Paul Hartal

The Girl From Sri Lanka - Poem by Paul Hartal

I have no idea
Whether she is Tamil or Sinhalese.
The girl with her neatly combed hair
And native dress
Is a newcomer from Sri Lanka
Who landed in Montreal
Shortly before the devastating tsunami waves
Of 2004 crashed ashore
On her island country.

She greets me with a friendly "Hello"
And her lovely smile
Fills the store space
With innocent charm and grace.
"Keep on smiling", I tell her
Before I leave
And she acknowledges the encouragement
With an acquiescent expression on her face.

I seldom see the same warm smile here
In adults.
Why is that? I ponder.
I don't think the cold winters of Canada
Should be blamed for this.
After all babies here often smile happily.

So could it be that we lost our smiles
On the long crushing and grinding lane
Of stress and alienation?
Could it be that we smile less
Than we should
Because we expect too much from life?

Poet's Notes about The Poem

First published in Postmodern Light: A Collection of Poetry by Paul Hartal, Montreal and San Diego: Orange Monad Editions,2006; page 36

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 20, 2012

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