my mortal Pygmalion butterfly
behind me in lac and shellac debris
has learned to abandon
random colour shape form
for systematic undulatory reptilian locomotion
flexural waves that generate thrust and drag
‘What is that in thine hand? A rod.
Cast it on the ground.
And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent;
and Moses fled from before it.
Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.
And he put forth his hand, and caught it,
and it became a rod in his hand.’**
salamander spirit of fire
slimy poisonous fermented much ravaged
signals toxicity with cryptic colour
gives up limb for life
and undulates between mud and water
newts in the brandy of Ljubljana
slander sex and mucous in defense
‘in a dark place a rope is a snake
whereas there is nothing but rope’***
I invite you to dialogue mother earth
so that I can twist and turn
prevaricate this way and that
with bar charts and pie diagrams
while Nero fiddles and your rivers wither
in emaciated effluvial dance
why are crabs social climbers
and those covetous of Panamera cars
between the devil and the deep blue sea
*Papilio Polymnestor – the Blue Mormon butterfly common in India and Sri Lanka. Flies about at ground level.
**from Exodus 4 (KJV)
*** from Gaudapada’s (6th cen CE) Karika (notes) for the Maandukya Upanishad
For my American Grandaughters
my limbs reach way down
to pluck anaerobic flower
this intoxicates me
sea beds under earth
I am happy that the skunk got to eat
and glands govern our wanton
thrashing flailing fledgling want
I must slant this sunlight
so that air does not dare disturb
supreme creative effort sans breath
now on exhibition by the boardwalk
in Yellowstone park
Ashok Niyogi is a wandering seeker after truth. He was born in Kolkata in 1955 and graduated in economics from Presidency College. He lived and worked as an international trader in the USSR and Russia and his work involved extensive travel worldwide. He is now retired and lives in Delhi and California. He still travels hard and long and occasionally writes.Ashok has two books of poems REFLECTIONS IN THE DARK (A-4 Publications) – 2002 and TENTATIVELY (I-Universe) -2005. His poems have been published extensively in print and electronic journals worldwide. As Bhagirathananda, he has also written two books of essays – HENCE AN ENQUIRY INTO BRAHMAN (B B Graphic) – 2012 and MY YAJNA (Quills Ink) -2014.