flames they take from the people
Night after night after night
Those flames, those prayers, those hopes
Of these good and kindly people
Perhaps the winds carry their little flames
All the way to God
Perhaps the winds carry them all the way to those
Who wait so far away
So that those who wait so far away will know that
They are not forgotten.

A Tribute to Toronto’s Tamil Demonstrators   2009 – 2010   

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