The  Monk  on a Hill

A brand new road digs its way up this trail;

what use is it to an old monk on a hill?

Except our lands and rivers will be up for sale 

and my people drunk on easy money for a summer. 

The low hum of engines from the valley below,

the rat-a-tat of machines on rocks  

invade my wooden hut at the forest’s edge.

Not a single cloud gathers over a crested horizon,

time measures itself with the fullness and fall of fruit.

Green rice stalks bend in the early autumn breeze,

scent of large cardamom on wood smoke float on balmy air.

Even in this serene stillness of solitude,

this mind can still be all a chatter. 

As a child I was a little devil I’m told,

always jumping, climbing or breaking bones

till my suffering parents surrendered me to a monastery.

Four scores and one this November,  

that restless child still remains-

impatient, foolish  and a pair of  quick feet for distant shores,

though it’s been long since I last crossed the Teesta,

The dusk soon blots up the colors of the land 

smudging the outline of  hills  with night’s ink.

The shrill drones of cicada relay from bush to tree,

a flutter of wild wings settle to roost

and  flicker of lamps dot across the darkening landscape  

closing another day in this sacred soil of our forebears.


I have no regrets to look back,

tomorrow is just another day. 

Snow on the mountains, a rustle of leaves in the woods, 

a pot of tea on the boil  and  verses  from the Heart Sutra.  

What more can a silly old man want?

Until the rhododendrons bloom again,

you will find me, none the wiser, plodding that old path  

which disappears into the far bamboo grove.


Guru T Ladakhi – Guru T Ladakhi, born in 12 Oct 1967 Gangtok, is an Enterpreneur by profession. His interests span Travelling, Cultural Anthropology, and Malt (preferably Single) Advocate. He is a Film buff and dabbles in photography. Above all, he says, he loves Poetry. He considers himself an accidental businessman as he is more comfortable talking arts and literature. He is a published writer in many national &  international journals. His poems were included in the Dancing Earth: An Anthology of Poetry from North-East India edited by Robin S. Ngangom.