"Daddy! Daddy!"

A poem for national poetry day about the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. Some of the content is actual speech from Sonali Deraniyagala, a survivor from this specific tsunami.


1. "Daddy! Daddy!"

Before it starts, a silence sets in.

And time seems to go in slow motion.

Upside down, you turn and you spin

Till you find yourself under the ocean. 


You reach for the sky, for the air and sun,

You don't really know where they're hiding.  

Though you're water, it's no longer fun,

The joy from before is subsiding. 



Open your mouth, let the air in your lungs. 

Repeat this routine. And again.

High pitched screams roll off children's tongues,

As they're rescued by struggling men.  


In the water for twenty minutes,

The time's pass'd but still you're not dry.

You are sinking, reaching your limits,

And now you are floating but why?


Seeing a child screaming "Daddy! Daddy!"

Thinking it's Mali, your son.

It's another child, drowning sadly.

Where are his parents? He has none. 


Seeing that scene, you decide to give in,

Joining other children and mothers.

A final air bubble escapes down your chin,

On that day you died like many others.



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