Abhanga

There are not many verse forms whose names begin with the letter A.  The abhanga is a Marathi form, Marathi being one of the major languages of India. It is the official language of Maharashtra, and is also spoken in several neighbouring states in the west of the country, including Goa and Karnataka. 

The form is simply described: four lines, with syllable counts of 6, 6, 6, 4, and lines 2 and 3 rhyming.

I remember going for a walk in Karnataka once.

Nature Walk
Behind us, on the left,
the rustling suspicion
of beasts on a mission,
quite possibly.

Something in the bushes
is watching us walking
implacably stalking.
We sense hunger.

In this rocky hollow
the footprints in the dust
are distinctive; they must
be a tigerís.

The unseen creature stirs.
A sharp intake of breath
at the nearness of death
if so it be.

But our time is not yet.
Today we are in luck;
emerging with a cluck,
a jungle fowl.

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© Bob Newman 2008. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 20/04/2008