My Land is Beautiful

They say
“I’ve been there,
It’s beautiful.”

So what do you see when you visit
my beautiful birth land?
Blessed with sandy, tropical beaches
lined with picturesque swaying palms.
Inland mountains soaring skyward, giant Buddhas
painstakingly carved into their sides.

Yes my land is beautiful.
This Earth is beautiful.

I recall inquisitive monkeys leaping through trees.
Spotting an Elephant on the back of a truck,
in the midst of city traffic.
Brilliant Peacocks racing alongside
the clacking train heading North.
And a strangely regal Kabaragoya
strolling through a dawn lit garden.
Exotic. Lasanai.

But there are too many shadows for me
to recall simple beauty.
Beggars and garbage lining streets.
City baking in its concrete skin
and choking on the exhaust fumes.
Scratch the tourists veil a bit more
and see the blood soaked soil,
the Massacres and White Van Disappearances.
Understand that here reporting the truth
may earn an early grave.

Yet still people smile easily, these friendly locals.
Their lives go on, as yours and mine.
There are Poyas and Pujas to be observed,
marriages to be arranged,
and underneath it all
striving for a better life.
Maybe next time around at least.

Yes my land is beautiful.
This Earth is beautiful.

Every hill and valley,
meandering river and raging sea.
From windswept plains to deep dark ocean trenches.
All is beautiful.
But always beauty tinged with shadows-
the yin and yang of life.

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