POETRY Reading: The Hindu’s Lament, by Edmund Jonah

Performed by Allan Michael Brunet

(Bhagwan is God! or O God!)

As I passed a lonely temple in the after-evening glow,
On the banks of the Ganges where the quiet waters flow,
When the sun had sunk to rest and cool softness touched the air,
I saw a dark-skinned Indian and I heard him chant this prayer:

Bhagwan! Bhagwan!
You snatched away my lantern,
I’m left without a light,
My feet now tread in darkness,
Where once it all was bright.
Can I endure my life
When my dear, dear wife
Is ashes, Bhagwan?
Bhagwan! Bhagwan!

He raised his hands to heaven then he bowed down to the ground,
He wept in aching sorrow with no whisper of a sound;
I heard the water lapping where the river met the sands;
He rose from off the flagstones and again stretched forth his hands.

Bhagwan! Bhagwan!
You have snatched away my lantern,
My light of life is gone,
My heart will be in darkness
Where once she brightly shone.
Can I endure my life
When my dear, dear wife
Is ashes, Bhagwan?
Bhagwan! Bhagwan!

My heart brimmed bitter sadness as I left the temple shrine,
The pain of that poor Indian was now soul-wedged into mine.
And still do I remember, though the years have passed me by,
The hands outstretched to heaven and the anguish in that cry:

Bhagwan! Bhagwan!

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