Skip to content
Give readers a window on the world. Click to donate.
from the October 2021 issue

The Land of Our Lives

This poem praises the people, the land, and the culture of the Sri Lanka Portuguese Burgher community.

Listen to Magin Mario Balthazaar read "Tééra nósa viida" in the original Sri Lanka Portuguese.

The fish sing over here, 
The fish sing.
If you go to the seashore
You will hear them.

The shrimp fishermen
Are catching crabs.
Let’s buy some fish
And live the good life.

What’s the name of our land? 
It is Batticaloa.
How beautiful is it?
So beautiful 
Is our land, Batticaloa!

Where all the káfriinha1 and baila2
First came to be,
We also dance the lancers.
We play the rabana3 until its skin bursts,
The violin and guitar until their strings break.


1. A typical dance and musical tradition of the Sri Lanka Portuguese Burgher community.

2. A popular Sri Lankan musical style historically connected with the traditions of the Portuguese Burgher community.

3. A traditional Sri Lankan drum played with the hand.


"Tééra nósa viida" © Magin Mario Balthazaar. Translation © 2021 by Hugo C. Cardoso. All rights reserved.


Read more from the October 2021 issue
Like what you read? Help WWB bring you the best new writing from around the world.