The Hindu’s Lament

The mourning cries of an Indian for his wife.

As I passed a lonely temple in the after-evening glow,

On the banks of the Ganges where the quiet waters flow,

When the sun had sunk to rest and cool softness touched the air,

I saw a dark-skinned Indian and I heard him chant this prayer:


          Bhagwan!  Bhagwan!   (O God! O God!)

          You have snatched away my lantern,

          I am left without a light,

          My feet now tread in darkness,

          Where once it all was bright.

          Can I endure my life

          When my dear, dear wife

          Is ashes, Bhagwan?

          Bhagwan!  Bhagwan!


He raised his hands to heaven then he bowed down to the ground,

He wept in aching sorrow with no whisper of a sound;

I heard the water lapping where the river met the sands;

He rose from off the flagstones and again stretched forth his hands.


          Bhagwan!  Bhagwan!

          You have snatched away my lantern,

          My light of life is gone,

          My heart will be in darkness

          Where once she brightly shone.

          Can I endure my life

          When my dear, dear wife

          Is ashes, Bhagwan?

          Bhagwan!  Bhagwan!


My heart brimmed bitter sadness as I left the temple shrine,

The pain of that poor Indian was soul-wedged into mine.

And still do I remember, though the years have passed me by,

The hands outstretched to heaven and the anguish in that cry:


          Bhagwan!  Bhagwan!

© Whale 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Whale, I have been to India on a number of occasions – so I was drawn to this poem..
It is very sad and very well expressed – without careful reading it would be easy to think both verses were the same.


This poetry cannot help but stir emotions. Beautifully composed, I enjoyed the read, if one can say that about something that emotional. To find after reading your reply to Gerry how personal it was, explained everything.
I loved it.


I thought this was beautifully tragic. Lyrical, expressive, poignant. Everything poetry should be.

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