Sunday 15 July 2012

Poetry 2012 Featured Writer, Sudhanshu Bhandary

River Sutra

As black clouds swoop upon the grey waters of the river Ganges;
Pouring libations upon the body of the river Divine;
I tip-toe my way to its sprawling floodplains wide;
For one last sojourn along the ribbons of sand I loved so much.
The miles of sparkling sand--white as pearls;
Effusing radiance under a moonlit night;
The ribbed contours of the midstream isles as if the contours of river-horses wallowing by;
The endless yellow of the ripe mustard fields broken in between by shades of green;
with a blue-ribbon ox-bow lake as  a background sight.
The endless butterflies fluttering their wings as they dart across the blooming yellows;
The fading footprints of river buffaloes just gone by;
The half-buried bones of what might have been a kine, canine, equine or a fellow sapien;
The endless stretch of tiny shells and rotting garlands floating by.
Here and there a few fishermen’s boats with their spread-out nets
                               strung between poles like a harp’s chords;
With an endless wait for a dwindling haul to feed an increasing set of hungry mouths;
Their habituated patience and contemplative silence reminded me of a Yogi in meditation wrought;
Standing in knee-deep waters like the storks and cranes who gave them companionship nearby;
An undesired sharing of destiny of-- living off the river and dying by its shores;
The only difference that their winged friends being better anglers
                                and devoid of a feeling heart and a thinking mind.
The setting sun throws a pillar of orange fire on a shimmering surface;
A flock of cackling geese storm past by;
A throng of mourning relatives return after the last journey with their loved one;
A posse of vultures swoop upon the half-burn body left lying by.
The river flows majestically just as it has been doing for a million years;
Another day comes closing by, another night follows suit;
Civilisations rise and fall but this shimmering blue stays its course;
Unchanging, Timeless--its concourse always towards the Ocean Deep.
It Nourishes and Destroys—expansive, magnanimous, yet unstoppable when in anger, like Shiva’s Cosmic dance;
Our own existence inter-twined with its cycle;
Heraclitus had one remarked, “One cannot step into the same stream twice”;
Truly Time once gone never returns;
What remain are the mere bits of memory like the infinite grains of sand left along the river’s shore haphazardly piled.
We pick the disjointed strands to recreate Time Past in Time Present;
Yet the muddied Past gets washed away by the Tides of Time.
I slowly retrace my steps homeward bound;
The River of Life also flows by unstoppable, ever-changing;
Both great equalizers; what they erode from one shore they deposit on another shore.
Life too is a zero-sum game; we win some, lose some;
Like a river we all return to the elements from which we came;
The End is Nothingness, Void, Sunyata;
In my Beginning is my End.

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