“Return” – a Poem
Some five decades ago, as co-editor of the S. Thomas’ College magazine, I wrote this poem. It was published in the magazine then under the pen-name Junius (meaning “Youthful One”) – and I felt it appropriate (now that I am a Senex!) to publish again in the Thomiana to coincide with the 170th anniversary of my old school in Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka.
I glimpse afar the chapel tower –
my heartbeat quickens, I hurry on.
Reaching at last the trellised gate
I gaze upon the cherished scene
I’d longed to see.
Thro’ all these years of wandering
it lived with me in Memory’s store –
the College that I love so well.
I walk on down the curving road –
echoing steps of bygone days.
I cross the Quad and Fives courts – then
pass Winchester to Big Club grounds
whereon we played in days of yore.
Upon the field are cricketers –
I watch their game and see in them
the ghosts of those who played with me.
Where are they now?
These playing boys they know me not –
e’en who I was;
I led the team some years ago.
For heroes are but short lived men
well known to all till the season ends
And then the idol fades away
forgotten as the years pass by.
The sun goes down – and setting bids me
leave this scene. I move away,
pass belfry and the classrooms where
in Mid School days we used to be –
ne’er dreaming that the old school bell
would toll one day for us to leave
the College that we’d loved so well.
Esto Perpetua! Yet life goes on.
In the very dorm that we called Home
Are Thomians of a new generation.
Silent, I leave –
with a backward glance as the twilight
I yearn again for Youth to be
When life was loved and lived, carefree.
For Time has passed as the years flowed
And Time has passed me by
Sanjiva Wijesinha (STCML 1956-1967) is an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Monash