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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



The Burning Pyre

Since the Pandits arrived
there have been long queues
waiting for their turn
to go up to the pyre.
Young and old,
male and female,
robust and frail,
they are here without fail
and the fire
in the funeral pyre
has hardly ceased
this whole year.

The bodies keep waiting
not that there is a dearth here
of shroud or firewood,
but a family priest
for the final rites
is so hard to get,
and at other times
the corpses have to bide
a whole day
for the final adieu
from their kith and kin,
scattered as they are,
arriving by bus and train,
from near and far.

Wonder why
there is this rush
to go on the pyre?
Besides other things
it does appear
that it is the heat
they cannot bear,
and the sun here
has burnt them up
much before
the fire on the pyre.

Jammu - September 1990



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