d. Oct. 31, 1984
by Kenneth Kronberg
|COMPOSITION OF this poem, commemorating the
October 1984 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi, began after the mid-flight explosion of the U.S.
Space Shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986. It was presented
to Mrs. Gandhi’s son, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and was subsequently published in the April 1987
issue of Congress Varnika, the official journal of India’s
then-ruling Congress (I) Party.
A little further, at the arch above,
"What see you, father?" cries the guardsman out
And, turning from his hoops of beaten brass
"The circles of the stars are moved by One
The watchman placed his torch upon the fire,
"Are not the birdsongs’ momentary joys;
Unchecked, the guardsman did his cause pursue.
Above all else, what endeared her to us
She was descendant of a nation-building
Now she is gone, this jewel whose enemies
That misery and tumult, pain and want
Beside man’s hearth there burns a sacred fire,
For the India she saw, was never known
Her ashes blow, they billow in the wind;
How rare those moments, when our eyes reveal
Let the star’s celestial motions
"From fairest creatures we desire increase";
Jaipur Greatest of the 18th-Century astronomical ob-
servatories build by the scientist-statesman Jai Singh.
"The Discovery of India" Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrs.
Gandhi’s father, wrote this history of India while imprisoned
by the British during the 1940s.
"From fairest creatures we desire increase" From the
opening of Shakespeare’s sonnet series, the great fugue which
charted the laws of verbal action in the English language.
Shakuntala Heroine of the drama by Kalidasa, the
Fourth-Century author considered to be the greatest poet and
dramatist of Sanskrit literature.
The Cave Book VII of Plato’s Republic. Is it the Greek
Prometheus, or the Vedic Agni, who ignites man’s creative