Ghazal for Sukha – Gita Ralleigh

Ghazal for Sukha

Cemetery pigeons raise stone wings like heathen 
angels. Light winds worry thin grass, a fleeting 
 
rain blesses the gold on a grave, trimmed neat, 
planted with narcissi. Here I lie wormeaten, 
 
alone among strangers whose salt I’ve eaten. 
Called over black water by war drums beating 
 
end times. Quayamat of fire, heat and 
death. Strange rain from pale skies, sleet 
 
and snow. Corpses swam rivers of dirt to meet 
and embrace, casteless. Those whose salt I’ve eaten 
 
summoned me to these lands, here I greet 
death as life. Humbly, head bowed and sweeping. 
 
A mother mourns me. Worn with weeping, 
such endless small blows finally defeating 
 
her bottled spirit. I crossed black waters to sweeten 
her tears, ripen bitter fruits. Hear goats bleating 
 
on the half acre I dreamed up, sown with wheat, 
bought with silver from those whose salt I’d eaten.

 

 

***

Notes

Epitaph on grave at St Nicholas’ Church, Brockenhurst, Hampshire.

SUKHA

A RESIDENT OF MOHULLA, GUNGAPUR CITY, BAREILLY. LEFT COUNTRY, HOME & FRIENDS TO SERVE OUR KING & EMPIRE IN THE GREAT EUROPEAN WAR. AS A HUMBLE SERVANT FOR WOUNDED INDIAN SOLDIERS IN THIS PARISH. HE DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON JANUARY 12TH 1915 AGED 30 YEARS

The Hindi expression ’I’ve eaten their salt’ implies loyalty to an employer.

Quayamat= doomsday, or the end of the world.

 

***

Gita Ralleigh completed an MA in creative writing at Birkbeck University of London in 2015. She has published short stories in the Bellevue Literary Review, Wasafiri and in anthologies by Fox Spirit and Freight books.More recently her poetry has been published by The Emma Press, Liminality, The Brown Orient and 26 Writers.

 

try this

One Comment

Comments are closed.