Daughters of Ganges

vikas chandra

A riddle of kinds, in a shroud of white, where is that Paavi, who loved her life
Lo and behold that angel’s birth, how tramped on daisies, little feet of mirth
Now cuffed to a timeless mire of slurs, a widow they discern, “a dead man’s wife!”
Nothing afore, afar that hearth, kindled pyre of a woman’s worth

Kashi has aged a thousand years with many more years of Paavi’s woe
Beside the Ganges, her endless flow, once a darling daughter’s squandered glow
Surrogate profound, a mother found, dissolved her allure many moons ago
In dusky digs, now a sinking shadow, a gambled life, easy come easy go

Through splintered sense, as she recounts, a Bangla bride from a hamlet afar
She, a cherub of eight, groom, fifty or so, what on earth that means, would the poor child know?
Solemnized by fire, a ritual bizarre, widowed next day, a…

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