Shanta Acharya – View From The Gods

Shanta Acharya LEP&W Sept-Oct V2 2022

Download PDF Here Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Sept-October 2022. 

View From The Gods, poems by Shanta Acharya

View From The Gods

Didn’t you say nothing will come of nothing –
was it then wise to strip yourself of everything?

There’s no love nor rest in nothingness,
taking upon yourself the mystery of things

many more ways to learn unaccommodated man
is no more but a poor, bare, forked animal.

That’s how we are deceived,
mistaking our limits for that of others.

Dreaming of impossible things,
we place our trust in those undeserving.

I am no more the mistress of my life
than you mighty King were of yours.

Owning nothing but myself, my powerlessness,
how can I buy my rightful place in this playhouse?

Arriving alone, dispossessed, I take my seat in the gods –
witness humans unleash the terrors of the earth.

Living at the edge of any universe also serves a purpose –
the view from the gods is no less precious.

Inside One’s Own Singing

Selecting her own society, my soul
surrounds herself with truth and beauty –

garlands of exquisite memories
that wear their fragrance like gods and lovers

lost in an unimaginable shower
of grace, alight with the unbearable

pleasure of being here, steadying me
with the thought that whatever happens,

nothing is forever. Everything changes
when one has lived a long time alone.

Whether we know it or not,
we do not own the fruits of our actions.

We are as separate from our actions
as a decanter from the wine sparkling in it.

If we accept the world as a gift,
not take the gifts of the world for granted,

we may learn to cherish what we have,
thankful for things we never had, never needed.

Grace received is according to our measure,
a steadfast prayer inside one’s own singing.

Paradise In My Soul

Keen as a root quickening in darkness,
I was born to witness the world differently.

Wisdom of the universe centred in me,
I see what’s hidden, discover what’s forbidden.

In the astonishing light of my own being,
all that is dark turns bright as the sun.

Yet they call me stupid, moron, pugli –
a child who never grew up, not really.

Having survived so many knives carved
into me, edges sharp as inhumanity,

my pain earns invisible wings for bravery,
badges and medals, stars and ribbons of glory.

Carrying my own paradise in my soul
feels wicked. Breaking free, living like a god,

making my rules – flying, soaring, not forgetting
Icarus’ fate, I consider myself blessed.

Letting rip the madness like a river in spate
opens the doors to the world of a wilder self –

much madness is divinest sense, kindles
the love and light shimmering in any truth.

© Shanta Acharya

Shanta Acharya was born and educated in Cuttack, India. She won a scholarship to study abroad and was among the first batch of women admitted to Worcester College, Oxford. A recipient of the Violet Vaughan Morgan Fellowship, she was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy for her work on Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of English and American Literature and Languages at Harvard University before moving to live and work in London. Shanta’s latest poetry collections are What Survives Is the Singing (2020) and Imagine: New and Selected Poems (2017). Her doctoral study, The Influence of Indian Thought on Ralph Waldo Emerson, was published in 2001 and her novel, A World Elsewhere, in 2015. Shanta’s poems, reviews and articles have featured in journals and anthologies nationally and internationally. The author of twelve books, her poems have been translated to Bengali, Chinese, French, German, Hindustani, Odia, Russian and Ukrainian.

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