Varanasi haiku sequence

By Maeve O’Sullivan


a shirtless man and I

bow to each other –

ashram entrance


a cigarette booth

by the mango wood stockpile

for the pyres




Manikarnika Ghat  cremations lit by Shiva’s fire



dusk over the Ganges   kites spinning



even inside

this guesthouse bedroom –

the great Ganesh



evening puja:

the bells’ peal echo

across the sacred river



narrow laneway

smells of incense and cowshit —

leaving Benares


First published in Maeve O’Sullivan’s fourth book, “Elsewhere” (Alba Publishing, UK, November 2017)

Photo by Aman Bhargava on Unsplash