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Across Rohtang
by Dhaleta Surender Kumar
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  The haunting horror of
Hovering hawks
On cliffs.
Scavengers patiently perched
To let 'me' pass
Rohtang,
- The 'Dead Pass'
- The Wasteland :
Lahaul, Kaza, Kyelang;
Where the half decayed lama
In his Dhayana
In his trance
In a waste cave
Might bless 'me'
With half bleached bones
And
Hollows
Of eyes with no lids.

The shrouds
Fluttering
Tied in strings
White, red and green
Dyed,
Dried.
Or the washed pajamas
Of half woken
Gods?
Or the Buddha
In a wasteland
Half drowsed in Chaang
Facing the dusty doors
Of temples
Susceptible to storms
Casting an evil
Drowsed eye
Hypnotic eye
On
Wooden
Haunting
Devil masks -
The trophies of the temples?

The prayer wheel
Spinning endlessly
With cymbals,
In deep bass
The rosaries humming
Of the maroon - yellow
Sturdy bald lamas
Fed on gur-gur-chaa -
Om Mani Padme Hoom -
'O Jewel of the Lotus'
Which echo through the
Yellow, red tassels
Dancing
To the muse of bells
Of mules
Gray and bay mules
Wishing Ju-Le, Ju-Le
To apricot
Smelling
Women
With dark
Wide
Wrinkled
Fore-heads
Balanced
On flat noses
Tethered
To ornaments
On wrinkled faces
Dancing
In tune with
Men
In mock fights.

Hasten me
To taste
This wasteland
To half drowse in Chaang.

Ki-ki, so-so, lha gyalo
Oris I built to thy name.

Hasten me
To haunt
This wasteland
To half die at Rohtang.

Let the Gods conquer
Oris I built to thy name.

Feed me -
Gur-gur-chaa.
Knead me
In beads of rosaries
To half hum the prayers.

Om Mani Padme Hoom
Oris I built to thy name.

Teach me
To be taught
To bleach
My bones
Half in trance.
Kali shu
Oris I built to thy name.

Flutter
My robes
Yellow and maroon.
Flutter
The flags
The shrouds
White, red and green.
Make me
Half alive
Half dead
And awake
Two feet deep
Beneath
The ground.

Sit slowly
Oris I built to thy name.

Hum,
-Me-
In prayer wheels.
Om Mani Padme Hoom
'O Jewel of the Lotus.'

Kali Phe
Oris I built to thy name.

Wave,
-Me-
In echoes -
Of cymbals -
Ju-le, ju-le.
Until 'I' come
Again.

Go slowly
Oris I built to thy name.

- Arise
In mock fights
Dancing
In tune -
Hand in hand
Of sensuously
Wrinkled hands
Of wrinkled women.

Kali shu, kali phe
Sit slowly, go slowly
Oris I built to thy name.
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November 11, 2001
More By: Dhaleta Surender Kumar
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