Manikarnika Ghat, this is not a pretty place;
Destruction of the human soma takes a lot of firewood.
The funeral pyre burns hot and red with black smoke that fills your lungs;
This is not a pretty place, the dead are leaving here.
This is not a happy place, the timber stacks grow ever higher,
Dark wood for a darker purpose, life taken for a life now given
Over to hungry flames that bite into human flesh
And turn bones into ash; this is not a happy place.
The towers of the holy temples stand tall and look down as the dead depart,
The closer buildings are dark and sombre, stained black with human smoke
The Mother river, holy Ganga, waits to receive what is left,
This is not a pretty place, this gathering place of death.
Crowds of the curious and farewellers gather round the departed
Their purposes as much at odds as the emotions in their hearts.
The touts jostle to catch naive tourists led like lambs to higher ground;
This is not a happy place, this Manikarnika Ghat that I have found.