Thus Flows the River of Life by Rajnish Mishra


Thus Flows the River of Life 
by Rajnish Mishra

Warm, yellow, early
sun rays on steps of stone,
Cold, turquoise, early, still
Ganga water;
early, sleepy echoes all around;
I, alone, not lonely,
daily drifting, sit by the river.

Vermilion, late, reflected, warm, green:
Stone steps, water, temples, river, air,
later, resting echoes all around;
I, between stone and water
that looks foul yet fair.

Conch shells, damrus,
drums all sleeping
wake up, call out the coming of night.
then sleep once again.

Waiting to wake up
with the coming of light:
With cold, vermilion,
New-born sun smiling,
Drenching the stone-water
in rays-rain.

PHOTO: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, and River Ganges. Photo by Kraig Seder, used by permission. 

varanasi map

NOTE: Varanasi is a city on the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar PradeshIndia. A major religious hub in India, it is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism. Varanasi has been a cultural center of northern India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the River Ganges. Hindus believe that dying here and getting cremated along the banks of the “holy” Ganges allows one to break the cycle of rebirth and attain salvation, making it a major center for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. 

IMAGE: Map of India showing the location of Varanasi. 


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is about the city eternal: Varanasi, also known by the names of Kashi and Banaras. The city runs parallel to the river that the Hindus lovingly call Mother Ganga. For hundreds of years, visitors, travelers, and pilgrims have been mesmerized by the beauty of this city. This poem is a homage to that spirit and a bow to the holiest city for all the Hindus of the world.

PHOTO: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, and River Ganges. Photo by Shiv Prasad on Unsplash


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator, and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India, and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. He edits PPP Ezine and writes at

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