Saraswati Nagpal – Temple of the Seven Hills
Barefoot. A chain of beating hearts, ancient masons
Squashed by faith and masses and bars that herd us
round and round the crawl to sanctum, a great lock
Daddy says look! Carved eagles quiver, blink alive, intone
stories I’ve read, like oracles gazing backwards.
From snake-white wicks rise flames wearing sapphire hearts.
Sculptures stare with canny eyes through thin veils of granite.
Every thing breathes and remains breathless in this fecund
Stone arches span a new sky. The blue god is a shining moon:
familiar and wondrous. In long seconds I leap constellations,
a star born gazelle.
This poem is a memory of a visit in 1986 to Tirupathi, a 6th century Vishnu temple in southern India. According to myth, the ancient deity of Tirupathi, Venkateshwara made the seven hills of Seshachalam his sacred abode five thousand years ago.
Saraswati Nagpal is an Indian writer and poet, a lover of fantasy and sci-fi, and a classical dancer. Her graphic novels are 'Sita, Daughter of the Earth' and 'Draupadi, the Fire-born Princess'. Her poetry has appeared in Cathexis Northwest Press, The Journal of Radical Wonder and Tipton Poetry Journal.
Artwork: Liselotte, From Outside Düsseldorf by Bethy Williams
Bethy Williams is an artist, an autodidact, an arrangement of information in spacetime, and a native and permanent resident of the Milky Way galaxy. She is the creator of the ongoing webcomic The Adventures of Siân and Errol (And Other Stories). She lives and works in Wilton, New Hampshire.