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Mine to Bear


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By Thiru Abeywardena

There’s a crick in my shoulder.

A stiffness; there it is again – 

that niggling pain.

Hard like a boulder

yet heavier still…

what could it be?

Oh. Yes. I see.

It’s only

the weight of the world. 

Mine to bear;

so much wear and tear.

I sit here feeling; so much.

Unable to do anything but

contemplate; deliberate

the calamity and immobility

rendered by this weight; 

please…dissipate.

What choices do I have – 

Give up, let go, get crushed?

Forge on, pretend, stay hushed?

Be grateful, simply to exist?

Let it persist, and not resist?

What must I do, to take a stand –

for the world to somehow, understand?

I hold young lives, in my hands;

who watch, listen, yearn and learn;

lives that may follow in my mould;

opportunity! Cast in gold;

but will this load have to be

passed on to them – a legacy? 

The weight of the world; borne by whom?

(This poem is written to commemorate the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, a global campaign taking place from 25 November to 10 December. It was written by a member of the Kavithé Collective – a platform for socially and politically engaged writing by Sri Lankans across the world. For more information visit www.kavithecollective.com. Submit your own creative writing to admin@kavithecollective.com.)

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