Sunday, 28 April 2013

Ashoka, after Kalinga

The few who return home from here
will never again be quite whole.
Combat zones. Courage and fear.
So many ways to shrink the soul.


Not just flesh that is sliced open,
it’s not just bodies that blades maim;
violence plants its secret weapon
and those that return won’t be the same.


The tips of arrows, heads of spears
end of day are plucked from skin;
but war is too hard to pluck clear
from the heart once the blade goes in.


There could be other paths, directions,
fields, where it’s not this one battle
and maybe they too change a person
they’re not the same once they travel;


I’ll take that road and see for myself
if peace can be found a different route,
if a change in travel plans will help
and a war-free way to be will suit.



  1. War free route to peace, hope that becomes a reality.

    1. Ashoka found his route, however his present day counterparts seem to be somewhat clueless.

  2. I loved the interpretation of Ashoka's thoughts ...but the Ashoka's of the date dare choose to change paths ... without being feared of being assassinated !!
    This is my perception in regards to the statement you made about Ashoka's present day counter parts :) !!

    An absolutely energizing read... !! Words of peace ... raging a war ,to dominate thoughts of violence inside me ... Who says Peace does not fight ?? :) :)

    1. Certainly it has to fight not to be swamped. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. The message of peace that Ashoka spread after Kalinga war, seems to be lost. The way people are behaving these days, war by proxy is the preferred choice to propagate their sick ideas. Can there be peace?

    1. No royal road to it, we'll have to figure out how for ourselves.

  4. The poem ends with one profound message that could have been used across the ages, even today. What is going to stop the madness of the Taliban and the Pyongyang?

    The depiction of minds perturbed by war is exceptional.

    1. Completely agree that his message is relevant, we need to find a suitable new protocol for application though. Non-violence is too often taken for apathy.

  5. it begins with each of us taking those other roads....war/violence leaves such scars on the soul...there is much wisdom in this...smiles. non-violence def is not apathy

    1. Indeed Ashoka was a very wise emperor, one of our best. Nice to see you, thanks for being here.