Holy cow! The mayor of Kathmandu Has done it. Since ancient times a taboo The free, nonchalant cows Of Kathmandu were rounded up In a rodeo by the Nepalese police. Was it Nandi, Shiva's bull? Or holy cows? "They're cattle still", said the mayor. "Straying cattle are not wanted".
Eighty-eight holy cows Were auctioned Not at Sotheby's But in Kathmandu. The auction yielded 64,460 rupees Said the mayor of Kathmandu.
Cows that were a nuisance To pedestrians and tourists at Thamel. Cows that provided dung And four other products: Milk, yoghurt, butter and urine For many a hearth. Cows that gave urine That the Hindus collected. Cows that were sacred And worshipped as the cow-mother. Cows that were donated And set free by Brahmins and Chettris To set themselves free from sins. Cows that marked the Gaijatra, An eight-day homage to the dead.
It was a king, according to legend, Who ordered cows to be set free By families in mourning In the streets of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. To share the bereaved pain of The death of a beloved prince And a sad mother and queen.
The children disguised themselves As grotesque cows and motley figures And danced to Nepalese music To make the queen laugh, And forget her tears.
Even today the bereaved Families drive their cows Through the streets of Kathmandu On the day of Gaijatra: The festival of the cows. Despite the ecological control On the cows of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
From ancient times Kings, noblemen, pedestrians Cyclists, pullcarts, cars, Scooters and rickshaws, The traffic snaked around the holy cows.
The umwelt-conscious mayor Has made up his mind: The cattle are obstructing the traffic Long-haired Nepalese youth need a crew-cut Horse-pulled carts and rickshaws must go. They worsen sanitation And environmental problems. But the carpets and cars must stay.
Elephant-rides remain for the tourists After all, we've developed A yen for dollars, francs and marks. Kathmandu is catching up With the rest of the world.