Travel to Allahabad


How shall we mark this dry bed?
The river Sarasvati no longer flows in this world;
pale shadows alone are cast upon this bed —

From the Himalayas to the sea,
the Sarasvati led, wide and deep,
clear in the light of the world;

twelve cities ranged along its length;
life just as we know it
drew upon those waters wide and deep,

and now, how shall we know its dry bed?

All the words and all the music in the world
flowed in the waters of this world and the next,
between the world of formless things,
and their shadows that we know
as cast upon the world,
as things of bone, and iron, and stone;

which once spoke for themselves to hearing
which now dries and bleaches in the sun;

all twelve cities have gone beneath the sand,
and now the Sarasvati flows in the formless world alone,
invisible to mortal eyes —

now, how shall we know this dry bed?

To see the Sarasvati, travel to Allahabad,
to the confluence of the three great rivers,
and there, for those with wisdom,
Sarasvati will make herself visible.

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