The Temple Dancer

She fears the loss of local lore.
The men and women of my age
Know neither Gods, nor sing their songs,
Forget the plays put up on stage
To keep their stories living strong.

She fears the loss of local herbs.
The men and women and the old
Know neither names, nor use of them,
Forget the bedtime stories told
To learn this creeper or that stem.

She fears the loss of local pride.
The men and women and the young
No longer paint themselves, nor wear
The _jatra_ costumes, strung and swung
In ecstacy of zesty prayer.

In eighty years of selfless art,
They did not let her write her heart.

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