Table of Contents
  About the Poetess
  My Father's Country
  Azadi: 1989-1995
  The Yellow River
  Summer Rain
  Mother's Day USA
  Bride in Red
  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



The Yogi

They say a Yogi has
to wear ocher,
matted locks, walk barefoot
on Himalayan ice.

An American teacher
says this to a child.
He comes home without
having eaten his lunch.

His little, comely face
is drawn; he fingers his
food, raises his sea blue
eyes, "is your father
a yogi?" I know he

is thinking about
the photograph of my father
with a saffron-paste tilak
on his brow. What can I say?

A yogi should be the young
man next door, with his iron 
strong muscles, and gold hue.

He has become a mendicant,
a beggar in his own
country: a laughing stock.

Who will explain
to this child
that a yogi can be a warrior, 
a charioteer's son.
The one who drove the chariot, 
and the one who sat inside:
petrified by fear.

A yogi will know particle physics,
computer science, decipher 
manuscripts on parchment. 
He can always read the handwriting
on the wall.

I do not have the red, dazzling
steed of Surya to guide me.
In the middle of a shoreless sea,
I row a small boat
tied to raw cotton thread.

Behind me is a fortress
of blinding dark.
Columns of radioactive
smoke rise in front.

I lack sleep.
The sleep of tamas.
Of destruction
before my resurrection.

The yogi is here!
He does not sleep.
Eternal, ever awake,
watches for ushas,
the deity of dawn.

[© Lalita Pandit, June 17, 1998].



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