Of Gaddi(s) and Goats. A Poem by Sukrita Paul Kumar.

Cackling goats and jostling sheep
Wiggle through woolly tracks
Reaching the edges of their skin
Rolling like pebbles down the Himalayan slopes
In herds
With several bleating little lambs
Peeping from the kukh of his apparel
The Gaddi’s heavy feet
Drag many steps behind,
Hollering and bellowing, harking and heeding,
One arm waiving the threatening oak stick
At the sheep on the brink of cliffs,
The other cuddling the twitchy babies
My friend, doesn’t the pashmina of your shawl
Whisper to you, tell you of the gentle strands of love
woven into the pashm fabric many times finer
than your fine hair
In its heat you may not cook eggs
Nor will its lightness give you wings
But what you wrap around yourself
Are the dense clouds trapped in the Arctic
Ready to rain on separation
Or melt into sprightly rivers in its warmth.


Born and brought up in Kenya, Sukrita Paul Kumar is a well-known poet and critic, who held the Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at the University of Delhi till recently. Formerly, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, she is an Honorary Fellow of the International Writing Programme, University of Iowa (USA), as also of Hong Kong Baptist University and Cambridge Seminars. She is honorary faculty at the Durrell Centre at Corfu (Greece).
She has published several collections of poems including Dream Catcher, Untitled, Without Margins, Folds of Silence. Her critical books amongst others include Narrating Partition, The New Story, Man, Woman and Androgyny and Ismat, Her Life, Her Times. As Director of a UNESCO project, she edited Mapping Memories, a volume of Urdu short stories from India and Pakistan translated in English. In 2006, she published, as its Chief Editor, Cultural Diversity in India (MacMillan India) prescribed at Delhi University. She has also published Poems Come Home (HarperCollins) & Rowing Together (Rajkamal), bilingual books of poems with well-known poet and lyricist Gulzar and a fellow Hindi poet, Savita Singh. Her translations of fiction and poetry have been published by HarperCollins, Katha and National Book Trust, including Nude by Vishal Bhardwaj and Blind by Joginder Paul. Her poems have been translated into many languages such as French, Chinese, Swahili, Italian, Bengali, Punjabi etc. A recipient of many prestigious fellowships, she has lectured in many universities in India and abroad. Her paintings have been exhibited and published in several journals. Many of her poems emerged from her engagement with homeless people and tsunami victims.
She has been the Guest Editor of several journals in India and abroad, including “Manoa: Crossing Over” (University of Hawaii), “Muse India” (Indian Literatures) and “Margaret”
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest Collected Poems Volume at Next-Arrivals