Rashme SehgalRashme Sehgal

An Ark of Peace

After the last Supper
Jesus went up to the Mount of Olives at Gethsemane
The crucifixion was now at hand
He sat down in deep meditation

Thoughts swirled through his mind
He thought about his childhood,
His father, Joseph, his mother, Mary and of
Mary Magdalene anointing his tired feet,
About his apostles and betrayal.
An angel of the trees understood his grief
And sat next to him to give him strength.
Prosperity came to the olive grove for sheltering Jesus,
O tree of peace, your fuel consecrates the golden cup
Where the eternal fires of Acropolis burn.



Durga astride a tiger
Warrior woman, woman of prey,
Leading her mount across the burning oceans,
The sulphuric seas
Through mounds of smoke and burning fires
She does not wear ash
But she attends the ceremonies of the dead.
Each and every.
She clambers over desolate towers and forts,
Wide deserts and tiny villages
To look at ash and bones covered with luminous frost.
High heaps covered with dust and grass
Leaf-brown jute cloth and the bones of metal.
What has evoked this flaming anger ?
Why does she move around carrying a flaming sword ?
Men’s fate are already set
There is no need to ask the diviners.



How should I worship you Nityananda?
I stand before you like an empty-headed oaf
With a mind empty as a blank slate.
You are awe inspiring
Sitting under your canopy of filigreed silver,
An elegant sari draped around your waist
Your eyes have a faraway look
I stare into them and feel
Light spilling out of their contours
Are you looking towards me?
Or are you watching those flames of light
Being offered to you ?
The drums start, the chant begins
You listen to every word, Nityananda
You to watch the space where the heart beats
Where the tongue finds ready release.


Turtle Dove

Pools of silence
Created by the wings
Of a turtle dove in flight
Her curvature is like a boat
Slung along a fine stern
The valley of her curve
Announces a fine geography
She races through the air with freedom
The subtlety of her mast
Flags the surface of the dusty winds


A Cartload of Corpses

A cart load of corpses
Are being taken to the cremation site
To be burnt
More ash to be mulled into the ground
Each corpse is emptied from the cart
Laid out on to the mud floor
Covered over by a mound of wood
To be set on fire
By the temple priest
Who drinks toddy in his spare time
Otherwise, he is busy
Watching hair frizzle,
Eyes turn to soot, bodies change passage,
Into something new without past history.


The Eyes of the Goddess

The eyes of the goddess are ever inflamed
She holds the instruments of death in her hands
The eyes of a the goddess are ever inflamed
The sword, the charka, the gada, the bow
The eyes of the goddess are ever inflamed
She strings her bow and lets lose a row of arrows
The eyes of a goddess are ever inflamed
Is this the deluge we were warned about ?
The eyes of the goddess are ever inflamed
Corpse after corpse, one follows another,

The eyes of the goddess are ever inflamed
Flames gather and rise in this blood-ravenous dawn
The eyes of the goddess are ever inflamed
Triumphant conqueror, snuffing out the mighty fires of our lives.


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