Poem by Arun Kolatkar (1932-2004)
Are you looking for a god?
I know a good one.
His name is Yeshwant Rao
and he's one of the best.
Look him up
when you are in Jejuri next.
Of course he's only a second class god
and his place is just outside the main temple.
Outside even of the outer wall.
As if he belonged
among the tradesmen and the lepers.
I've known gods
or straighter laced.
Gods who soak you for your gold.
Gods who soak you for your soul.
Gods who make you walk
on a bed of burning coal.
Gods who put a child inside your wife.
Or a knife inside your enemy.
Gods who tell you how to live your life,
double your money
or triple your land holdings.
Gods who can barely suppress a smile
as you crawl a mile for them.
Gods who will see you drown
if you won't buy them a new crown.
And although I'm sure they're all to be praised,
they're either too symmetrical
or too theatrical for my taste.
mass of basalt,
bright as any post box,
the shape of protoplasm
or king size lava pie
thrown against the wall,
without an arm, a leg
or even a single head.
He's the god you've got to meet.
If you're short of a limb,
Yeshwant Rao will lend you a hand
and get you back on your feet.
Does nothing spectacular.
He doesn't promise you the earth
Or book your seat on the next rocket to heaven.
But if any bones are broken,
you know he'll mend them.
He'll make you whole in your body
and hope your spirit will look after itself.
He is merely a kind of a bone-setter.
The only thing is,
as he himself has no heads, hands and feet,
he happens to understand you a little better.
More information on Arun Kolatkar
Poetry by Editorial Team
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Written on 2020-10-19 at 00:05
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