…..

it has taken a long time for you to reach here
I have been waiting
does eternity frighten you
does the sound of hammers on the rocks frighten you

O my child I have been waiting for you
I have wept for you
I have drunk the poison
I have slept in the crematoriums
I have walked through the streets carrying my severed head
and still you would not come

O my child do you think I am mad
is that why you are afraid
O my child listen to the silence
watch it endure everything
my madness is pure
I will destroy you because I love you

it has taken a long time for you to reach here
was your journey hard
did you turn away from the smouldering flesh
did you close your ears to the vultures cry
O my child come
learn to rejoice in your agony
learn to make death beautiful
watch the smoke trail across an empty sky

…..

on the opposite shore
natives carry white sand to the boat
throughout the day
natives carry white sand to the boat
until the boat is full

on this shore
natives carry white sand from the boat to the town
throughout the day
natives carry white sand from the boat to the town
until the boat is empty

…..

rama rama sati hai
rama rama sati hai
the stretcher-bearers carry the corpse
their chant is not foreboding merely an announcement
informing Yama another has died
another is ready to be weighed and measured against time

ring a-ring a-roses
rama rama sati hai
pocketful of poses
rama rama sati hai
atishoo atishoo all fall down

the stiff corpse draped in red is dipped in the Ganga
the red dye stains the river
the pyre is prepared
last rites are chanted
in the garbage a water-buffalo chews flowers

Kali Kali
your vast Being is insatiable
the skulls on your Necklace are without number
the body beneath your feet is mine

…….

caw caw caw caw
this is the cry of the crows
caw caw caw caw
this is the cry of the crows

on a hill above the town
the sky dome is heavy with sacrifice
the earth yields

in a ruined temple in the forest
shadowless
the Buddha stands immense
erect

the statue is headless
the right hand held upright
palm facing outwards
abhayamudra
there is nothing to fear

………