The Snake Charmer is a 1907 oil painting by French Naïve artist Henri Rousseau (1844–1910). It is a depiction of a woman with glowing eyes playing a flute in the moonlight by the edge of a dark jungle with a snake extending toward her from a nearby tree.

Renewed every Summer,
The snake finally shed its
skin at 80.

The Neonate bore its ugly
head from the nest.
Primal with Life.
Its scales inherited definite hue.

One summer, nipped for fear,
A tooth fell, Venom Void,
it preyed on a Rat.
Rarely, do Rats show Courage.
This Rat scavenged on the
Neonate’s tail. Left to Bleed.

One Summer, nipped for Nectar.
Warts from sickly tail,
Met its end.
Snakelet, Primal with Life,
Slithered anew.

The Snake’s hood, STILL,
Held a vibration deep.
Primal with Life.
Followed its Need.
Charging upon Prey,
It Chanced a Charmer so keen.
It raised its head,
attempting to devour its meat.
Then while the Venom released,
The other tooth fell into
The Battle Ring.
Offguard, the Charmer snapped
Its head from behind with its fist.
Or so the story has been told,
Of how the Snake was Spayed.
Now rests in a basket,
With Darkness, without Grey.

Summer’s end,
The snake lies coiled with
the Gnawing Rat, Toothless.
Finally shedding its skin at 80.

Reincarnate like the Phoenix,
It set Fire to the Skies.

© 2020 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Epitaph to a Dog

(Sharing a beloved Work I enjoyed tremendously as I read… the harshness of not acknowledging a True Friend and the tragedy of the Friendship not becoming whole, never realising.)


Near this Spot are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one — and here he lies.

The Brave Shall Rise Again

We stand poorer now, a hand guiding us is no more.
We stand lost now for the poetry will no longer flow.
Words stop flowing from the pen; it lies broken.
The sparrows weep. The dawn will not bring new promises.

Your light guided the wretched and the impossible.
You soul raged with spirit, compassion and want.
Dreams of new India, weaved into a bright future.
You now leave behind an empty heart.

Dear God's in heaven, you played a nasty trick.
You took maliciously what belonged to us.
The man immortal in spirit he stands.
Spreading light, leaving a mark, he walked ahead.

Wake up sleepy Youth of India,
Choose to follow the brave and the victorious
Their ways are not of the weak and downtrodden.
Let us wage war against hatred and contempt.

The roads are marked with hard work and toil,
Dug clean, weeds pulled out; left clean for us to walk.
His raging words won't go down light into the night.
He will rise in us with passion and pride.

(an obituary written in memory of our former Late Prime Minister and Poet Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee)

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal

Life Rests in Death’s Bed

Why fear Death?
It sleeps with Life;
In warm beds,
Making Love,
Wandering in Time.

In the folds of seconds
Time finds pleasure;
One Part Life begins,
One Part Death consumes it.
Life awakens, Death sleeps.

Why fear Death?
It awakens Life;
In the smells of Coffee,
In the Songs of Birds,
Reaching for Life.

In the folds of Seconds,
Times finds rest;
One Part Death Sleeps,
One Part Life Waits.
Patiently, in Death’s Bed.

© 2019 Dhanlaxmi Goyal