Poem: Ode to Tansing 

By: Priya Anand


Tansing at 13000 feet is a popular overnight halt for trekkers on the famous Goechala trek in Sikkim which starts at Yuksom 5670 feet and reaches a final altitude of 16000 feet.

Stygian is the night and pale is the landscape
winter’s icy grasp yet lays upon this land
The world in monochrome, white on cirrion, snow on rock and soil,
Stark in its beauty and abstract in form
Enshrouded by cloud and mist,
A desolate land, home to stunted trees and shrubs
and those brave souls who dare to occupy it
Stunted junipers and rhododendrons nod
their heads as if to grudgingly acknowledge a strangers presence
Moss and lichens abound and the occasional flower,
petals open to the sky, rose on haze

Freeze the moment and
it’s a scene from an Andrei Tarkovsky movie
The world seen through a veil of mystery and illusion
a cataract that clouds the lens of the eye
A limited vision that enhances its barren beauty
an occasional and rare amazing vision granted to a blessed few
Austere but for a couple of ramshackle dwellings
In tin and wood, roughly constructed with occasional slits through which
frigid finger tips caress your skin
Within its walls, bare and wooden
Rough to the touch, witness to weary souls
Several days into their journey
a chill deep within their marrows
Their bodies and minds at war
“Their spirit willing, but flesh weak”

Travel a few more miles they must
to that imagined summit they crest
Hands raised, their joyous cries
Echo feebly yet gloriously within
in the contradictory cradle of the mighty sentinels
One moment deepest friend, the next darkest foe

Categories: Poetry

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