Monthly Archives: July 2014

Shikhandi

At last my war is over, though around me

War struggles unabated, – for I spy

Among the massed corpses that surround me

One form that dully gazes at the sky.

 

He was my rightful victim. But he cried,

“This arrow bears the badge of Kunti’s son!”

(The wretch clung till his dying day to pride!)

And yet I breathe content. My work is done,

 

My spirit chained no more by words once spoken,

By the tortured vessel where it housed before.

The endless play of births and deaths is broken

For me; the knot is smoothed that ached of yore.

 

I am no more a body meant for hiding

Behind or holding fast in love or shame;

No more a land for every passion’s striding,

A placeholder, an empty jar, a name.

 

I am not she who once cried out in fury

Against a world that cast her off like trash,

And with her case thrown out by every jury

Of God or demigod or man was rash

 

And resolute enough to swear to pledges

That men and demigods went pale to hear ;

Who roamed the known world to its very edges

Fruitlessly trying to resolve her tears.

 

There was once part of me that heard her echoes-

That fire-eyed ascetic with raven hair.

But now she silent falls and tranquil grows

The fading face of Kashi’s daughter fair.

 

The conches sound for sunset. Downward-leaping

Night closes over all. And I am free.

Free beyond love and laughter, beyond weeping,

Free as only the Gods above are free.

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