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Ganga, Hear !
Ganga, Hear !
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© Raghav Arora

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Ganga, do you hear?

I believe you do.

They believe it too,

Those, who speak to you,

Sometimes wonder,

Sometimes ponder, who they speak to?

Whilst they stand along your shores.

Folded hands and closed eyes;

Reading out their hearts aloud.

Wishes and guilts.

They pray and pray,

But do you ever hear?

Today, I wish to ask you this..

 

Mother says, you do,

Just because you're a mother too?

Or lying there are other reasons, in your depths?

 

Let's talk, Great River!

Of the many things around your worlds.

Let's talk about reality,

Beyond silent whispers of prayers..

 

You must be bored with hackneyed lines and chants,

They sing in your praise, aren't you?

Bells and chimes and drums,

All to the same rhythm,

All to avoid the same cataclysm,

Upheavals in their lives.

 

Do they learn nothing from you? Ha!

Have they not believed your story?

How penance, hardest and persistent, brought us you.

Do they not see how you change?

From white, to green, to blue, to brown and black,

And back to white again!

And still they want their lives to be the same.

And still they want their times to be the same.

Isn't it a shame? Mother,

A blunder and a shame!

 

But they pray!

With words and silence.

They prey on themselves and then they pray more. Ha!

Believing that you listen;

Pure, sacred belief..

 

You can tell me the truth, Mother.

I've hushed them, all.

Well, truly, they're busy speaking to you.

And once they have spoken,

They will open their eyes.

Nay, Nay...  Not to the truth,

But to another hollow projection.

And they will turn their backs on you, and walk away..

 

I'm here, right by your side.

I've stayed here.

So you can, trust me.

I'll shelter your colossal secrets,

In the vastness of my magnificent heart..

 

Do you hear silence when you're born?

Do you hear blessings?

By those who watch over you.

There must be someone watching over you. Right?

Or are you abandoned too?

 

And as you flow down,

Growing bigger and immense and experienced,

How do you like those who bathe in you?

They load their dirt and sins over your waves.

You must be strong to carry all that weight,

Of infants, of adults, of graves!

 

I bow to thee for that,

I bow to thee, Mother!

None, but you could have done it.

And we haven't thanked you enough, I suppose.

No gratitude will ever be enough.

 

How do you feel?

When a new born is brought to you for blessing?

Happiness it is.

Not a burden.

I hope you don't feel sad,

This is not another fool to load you and beg you.

He will find the truth as I did.

And I won't burden you anymore!

 

How do you feel when you're choked with ashes?

Or do you not mind it just because it is one last bath in your pure waters?

What is it Ganga?

You can tell me.

 

Oh you can complain, Dear River,

If you hear a lot of noise.

If you do not understand us and our deeds,

You can complain.

There might not be judgment in your favor, you know,

There are no longer rulings of the Gods.

And you can tell your sisters too,

They aren't much brighter either..

 

Let me whisper in your ears;

All of you,

You and sisters and cousins,

Can plan machinations.

Yeah, I won't mind.

Neither would those who are liberated like me.

Drown it all, whatever you don't like.

Be a saboteur!

You're personified here, in this world,

And you are allowed revenge!

 

But you won't, I know, Ha!

You're too kind,

And you're too calm.

You will still bless us.

You will merge into your siblings and find your home.

But you will be back again,

You will rain,

You will be drained,

On and On,

Over and Over.

Huh! Hm-mm!

Do you even listen?

 

I used to be in them too,

Until I questioned you.

I was speaking to you,

When I was silenced by reflections.

And then I saw,

How the skies, the trees, the beings,

Seen on your surface,

Penetrated their own gaze..

 

Isn't that what you do?

Reflect us?

Reciprocate just.

Just the same.

 

And I realized,

It wasn't you I spoke to!

 

All my prayers, guilt,

I spoke to myself.

I begged myself for what I had to do,

And for what not,

I know it now, your secrets,

I know them well.

 

You...  Mother... River...  Mirror!

 

I still bow to thee,

I still drink thy nectar,

I still bathe in your calmness,

You continue to enlighten me...

 

Ganga, do you hear?

If you ever do,

Tell me, if I understood it right.

I'll be here … Listening!

 

poem listen mother prayer belief river wish guilt reality burden grave projection gaze beg mirror reflection secret

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