Mortgaged To Shiva
Ramprasad Sen

What riches will you grant me?
What wealth do you have to give?
Your gracious glance,
or the lotus of your feet?
It's all mortgaged to Shiva!
Is there any hope at all
of getting your feet back from him?*
Kali, try with all your might
to extricate yourself -
what good can it do worshipers
if a holy icon drowns
in its own vessel of offered milk?
Even if you allowed me a share
in the grace of your precious feet,
it wouldn't be worth much
since Father Shiva's exchanged
his very own corpse
for a stake in the same!
But what of the son's right
to a father's wealth?
What will I get of that?
Ramprasad says: I've been labeled
an unworthy son.
My legacy's been snatched.

*To touch the Goddess' feet in supplication is to also receive her blessings. Kali stands on the corpse of her husband Shiva, so in the eyes of the petulant poet, the great "father god" has usurped the "grace of her lotus feet" from the rightful recipient, namely Ramprasad himself.