Nanda Devi – a poem by Neera Kashyap

Nanda Devi is loosely based on the traditional Japanese Tanka structure of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables per verse. It was first published in the March-April 2016 issue of Direct Path.

Nanda Devi

Cloud and snow spume

drift about your summit

veiling your face

Ma Nanda Devi

fixing my gaze to eternity


Rising like a giant shard of

rock carved over a million years,

snow fields scoured by

avalanches, your steepled

peak a vast cathedral


Impossibly tall and steep

you rise abruptly over a

guardian ring of summits

witness to your inner realms of being,

the outer gorge of Rishi Ganga’s roar


Climbers say in higher climes

light contrasts with darkness, flower

leas with worn ridges, fear with elation

O paradox of the sublime

your name means Joy, enduring Joy


The veil lifts, was it the smoke of

fires lit by sages on your summit?

Your natural symmetry of two identical peaks

suddenly at ease

is visible from my cottage window.

Neera Kashyap