Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Tears of a Kind for the Heroic Twenty-One

by Sachi Sri Kantha

Up over all the barking curs of spite
And give the clasp, when most its need is felt,
Friend, newly found, accept my full hearts’thanks.

In the media outlets and umpteen self-promotion websites and blogs, the prattling pundits and warped Oracles are outpouring their agonies and prejudices with more than the speed it took for the decency-challenged Sri Lankan military folks to strip off the clothes worn by the Heroic Twenty-One, in Anuradhapura. In the dictionaries of these warped Oracles, ranging from the editorial scribblers of Chennai and Colombo to the contemptible political turncoats, one won’t find words like valor, pledge and self-sacrifice. It is understandable though, since these pundits have hardly shown valor in their public lives when their kith and kin have been continuously threatened, humiliated and murdered by the arms of state terrorism; and self-sacrifice would be anathema for their bloated morals.

In the hearts and minds of Tamils and those who sympathize with the Tamil cause, the twenty-one heroic souls who demonstrated their valor and self-sacrifice will live, while the names and deeds of warped Oracles, editorial scribblers and contemptible political turncoats will be dumped into the dustbin of history.

One has no reason to doubt that an elegant poem by the American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) succinctly reflects the feelings millions of Tamils carry for the heroic Twenty-One. These Twenty-One have become our ‘newly found’ friends, as noted by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Here is that poem, of 156 words:

Accept My Full Hearts’ Thanks

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Your words came just when needed. Like a breeze
Blowing and bringing from the wide salt sea
Some cooling spray, to meadow scorched with heat
And choked with dust and clouds of sifted sand
That hateful whirlwinds, envious of its bloom,
Had tossed upon it. But the cool sea breeze
Came laden with the odors of the sea
And damp with spray, that laid the dust and sand
And brought new life and strength to blade and bloom
So words of thine came over miles to me,
Fresh from the mighty sea, a true friend’s heart,
And brought me hope, and strength, and swept away
The dusty webs that human spiders spun
Across my path. Friend – and the word means much –
So few there are who reach like thee, a hand
Up over all the barking curs of spite
And give the clasp, when most its need is felt,
Friend, newly found, accept my full hearts’thanks.

*****