I cannot say where he came from
Possibly, from beyond the tall
Mountains, from Tibet, past crevasses
And glacial scress, like a high
Stinging wind. The bells on his
Pack-mule tinkled. He shuffled along
Peddling borax, salt and gold,
A lion-maned, eagle-eyed lama.
He travelled down the gorges,
From the Jadh Ganga to Harsil.
The beauty of Bhaioghati
Poisoned his blood. He taught
Himself to wear his curse like an amulet.
We chanced upon him singing
Of fires that burn, snows
That numb. Seldom does he speak
Of that serpent that has
Seized his tongue.
Mountain-dweller, below you
Stretches a plain that asks
Nothing of you. The river that was
Always by your side shall flow,
While you till and sow, and having
Unlearned language, relearn the
Songs of Silence.
~ ~ Smita Agarwal