O Shyama, Thou Art Flying Kites

by Ramprasad Sen

Kali postcard

Kali

In the world’s busy market-place, O Shyama,
Thou art flying kites;
High up they soar on the wind of hope,
held fast by maya’s string.
Their frames are human skeletons,
their sails of the three gunas made;
But all their curious workmanship
is merely for ornament.

Upon the kite-strings Thou hast rubbed
the manja-paste of worldliness,
So as to make each straining strand
all the more sharp and strong.
Out of a hundred thousand kites,
at best but one or two break free;
And thou dost laugh and clap Thy hands,
O Mother, watching them!

On favoring winds, says Ramprasad,
the kites set loose will speedily
Be borne away to the Infinite,
across the sea of the world.

—from Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineshwar by Elizabeth U. Harding

Note: Shyama Kali is the more tender aspect of Kali. She is worshiped in many households as the dispenser of boons and dispeller of fear.

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