“Their Gratitude, Only They Could Know”

                                                        – Ramana


The ladies in their grass green saris

gather sheaves on the mountain

to feed their families, parched

in the dull heat of sun at high noon.


Backs bent in half to reach

each new stalk, their lips dry

and peeling, they move

in thin lines elegant

as a kingdom of ants,

yet they are not royalty.


Forbidden by caste

to drink of the one source

of water, they come to Rama

almost in tears, crying,

Swami! Swami! Give us one sup.


And God, who knows no difference,

dips a pail into his well and pours it

over each stooped spine

in a fountain of love

so cool, so divine,

they all gasp in delight.


Some mornings, He conjures

an elixir of water, ginger

and light and raises the cup

to each woman’s mouth


which they imbibe as if

it contained the one secret to life

– and it does:


a torrent of water dripping

down their delirious chins

and floating off each grateful finger.



Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend