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(Ghostwalker to my Father)


Standing on the untilled land,
The wind sliding past my hairless pate,
I proffer water with trembling hands
And light the lamp of a withered fate.

They said your soul will wail and wander
On the breath and the beat of the beloved lives,
Till an exorcist coldly tears us asunder
Summoning hate sharper than knives.

For daybreaks ten and nightfalls then,
I close my eyes to searing moans,
Do I need to muster thoughts of heaven
For you who colour my veins and creak in my bones?



  1. Souls
    do not wail and wander
    like a heartbeat
    always with you…

    They are
    the sudden memory of a childhood.

    The feeling
    that you are doing something
    the way he would have liked…

    The tears in a grandma’s eyes
    as you sit
    and recite a poem for your son
    and something rings a bell…

    The longing
    that he should have been around
    when something good
    in the family…

    As a grain
    in the tumultous sands of time,
    he is your ability
    to withstand the waves…

    Count not the days
    or the moans,
    but admire the lamp.

    The light that guides you always….

    (I pray that God gives you the strength and peace of mind to be the solid rock for the family. My condolences .)

  2. Ponder on the opening lines of Surangas poem ..
    do not wail and wander
    like a heartbeat
    always with you…

    May his soul rest in peace and may you find the strength to move on…Trust me, there will be days when you will feel that your father is there with you, guiding you and protecting you.

  3. Uma, that is a searing pain from the heart, but take Suranga’s words, which are balm upon the wound of loss. First let go of regret and then you will be free to move on. He didn’t have regrets while he lived, or else his smile wouldn’t have been so fresh and full of life. He lives — in your children and you. Look at him and rejoice and like Alka says, move on. He wouldn’t want anything less from you.

  4. @Alka & Zephyr

    Dear friends, I had written that when the shroud of grief had fallen fresh on me. I was roiled by the weird notions people harbour towards departed souls, reinforced through mute rituals. It takes little to figure that most of these are designed to usher the dead out of the minds to wherever they belong.

    And yes, I do see him in the colour that runs in my veins, and the flashing smiles of my daughters.

  5. i can identify with ur grief as i have been through this.

    that’s the only truth. may his soul rest in peace.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss Uma. I wish I had words to fill the void in your heart. It is always tough to cope with the loss of a parent-someone who you looked up to for advice and wisdom.

    Please accept my condolences.

  7. Poetry coming out of pain directly from heart is so different from play of words… Could almost sense your pain through your verse.

  8. I feel terrified of reading so many pieces dedicated to Father…I want to go hug mine and love him while he is still here…as Sudhagee said, your poem is horribly haunting…

    1. Bhavana, Death visits all and it has no time-schedule. In this Land of Death, we never know who we’ll be missing the next day. Do hug your father and tell him you love him so. Thank you for meeting me on the untilled land.

  9. I have been there when I watched my mother pass away. The pain of losing a parent is intense and deep, and the loss never goes away. No one can take their place either. It is okay to grieve because it is this grief, the tears that help us heal, that help us cope and move on. But, the pain always stays; it gets dull but it always stays.

  10. Umashankarji,it is so touching, i can understand the pain as i went through this twice when my mum n dad left us within a year span,n the loss cannot be filled by any means,but the show must goes on n we have to lead our life with their sweet memories n the strength n wisdom we got through them.
    (I came to know this through Bhavanaji)

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