The Nightmare


I saw a nightmare once,

while I slumbered on the damp sand

of a smooth island,

fostered by the mother-river

as she grew tired and slow,

and shed her sombre burden.

The bloated moon was red with anger

because I had strayed

to a place where I was not welcome.

Bones in the wet silt,

an island of human remains;

this white sand was forged in pyres

to the echoes of ancient rites and sorrowful prayers,

satiated with long-forgotten grief.

What right had I to lie among the dead?

The wolves would not let me forget,

they mourned through the night,

the sultry gloom stifling their screams.

And as the clouds teased the moon

I saw it standing there;

the nightmare.



A bundle of putrid rags

substantiated by a pair of wasted legs,

it lifelessly examined the intrusion.

But when I opened my eyes

I could not see it,

although I knew it was there.

Guardian of the dead,

awaiting my departure

from this haunted ground.



~ Based on an island in the Ganges outside Varanasi~

The End

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