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



Autumn Song: Kartik Posh

When leaves gather
in fiery red
underneath wild Cherry
and Chinar, I return
to these woods.

In mud walled hamlets
hearth fires blazed
once; farmers' wives
made afternoon tea.

They went
to the blue river,
filled their pitchers
at dusk. Temple 
bells echoed
through the hills.

Each village
had its own forest,
meadow, and garden:
its dreams and sleep.

How many years 
By my reckoning
it might be a hundred.

I am this country's ghost
bound to return,
gather food offerings
in late autumn weeks
of Remembrance.

Rice grains mingled
with marigold petals, violets,
smoke rising from oblations

take me back in time
to the Shivaratri evening
when I was seventeen.

Spring flowers
had just begun to show
near patches
of disappearing snow
and ice.

I think I saw you.
The fire of stars in your eyes, 
hair like the wings
of a blackbird.

With slivers of floating ice,
the river was cold
but you waded fearless
far into midstream.

Flecks of rose light
got caught in water drops
sad-still on your lips.

I knew your mother
in the village, 
your wife, and child.

But you seemed not
of this time,
of that, not from here.

Another autumn rain
fell on leaf-strewn pathways,
a war torn village, its burnt
down houses, land mines

where rice fields used to be.
I asked for death
to sever the tie forever.

Look, how my feet get caught
in hedges as I stray.
Alien thorns bleed
my soles,
and I am Nothing.

My ashes have made
the bushes red. Forty days
and nights of fever,
delirium, cold sweat
of the End.

became a flower;
fire cannot burn it
water cannot drench.
Man cannot give;
a hand cannot hold. 

[© Lalita Pandit, October, 20, 1998].



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