Ashok Niyogi

your ancient home, your auspicious friendship, O Heroes,
your wealth is on the banks of the Jahnavi
- Rg Veda 3:58:6

She travels heaven, earth and netherworld.
For them whose doors she flows,
Of what sweetness is the water of wells?

A dwarf atop our universe pierced
With big toenail, crust;
Watery causal milk washed
Saffron dusted lotus-feet
In thought word and deed,
All pulling to earth her breasts,
Descending on Shiva’s head strong,
Trapped in matted hair,
Held safe to prevent being crushed.
Mother of breasts to smithereens,
Running here and there, our innumerable stories,
Our voluptuous teens.

Dumb river, your monsoon opacity annoys me;
So full of dead bodies, flowers and flickering light
In fragile earthenware; you are so full of yourself.

At Wheeler, I bought “The Art of War”
For reading on the train.
Along with your flotsam, I give you war;
Harmonica fights, cymbals in lamplight.
Conflict spirit – my dray horse scratches ribs
Against your robust banyan, complete with root,
Tree extending tendrils, progeny, culture, faith.
Worshipped with curcuma, kumkuma**,
The ‘showing’ of lamps, un-widowed,
Myriad drum beats for dissonant lepers, mendicants,
Forgoers, forgivers and artists of legerdemain.

River, you are so muddy in the rain.


Ashok Niyogi lives in Delhi and California. He has two books of poems REFLECTIONS IN THE DARK (A-4 Publications) – 2002 and TENTATIVELY (I-Universe) -2005. His poems have been published extensively in print and electronic journals worldwide. As Bhagirathananda, he has also written two books of essays – HENCE AN ENQUIRY INTO BRAHMAN (B B Graphic) – 2012 and MY YAJNA (Quills Ink) -2014.