On the Amnesty International website, the Tamil poet Cheran explains he has ‘no naive hope or belief that my poetry can turn the world upside down’; nevertheless, ‘words and imagination are my weapons. I have no other. There are several poems in my collections on disappearances evoking the friends I have lost.’ Even his more atmospheric, less clearly political poems speak of yearning and loss:
when the last train of the evening has gone
and the railway lines shiver and break in the cold,
what it is to wait with a single wing
and a single flower.