Wednesday 20 January 2021
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Benaras: Long-Lost Poem

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Benaras: Long-Lost Poem

Sometimes Benaras seems like a poem,
a long lost one, at that.
I see it from a distance,
Walking across time and space,
on the edge of tomorrow
painted in history.
Stories hovering in time,
lost somehow in busy manicured lanes
hovering as if-
just beyond the surface.

I walk alone,
Nandi walks along.
Someone spits a Benarasi kaththaa
the fragrance sticks to me.
Boatmen sing here,
songs of history,
Of the love of Radha,
Shiva and his Linga.
Beauty somehow lies scattered,
Helpless and prisoner of time.
I bend to pick up a poem,
the lines somewhere mixed —
in new dung and sacrament of the old.
In harmony of rituals
and amidst the dead.
Man devoid of origins
his place in the immensity of things
often so elementary.

In Benaras,
every artist merges,
every traveler comes home.

This poem is a part of the poet's book Where Even The Present Is Ancient: Benaras
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Maitreyee Chowdhury
Poet and writer based in Bangalore

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