kshatriya

Kshatriya

Must you impart on me the wealth of lesser scribes?
I drink from the sharp petals of lilies,
and the sarissa beckons and cries for blood.
Must fear be the color of this wavering flag?
I grew wisdom from the roots of those that fought
before me. Those that have laid their sacrifices
before my spirit sprung. Those that have bestowed upon me
intangible rewards such as knowledge and peace,
the value of life when weighed against freedom and
the sweetness of death.
The women and children grovel at your feet, must you let them in?
Awake, they count the hours they sink into courseless passions
and glorified nightmares. Awake they dream, and while
this is not a trespass in itself, must you be tolerant of snakes?
Must you give the other cheek when the supposed echoes’ peak
closest to god, would rend the sacred temple,
crumbling as ruins when it speaks?

Must you impart on me the paltry slogging of the weak,
when as the valleys and canyons I am strong,
this fertile land that lived as long,
the decades tilled to fruit the minor faults
of penance and redemption that we seek? How bleak, the proud—
how empty the mighty river, now; as Ganges in the light
that floods the mud in overflow, too blurred, unclear,
like soil devoured by vi’lent blizzards all the years.
Must you impart the centuries less and less,
and reading trite what even shadows bless?
Stop me, war, for it comes to you as snow in summer!
O, this land and its people in desperate need.

— A. P.

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