The wood has been piled, the incense procured; And all the little assortments-my final adornments,are ready. Ghee and camphor lie waiting meekly; To accompany me on my journey, my fate. The priest is ancient, and the verses he astutely mumbles, Are even more so. The Wind is eager to serve as my vehicle For it is on his shoulders that part of me must journey on. There are no weeping faces, no curious onlookers Save some crows; who look positively baffled by the proceedings. The priest goes on with the motions mechanically. A true embodiment of the ancient virtue of detachment For it is his own son he must burn today. But he has seen too many deaths And has been singed by the death-fires of the ghat. His lungs are caked with the fumes of burning corpses, And his eyes are glazed by the lights of death. I can now see the vastness of open sky And feel the twists and turns of the wood beneath. Yes I'm dead, but I'm alive; And it is in the clear mind of the priest That I dwell, able to see the vastness of open sky And feel the twists and turns of the wood beneath. But now the wood is cracking and the smoke rising For it is time for me to go. The purifying fires course through me And my heart is now a fire engine; Furiously converting body to part smoke, part ashes. For I was man, made of elements and breath. The breath was gone, so what use were the elements to me? They would nourish a plant; which shall bloom a flower And in its fragrance, shall I be reincarnated.