The river flows

Like a thousand-hooded cobra

Uncoiling in a sly, sensuous oscillation

Like an archetypal danseuse

In a dazzling finale,

Full of zest and splendor,

The river flows.

The river flows.

And moves on as she flows.

The river flows And moves on

I gaze in amazement

As she bursts through

The caverns on the hilltops

Like a towering inferno

Devouring space,

Or, like a raging bull

Charging his opponent,

Hungry lion

Pouncing on its prey.

The river flows

Rolling down the mountain slopes

Stomping on the rocks

Tumbling over the boulders

Like an expert juggler on a rope.

The river flows.


Stops for a moment

As if gasping for breath

Or, To size up

With a touch of disdain,

The transient lives,

The lost souls of animate things,

Their hopes, Fears, frustrations,

Anger and avarice,

Petty jealousies, Foolish clinging

To insignificant things

And Thousand shades of’

Empty aspirations.

The river flows.

The river flows

Stealing my heart

With her imperious gestures,

Like a seasoned dancer,

Following her own course,

Carrying the tender souls In her arms,

To the unknown shores

As she flows.

I wonder…

Does she feel the things

She holds In her luring heart?

Or, the things She collects

In time and tide

And what leaves behind

As she moves on?

Does she feel

The umpteen silly objects

She is forced to contain?

Paper boats, Broken hearts,

Flower bouquet,The holy dip,

Seashells on the riverbeds,

The dirty feet,The human waste,

The spit, Dead bodies, the moss, motorboats  tearing her guts,

Crocodiles glutting over the half-decomposed bodies,

Little fish Fighting for their lives,

The River flows.

The river flows

Moving in a stately defiance

Of the mean structures men construct,

Poking steel, pouring concrete,

Desecrating the pious waters

In a desperate attempt to curb

Her invincible waters

The river flows.

Following her own course

Enraged by their arrogance,

The river bursts forth into a ravishing outpour of fury

Shattering the dams and bridges

The mean structures men built and their dwellings,

In one clean sweep

As if breaking ground For a new order,

As if challenging their inadequacies,

And proving her own strength, beauty and integrity.

As if staging the fiery Cosmic Dance Of Nataraja.

I sit there on the shore  and wonder,

Is she aware of the bond between her apparently Unfathomable flow

And the complex lives of the myriads on the banks?

The mankind conglomerate,

replete with Mothers, daughters, Fathers and sons,

Polluted with politics, power and money?

Electric lights engulfed by Low life?


Where scholarship has failed Human decency,

And turned into a market commodity

And sold at discount price,

She flows quietly, Like a royal gamut

Untouched by the failures

Of mankind

As I sit there,

Listening to the murmurs of million little ripples,

Hitting the rocks on the shores, melodious to the beat,

I wonder.

Is She, unaware, unobtrusive, unattached, indifferent,

Intent on pursuing only her own course?


The river enters the plateau in a noble stride

Reciting Vedic chants,

Propping up the drooping spirits

Embracing the dismal creatures

And unfolding universal harmony.

As she flows

Touching myriad souls

Lighting up thousands of hearts,splashing the colors of rainbow

Holding up her generous heart

To the dark clouds,

The river flows graciously,

Basking in her own lustrous spirit,

And murmuring rhythmic notes.


The river flows.

The river flows like an ageless dancer Imparting the wisdom of centuries

The mettle of a divine warrior

And the aura of an empress,

The river flows…

The River and the Life, entwined in one intricate bond,

Each one intrinsic part of the other…

The river flows. and as the river flows

Life goes on!


(Nidadavolu Malathi, 3/3/98)