Shanta Acharya was born and educated in Cuttack, India. She won a scholarship to Oxford, where she was among the first batch of women admitted to Worcester College in 1979. A recipient of the Violet Vaughan Morgan Fellowship, she was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy for her work on Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was a Visiting Scholar in the Department of English and American Literature and Languages at Harvard University. The author of eleven books, her publications range from poetry, literary criticism and fiction to finance. Her latest is Imagine: New and Selected Poems (HarperCollins, 2017). ‘Possession’ is from her forthcoming collection, What Survives Is The Singing. www.shantaacharya.com
Song of Praise
Praise the stars in their constellations
for knowing their place, yet blessing all migrations.
Praise the sun, powerful yet unwavering
in its journey across the sky, light pulsing
through clouds, mists – life sustaining.
Praise the moon always true, waxing waning,
constant in its daily transformation.
Praise the earth as it moves on its axis –
inner and outer cores holding on to each other,
partners on the dance floor, steady as they go.
Praise day and night, mere limits of our perception,
and death, a release from our earth-bound vision.
Praise the sky, air, ether; praise the universe
for awakening us to worlds beyond our imagination.
Praise water in all its forms, giving and taking –
blood flowing through continents of bodies.
Praise plants sun-facing, light-changing,
breathing in carbon, green deities in meditation,
giving us oxygen, expecting nothing in return.
Praise the eye of the guest – clear, observant.
Praise the giver of life – almighty, benevolent.
Praise every species in our planet
masterpieces of evolution –
rich, rare, wild, keepers of infinite secrets.