Zen Poems from the 2nd Book of Zen Poetry by Krishna Prasai
I counseled him much;
Did all I could to appease him
But nothing of the sort worked
For, Yamaraj refused to be bribed.
 Hindu God of death
I can’t tell for sure
If the faggots you gathered
Would cook the dinner this evening
Or cremate a corpse at the river bank.
This is the only truth—
When the faggots catch fire
The smoke that curls up is of the same color
And the same is the color of ash.
The cremated one
Had cried a lot while alive;
The only difference, now, was—
The cremators were shedding tears.
The entire bouquet
Feels grossly dishonored
When all its flowers wither and sag
Like a muffler around the neck of a politician
Who has just lost an election.
The high-placed campaigners
Come out boozed from a shot
They drink at a Dalit’s home
And segregate in the name of castes.
It seemed I would be dead in his absence.
At the end of the day
What was most feared came about.
But to everyone’s surprise
Not even a slight rise in temperature was felt.
What to talk about private things in a city!
No matter how much land one acquires
He is cremated in the no-man’s land.
Fill a hospital rather than a home
If you have to fill a space!
At moments of crisis
Doors of temples, mosques, and churches
Are all found closed.
There was a wish to glitter
But we lacked the courage
To withstand hardship—
The way the transparent diamond does.
I won’t lend you my evening
For it loves me
Much more than you do.
Lock-down is merely for the humankind!
The birds are flying
The rivers are flowing
The rain, hailstones, and thunderbolts continue to occur
Look at the planets, stars, and rainstorms;
None appears stopping itself in any front!