Table of Contents
  Index
  About the Poetess
  My Father's Country
  Azadi: 1989-1995
  The Yellow River
  Father
  Summer Rain
  Anantnag
  Mother's Day USA
  Mahtab
  Bride in Red
  Seasons
  Priya
  Refugee
  My Dream
  The City of Dread
  Kashmir Today
  Sukeshi has a Dream
  Autumn Rain
  The Story of Ganesha
  Washer Woman
  The Ever New Poet
  The Yogi
  The Rishi
  My Death
  Self Spectre
  Autumn Song
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Autumn Rain

Rice grains
are yellow gold,
autumn rain
can do no harm.
It will wash off
dust.
Sun will warm again
the sweet, hardened
kernels.

Saffron flowers
have been
harvested, rain soaks
dumb roots.
Hits hard
at stray seeds,
waking memories,
forgotten pain
of creating, destroying.

I dream
of a house in Anantnag.
It's walls, hallways,
doorknobs,
window sills, latches,
hinges, bricks
are hallowed by time, memory,
war, blood, arson.
I want to buy it, I say
and my mother looks at me
plaintively. 

She is young.
Weaving a basket of bright
gold new hay, soaked
in sprays of cold water.
She sticks dried marigold
stems into tiny holes
and turns to me: Do you
have the money?

Father walks in;
he too is young.
He wipes his shoes
with care:
It is raining, he says,
ruefully. 

II
This is no house, 
no mother, no father, 
but time grown old.
Unmoving like stone,
earth, iron ore.
It was all water once.
An earthquake made
the water recede.
Out came majestic
Himalayan tor ridges,
roaring, laughing
waterfalls
or Kaunsarnag, Aharbal.

They had no names then.
It was summer, hills
were laden with foliage
and fruit, a verdant valley 
had waited
a billion, billion years
for the ardent eye
of the Beloved.
Drowned in her own
salt tears,
she fasted and prayed
for a rose tipped dawn.

In her infancy
the valley prattled.
Her milk teeth
were stolen by deer.
As a young woman
she was courted by many
kings, empires;
her motherhood brought
joys of a different kind.

Sorrow came later.
What she has to see
and hear makes
her pray for a deluge.
The Beloved
is a dead poet
whom no one reads.
His eye has dimmed;
his mind is vacant.
No image rises
in the dark for him,
no sweet throated song
is sung in his honor.

Soon her sorrow
will become a deluge,
raw-red rain water of July.
It will drown the crops,
cover them with thick
red and black mud.
Cows and calves who graze
during summer months
on high pastures
will drown.

Their cries disappearing
behind crashing branches
of oak, pine, and Chinar,
before death waters
cut off all breath
and the reddish brown
throats, white lilies 
on them wilt.

Tree trunks
will uproot and crash,
brush will glut waters
around footbridges.
Sink them in the middle,
as water levels rise,
and people watch
held up in a trance.

Mud houses, roofed
with tree bark
and sticky red soil
growing idle daisies 
and dandelions
will crumble at last.
Children's cries
will be heard in the dark,
as they gather underneath
one gray wool blanket.

Their feet stagger,
teeth chatter,
words of a mantra
grow numb,
and they too are carried
away by this red,
red sea's dance of death.

Neptune's wrath will reign
for many, many years.
When winds die, severed heads
of white horses, floating
like witnesses to a great crime,
a great sin, and vengeance,
will be seen by no human eye.

Brown and white cows,
beautiful eyed deer, forest
fawn, household goods,
sheets of pale white
Kashmir silk,
muddied flowers and foliage
will relate this story
to no one.

It will take years
for the waters to clean up,
to become a mirror
for sensual summer foliage,
proud autumn leaves.
Months 
for glacier heads
to rise in meditative grace
near Panchtarani.
The destroyer god will
be tranquil then.
Mother goddess's heart,
having lost all her
other limbs
will live in Him.
He shall shed
new blue 
tears
for billion, billion years. 

[© Lalita Pandit, August 6, 1997].

 

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