Burning ghat at Varanasi

If you want to be a writer, you must go to Varanasi

After an incredibly busy period of work, I’ve finally got back into my writing. It’s been a very creative two weeks, attending writing workshops, talks and doing some poetry of my own. This poem is for some of my friends who live in Varanasi. I only visited the city for three days, but it had a profound affect on me, and I will never forget the city. Varanasi is built on the Ganges, and in several of the ghats along the river, they burn bodies and float the remains into the holy river.

 

If you want to be a writer

You must go to Varanasi

And travel up the river

To watch the bodies burn.

 

In their saffron coloured satins

To see the changing, charring ember

The mothers weighting babies

Into the crying undertow

 

If you go to Varanasi

To travel up the river

See the purple flooded answers

To the rawness of death

 

If you want to be a writer

You must go to Varanasi

Where the Ganges hides the souls

Of a city’s decomposing life.

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