Volume 3 Issue 4, October 2019

Neera Kashyap

*Nanda Devi    

 

Cloud and snow spume

drift about your summit         

veiling your face        

Ma Nanda Devi

fixing my gaze to eternity

Rising like a giant shard of

rock carved over a million years,

snow fields scoured by

avalanches, your steepled

peak a vast cathedral

Impossibly tall and steep

you rise abruptly over a

guardian ring of summits

witness to your inner realms of being,

the outer gorge of Rishi Ganga’s roar

Climbers say in higher climes

light contrasts with darkness, flower

leas with worn ridges, fear with elation

O paradox of the sublime

your name means Joy, enduring Joy

The veil lifts, was it the smoke of

fires lit by sages on your summit?

Your natural symmetry of two identical peaks

suddenly at ease

is visible from my cottage window.

 

 

 

*Nanda Devi is a loosely structured Japanese Tanka string.

 

 

 

 

The River Lost

           

 

I don't need to be a nomad, traveling from country

to country in search of a better life.

My mind does it for me.

There are countries that offer hope and justice:

rewards for hard work - success and the good life;

there, lights shine unendingly, roads unspool bales of black silk.

I feel the throb of newness in my veins.

 

I know of others where I compete with millions,

get nowhere;

success and the good life wantonly elusive,

powered by nepotism and a terrifying need.

Lights shine here too and there are roads,

though not bales of silken black;

the blood in my veins grows sluggish,

poverty strikes at the heart of things -

octopus arms, sucking me under.

 

Where do I belong?

 

Sometimes to the good,

not other times.

There is a constant swing - clinging to the good, balking at the bad

clinging to the good, balking at the bad.....

 

I come to see the promise of the good as illusory

and aversion to the bad a consolidation of my own self-love;

painful, isolating, full of myself.

This swing skews me like a power boat to let go little by little

of countries, both good and bad;

the bad feels less substantial,

so does the good.

 

Sometimes I feel on an island where things feel in balance;

I can witness my self-conceit rousing eddies;

my patience generating flow.

Maybe this is an island in the sea

for when I clamber on and cling to it awhile

the tide with its eddies and calm, eddies and calm….

loses its insistent throb.

 

It must be the depths that makes it still.

 

 

 

Her Poems
 

She wrote her poems for the winds
If you read the winds you can read them
Sometimes the winds also
bring them to you
as a sort of caress
to the eyes, to the blood
to the heart.

About the Poet

Neera Kashyap has worked on social communications, specifically health and environment. As an author, she has published a book of stories for young adults titled ‘Daring to dream’ (Rupa & Co., 2003) and contributed to five prize-winning anthologies published by Children’s Book Trust. As a literary writer of short fiction, poetry, essays, story/book reviews and creative non-fiction, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in South Asian journals which include Kitaab, Papercuts, Out of Print Magazine and Blog, Earthen Lamp Journal, Muse India, Indian Review, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Erothanatos and Indian Literature. Her poems have appeared in Mountain Path, Verse of Silence, Reading Hour, Kritya and The Bombay Literary Magazine. She lives in Delhi.

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Published by The Alternative.