ASHES

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ASHES

Fire around me everywhere,

The heat intolerable to bear;

And yet I cannot feel a thing,

My soul has lost its ability to care.

Covered in ashes from head to toe,

The numerous fires spurting more;

I stand amidst death, drenched in rain,

Wondering if this is what I live for?

Ashes over me I cannot distinguish,

Which is human, which of material thing?

Human or wooden, ashes are the same,

To turn to ashes  then – A lifetime I live?

The drizzle now turns to a heavier shower,

Drenching my being to the very core;

Yet on the fires they have no power –

Roaring high, over the pyres they have lit.

Below the river Ganges peacefully flows,

Washing away ashes, the fires have restored;

Men are hurrying around me everywhere,

Carrying corpses; guts – for which fires don’t care.

Just this afternoon I saw her face –

Peaceful and calm in death’s embrace,

When bathing, dressing her like a bride,

Preparing her for the final goodbye.

Narrow winding lanes when I traversed,

I knew what lay at the end of the path;

Yet I wasn’t prepared to face the ultimate truth,

My Life – mere ash on the pyre in death.

As I now stand watching her pyre lit,

My heart numb from all the sights it hit;

My face, eyes smarting from all the smoke,

Is red, incapable of insulating like my soul.

 Manikarnika Ghat in Benaras they say,

The holiest crematorium for Hindus till date:

Frees one from the cycle of Life and Death,

Has given me Moksh from the fear of Death.

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