Eternal love mingles with ashes,
as the loss of life and the ablution
of mortal sins sully the tepid
waters of our sacred Ganga.
Temple bells chime the battle between
good and evil, waging within
our mutinous blood destined to spill.
Deafening last whispers of
unabashed life are heard
in the debilitating crunch
of the succulent banarasi paan
before that final surge of
adrenaline, until death closes
its cold fingers around the soul,
squeezing the subtlest traces of breath from the dying.
The remains spat and scattered,
the departed and the living
vie for every cubic millimetre
of its land, water and air.
But fear not, here within the darkness,
the fires burn bright, and within
the charring cremated flesh and bone
there is a beautiful serenity,
echoes of silence, and the
peace of deep transcendental slumber, of tormented souls being liberated from the punitive cycle of karmic rebirth.
We can run from it till our lungs
collapse, gasps of air sharp within our chests,
or reverentially gaze
into the intrepid eye
of everlasting imperishable bliss.