Have a penchant for writing heartfelt poems?
Send in your
heart songs to
or snail mail The Nation-Soul,
742, Maradana Road, Colombo 10.
Please write ‘Heart songs’ on
the envelope or as the subject line of your email.
The story of a tree
Cold drops of water touched the dried, hardened earth
While a tiny seed that was almost in dust
And slowly she prepared for life
A pinch of the soft sunlight,
The touch of the soft summer breeze
From her deep slumber.
In the care and shelter
She blossomed and grew,
Budding and thriving,
She foretold of a future bright, which was yet untold…
Many were the visitors that stopped by
To enjoy her newly borne fruit and shelter,
Fresh and new, she bore no burden
In the mirth of life, she thought of today, and no tomorrow.
Days flew by and she was young no more,
The delights of life did not seem inviting any more,
The visitors failed to remember her
They did not remember at all…
Until one day she was found
Silent and still, after death had swiftly embraced her.
When death visited her abode,
When she was still in her young age,
She had to go
Despite her busy schedules
For today, tomorrow and then onwards
When endless yesterdays
Have stacked up into years,
Filled with never ending memories
Of happiness, victory and satisfaction,
Of regret, remorse and fatigue,
Of glory, hope and effort,
The life has come so far,
Struggling at times;
Smoothly at other times…
For now she is gone,
Doors of future are closed for her
Only PAST remains noticeable
Easy to track down, and now
Past is only a memory
Who shed a tear for her
To recall and to reminiscence
Of all her yesterdays…
– University of Colombo)
One for me and one for you
On top of each other
Upstairs for me
Downstairs for you
And a ladder in the middle
A railing around mine,
To stop me form falling
And none around yours,
For there is nowhere to fall
A ladder for me to climb down
And none for you,
For there is nowhere to climb down
My sister and I,
Have a bunk bed
And every night,
Before I go to sleep
I hope with all my heart
That my sister would never get the idea
Of taking away the ladder
Between the two beds
(Nilasi Liyanage – Musaeus College)
Poet of the week
George Bacovia is the pen name of George Vasiliu, a Romanian
symbolist poet and also one of the most important Romanian
interwar poets. Bacovia was born on September 17th 1881 (1881–
Bacovia was born George Andone Vasiliu in Bacău. He was the son
of a merchant, Dimitrie Vasiliu, and his wife Zoe Vasiliu. He
began his study of German at six years of age. Between 1889 and
1890 he started his schooling at an academy in Bacău, before
registering in 1891 at the “Domnească” Primary School in the
same city. In June 1893, he finished his primary schooling and
afterward began studies at the Gimnaziul Ferdinand, also in
One autumn night, an oversight by the sexton led to his being
locked overnight in the tower of the Precista church, an
experience which would later inspire his first major poem,
1899’s Amurg violet (Purple Twilight). He was also a talented
artist and was a great violinist and a gymnast. His poem Şi
toate - written a year earlier under the name of “V. George” was
published in the magazine Literatorul on 30 March, launching his
In 1900, Bacovia matriculated at the Military Academy in Iaşi,
but dropped out during his second semester unable to bear
military discipline. In 1901 he began studies at the Liceul
Ferdinand in Bacău, and graduated in 1903. He wrote the poem
Liceu (High School) in response to a Ministry of Education
questionnaire sent to graduates in the course of Spiru Haret’s
educational reforms. He matriculated at the Faculty of Law in
Bucharest and soon became a fixture in the city’s literary life.
He obtained his law degree in 1911; he qualified for the bar in
Bacău, but despite paying dues for ten years, never practiced
law. Instead, he spent his time working with Caion working as a
copyist at the Prefecture, and helping at the Prefectural
accounting office. In 1913-1914, his health deteriorated and he
was eventually forced to relinquish his post.
Between the wars
In 1914, Bacovia was interned at the sanitorium of Dr.
Mărgăritescu in Bucharest, from where he published poems in the
literary supplement of the newspaper Seara and sent Plumb out
for publication. In 1915, after leaving Bucharest, he became
co-editor of the review Orizonturi noi and continued to publish
poetry, prose, and book reviews under a multitude of pseudonyms.
In 1916, he became a secretary at the Directory of Secondary and
Superior Education in the Ministry of Instruction, and was in
Bucharest when Plumb first appeared in July. In October,
however, the vagaries of war forced him to flee the threatened
Bucharest to Iaşi with the archives of his department.
Bacovia returned to Bucharest in 1917, resuming his post as a
functionary. In 1920, he became a Chief of Office, in the
Ministry of Labour and was continuously promoted many times
where he held several positions in the state. However, he
immediately fell ill with a lung condition and was forced to
resign before returning, a year later, to Bacău. Meanwhile,
Bacovia found work as a teacher of drawing and calligraphy at
the Boys’ Commercial School in Bacău. By 1925, however, he had
become the primary director of the review Ateneu cultural, and
published his book of poetry ‘Scântei galbene’ (Yellow sparks)
at his own expense. In the same year ‘Bucăţi de noapte’ (Night
fragments) appeared in an edition edited by the poet Agatha
In 1928, Bacovia married Agatha Grigorescu, editor of Bucăţi de
noapte, and settled in Bucharest, where his wife was a teacher.
In 1929, he republished Plumb and Scântei galbene in a single
edition, entitled Poezii. He gained a post as an inspector at
the Ministry of Popular Education, but after the publication of
his collection Cu voi (With you), he returned with his wife to
Bacău, where he spent three years unemployed. In 1931, Agatha
gave birth to Bacovia’s only son, Gabriel. The family returned
to Bucharest permanently in 1933, never to move away again. In
1934, Bacovia published an anthology of his poems entitled ‘Poezii’.
He then founded the House of Pensions for Writers, from which he
subsequently drew a 10,000-lei monthly pension. In 1944 his
‘Opere’ (Works) appeared, a collection including all of his
previously published works.
After the war
In 1945, Bacovia was named librarian of the Ministry of Mines
and Oil. He continued to write, and in 1946 published the volume
‘Stanţe burgheze’ (Bourgeois positions), which led to his hiring
by the Ministry of the Arts. In 1956 he published his final
volume of Poezii before dying on the afternoon of May 22nd 1957
in his Bucharest residence.
White trees, black trees
Naked in the solitary park:
A scene of mourning, bleak ...
White trees, black trees.
Again the regrets weep in the park ...
With white feathers, black feathers
Wanders a bird with a stark
Voice through the age-old park...
With white feathers, black feathers.
The phantoms appear in the park...
And white leaves, black leaves;
White trees, black trees;
And white feathers, black feathers,
A scene of mourning, bleak...
A gradual, thin snowfall in the park...