Syama wakes on the cremation grounds

by Nazrul Islam

English version by Rachel Fell McDermott
Original Language Bengali

Syama wakes on the cremation grounds
to take Her child
at the final hour
to Her lap.
The peaceful Mother sits on the pyre
in fire hidden by Her sari of love.
     To hold him on Her lap
     She left the Kailasa of Her joy, and
     with blessings and fearlessness in Her hands
     made the cremation grounds Her home.
Why fear this place
when you'll sleep peacefully at the Mother's feet?
     Who dies ignited by the flames of this world,
     to him the Mother calls:
     "Come to My lap, come to My lap."
     To lull you to sleep, Oh Wearied by Life,
          Ma takes you to Her lap
          disguised as death.

-- from Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal, Translated by Rachel Fell McDermott

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Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal





Syama wakes on the