The Day Of The Goddess

by Bibhu Padhi (December 2013)


Here, in Puri, the goddess

of plenty is only a kilometre away.

On the last Thursday of Margasira,

she is invited early in the morning,

long before the arrival of light and day;

the women know her numerous

commitments of the day.

She has also to go back in time,

remain inside a large fictional space.

All these the women seem to know,

for they’ve already washed their

steps and floors, drawn holy figures

which her feet shall touch, with

expectations and rice flour.

The goddess has to leave the town,

move far, visit the neighbouring states.

She will have to be a guest of honour

at every humble nest and prosperous tower.

 

I know, our nest is too small

to contain her blessings.

We go through the day as we did

yesterday, remembering how plainly

we have spent our days together,

with our ancestors, our dead fathers.

The sacred day gradually goes past

everyone. Night enters with its winter.

We move into our beds, cover ourselves

with blankets and pray, pray for

a long, dreamless night’s sleep.

The night seems too long for our

customary sleep and doesn’t seem to end.

We dream. Something stirs, the door opens.

A shining stranger, washed in milk,

quietly enters our modest home.

She looks tired. Even then, she stands

leaning on the wall, with a faint touch

of a smile on her fair face. And before

she turns back to walk back to her abode

for rest, she looks long at our children and us,

 

 

blessedly. I open our eyes, shining with

memories of recent things. The night ends.

           

__________________ 

 

Bibhu Padhi's seventh book of poetry, MIGRATORY DAYS A TRAVEL DIARY IN VERSE, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, the most recent being THE HARPERCOLLINS BOOK OF ENGLISH POETRY (2012). He lives in Bhubaneswar, India.

 

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