for the repose of his eternal soul
Thank you to Gopes Niraula for this vivid and moving entry to Voices and the competition. Originally from Nepal, Gopes currently resides in Wokingham and has enjoyed a life-long interest in poetry. The theme of mourning and honouring a loved one is something we can all appreciate and understand. We really appreciate Gope’s contribution.
Bid Him Adieu
We wrapped his body in a white holy cloth
and carried him in a white sling
slung between two brown bamboo poles
to the edge of the Bagmati river.
On the pyre, we covered his cold nostrils with
soft cotton balls and placed six sacred
beads of rudraksha in his palm for moksha.
We lit a handful of sandalwood incense
and hovered it in circles from head to toe
for the repose of his eternal soul.
Its thin wisp of smoke curled lazily into the air.
We walked around the pyre with a burning
piece of wood and lit a handful of kindling at
his feet. We threw a tong of rice on his chest
and started chanting mantras for his soul.
The dry logs began to whoosh and
his flesh sizzled and spluttered as the thick
columns of black smoke rose into the air.
Its ashes flaking off & falling silently near the pyre.
The summer sun turned red on the horizon and
we left the burning pyre to go home.
My small brother was sitting in his chair
beneath the dimly glowing grey oil lantern
hung down from the ceiling of the balcony.
He kept expecting his Grandfather home from farm
pedaling his old axon bicycle with a bag of bonbon
in the basket on the front of his bicycle.
Gopes Niraula, Wokingham
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