Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Day Trip to Kashmir

This is Dal Lake, the "Jewel of Kashmir" ~ image from

My thoughts are in Kashmir right now, having newly "discovered" it through a poet friend. I have found some lovely photos on-line. It is described as Paradise on earth, and I can definitely see why. It is also said that Kashmir "sits in the lap of the gods".

I have pored through a few books of translated writings of the Bengali poet RabindrinathTagore, (1861 to 1941), looking for  poems or quotations to accompany these photos. Furthering my mini-education, I read that Tagore, the first non-European to win the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, was already writing poems at the age of eight, and was published at age sixteen. He was a renaissance man, a musician, artist, novelist, poet, and playwright.

I am enjoying a cup of Bengal spice tea, while we journey, to get in a properly receptive mood. Please do join me in a cup:) Get ready - our boat is about to cast off.  I hope you enjoy our little day-trip of the imagination to another land!

image from

The Stars Look On

The day will come
when the sight of this earth will be lost
I will take my leave in silence
as the stars look on

I know the sun will rise again
The hours will still bring pleasure and pain
in heaving waves

When I think of the end, time crumbles
I see by the light of death
that the lowliest existence is rare
and the worst moments are precious

What I longed for will be set aside
The things I pursued in vain -
Let them pass
Let me turn
to things I overlooked
and carelessly threw away
to possess them truly until they are mine

As the stars look on.

image from

(Okay, I really want a ride in this boat!!)
Stray Birds 126

Not hammer-strokes, but dance of the water
sings the pebbles into perfection.

image from

Stray Birds 77

Every child comes with the message
that God is not yet discouraged of man.

(Isn't that the truth!)

image from


I thought the journey was over
when my powers came to an end.
The path before me was closed,
the provisions were exhausted
and the time had come to take shelter
in some small dark corner.

But your will knows no end in me.
When the old song dies on the tongue,
a new one springs forth from the heart
and where the old tracks have been swept away
a new country is revealed in all its wonder.


The coin of life is stamped with death
so that what we buy will be truly precious.

image from


I was homesick today
for one sweet hour
across the sea of time.

Stray Birds 116

The earth hums to me today in the sun,
like a woman at her spinning,
some ballad of the ancient time
in a forgotten tongue.

Stray Birds 272

I came to your shore a stranger,
I lived in your house as a guest,
I leave your door as a friend, my earth.


Life is given to us
then we earn it
by giving it back.


Tears are no shame.
It is the tears of the earth
that keep her flowers blooming.

Hari Parbat at night image from

If you weep because the sun has gone out
Your tears may blind you to the stars.

Stray Birds 10

Sorrow is hushed into peace in my heart
like the evening among the silent trees.

No trip to Kashmir would be complete without visiting a few of its temples:

This is Avantipur Temple ~ image from

What Will You Give?

What will you give
when death knocks at your door?

The fullness of my life -
the sweet wine of autumn days
and summer nights,
my little hoard
gleaned through the years,
and hours rich with living.

These will be my gift
when death knocks at my door.


The stars are not afraid
to flicker out like fireflies.
And you?

Konark Temple ~ image from


My songs did it all.
They made me seek you
from door to door
and with them I felt my way
searching and touching
this world.

They taught me
all the lessons I ever learned
They showed me secret paths
and faint stars on the horizon
of my heart.

Every day they took me
into the mysteries
of pleasure and pain
until they got me here
in the evening of my journey
to the gates of the unknown palace.

Pandrethan Temple ~ image from


Whatever gifts are
in my power to give you,
be they flowers,
be they gems for your neck,
how can they please you
if in time they must surely wither,
lose lustre?
All that my hands
can place in yours
will slip through your fingers
and fall forgotten to the dust
to turn into dust.

Rather, when you have leisure,
wander idly through my garden
in spring
and let an unknown
hidden flower's scent startle you
into sudden wondering -
Let that displaced moment
be my gift.
Or if, as you peer your way
down a shady avenue,
suddenly, spilled
from the thick gathered tresses
of evening
a single shivering fleck
of sunset-light stops you,
turns your daydreams to gold,
let that light be an innocent

Truest treasure is fleeting;
it sparkles for a moment, then goes.
It does not tell its name; its tune
stops us in our tracks,
its dance disappears
at the toss of an anklet.
I know no way to it -
no hand, nor word can reach it.
Friend, whatever you take of it,
on your own
without asking, without knowing, 
let that
be yours.
Anything I can
give you is trifling-
be it a flower, or a song.

Okay, kids, time to hop out of the boat and return to Boring Old Home, wherever it may be! Sigh. But wasn't it a lovely day?

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written.
    I'd like to make a trip to Kashmir someday, and been dreaming of it for a while now.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!