Soft and Sharp

Pic credit — facebook/ unknown

— Haris Adhikari

Don’t know its name; but oh,
what a flower
it is!

five petals in each one—
with edges soft and sharp—
below the yellow
budding tentacles—
beautiful symmetries…

More powerful
than their boughs and branches!
More powerful
than the darkness that spreads
in the background!

A contrast—a fine one!
Created by
flash or light—lens or
luminous star.

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The Size of the Buddha

— Haris Adhikari

the steps of Swayambhu
most mornings,
in curiosity,
I would go to school, looking back
at the towering statue
of the Buddha.

I would, in great amazement—

‘Why is Buddha so tall (even
in his sitting posture!)

and fat
and long-eared…
compared to
the young prince in the story I read about in school…’

Unable I am,
still after so many years,
to come up with the answer
that could satisfy my questioning child

when he says—

‘Why make bigger images
against a reality
that needs no embellishment
goodness of the heart…
against a reality
that is so hollow now…’

** **

As a fifth grader, I went to Ananda Kuti Vidya Peeth which lies a little below on the lap of the hill on top of which the famous Buddhist shrine Swayambhu is. Every school day I walked all the way from Chhetrapati, a downtown area in Kathmandu back then, to my school. It would take almost an hour for me to get there. And on the way uphill, there were (and still are) these amazing larger-than-life size Buddha’s statues which often caused me to question their size!

(First appeared in Cyclamens & Swords Publishing)

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I Don’t Have a Theory for It

— Haris Adhikari

I don’t have a theory for it. It is just an analogy
of a huge lake with ample inlets and outlets.
This lake is a canvas for clouds that drift away
slowly, like the fallen leaves. It’s also when

an anonymous lady secretly leaves an infant

on a pavement and disappears from sight. I don’t
know who this lady is. She could be anyone.
And she is gone, leaving the infant…
wrapped warmly in some clothes…

and the crying baby is picked up by a kind couple

This is easy and hard; two in one scheme.
I don’t have a theory for it. It is just an analogy
with the lake where the boy stares
at his still reflection

and gains tremendous strength

it is the communion with the deep
translucence— beneath the floating leaves, perhaps
it is the stone he hurls into the lake
to distort its trancelike quality

as ripples lap… rumpled reflections.


(First appeared in Cuckoo)

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How Big Is It?

— Haris Adhikari

A dot—
just a dot
on a white sheet of paper

in the middle
it’s alone, so
you think it
needs some neighbors

and you
bring it some company
and then you feel

a strong urge to go
away from that
mundane game
and you go, and keep going

until you realize
how far you’ve come
and to what

(First appeared in The Kathmandu Post)

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— Haris Adhikari

Is the horizon an illusion?
Or the eyes faulty?

That arresting
height, that expansion that
cauldron shape,
that age-long
eluding circle still continues
to go with me—
wherever I go!

Even today it’s heavy upon me
as it always is.

Like my shadow,
like my dreams
like an endless
jungle of snares
or victims trapped
and dangling…
… chaotic states
or the world I’m in and from—
bound by
after boarders, ruled by
cloud colors, smogs—fumes
in the face of
azure sky, strokes
upon strokes of life
and death, humanity
raped, humiliation upon
humiliation, blood
and smoke spiraling, thunder
and noise
into nad*(nada)—here and yonder
dismal categories
of horizons
are what keep on
betraying me—once I—
whenever I step on to
the yet
unfurled thresholds
brought with great sacrifices
and tender hopes.

Even today, it’s heavy upon me
as it always is. 

A bird’s view—a free bird’s view—
is broader, perhaps.

*Nad / Nada is the cosmic sound of OM

(First appeared in Prachya Review)

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The Bag(h)mati* River

— Haris Adhikari

terribly sickens, with its fetid,
black water. Dead
bodies being cremated…
a little above,
man is all smoke
and nothing.
Flies hover
above the oily water in it.
Half burnt bones
peep from below
the slimy sewage.
Plastic and
empty bottles
float to show their
dented look.
Just below the Lord’s
garbage slide
into the river
that goes—
just like the slow traffic— stinking
all across the Valley… Oh!
This sacred river!
Like a boa, it scares
the elite
people away
but not the scavengers
digging… the decaying garbage
deep… for a day’s meal.


On the way
back home, I heard people
talk about how
many reports, by many people,
were made about it, and how
nothing concrete
came out of them!

Now this gap
is what I’m thinking

What will happen
when webs and
webs of
gaps determine
the course of our
life… and posterity?


*A word play on the Bagmati river (which runs through the Kathmandu Valley); bagh (tiger) and mati (inclination; notion; tendency) speak of the terror created through the river

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