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V. Kashmiri Region: The Vakh


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V. Kashmiri poetry from the northwest, bordering Pakistan, is said to be influenced by its setting. Kashmir is a valley framed by the Himalaya Mountains which reflects grandeur, serenity and vivid color. It is the jeweled crown on the head of India. The language is descendant of Sanskrit and influenced by Urdu.Language_region_maps_of_India.svg.png

Vakh (Sanskrit - "speech" interpreted by some as "verse teaching") is a 14th century stanzaic form, originated by a woman poet, Lalla-Devi or Lallashwari, a Kashmiri Shaivite mystic and Sufi saint. 258 poems by Lalla were preserved in this form ranging from songs, proverbs and prayers. This form is found among the earliest Kashmiri literature and records when the Kashmiri language emerged from a descendant of Sanskrit.

Lallashwari, 14th Century mystic poet from the Kashmiri region and creator of the Vakh wrote:

                     yi yi karu'm suy artsun
                     yi rasini vichoarum thi mantar                            
                     yihay lagamo dhahas partsun
                     suy Parasivun tanthar
Whatever work I did became worship of the Lord;
Whatever word I uttered became a prayer;
Whatever this body of mine experienced became
the sadhana of Saiva Tantra illumining my path to Parmasiva.

The elements of the  Vakh are:

  1. a tetrastich, a poem in 4 lines although it has occasionally been found in a couple of stanzas of 4 lines.
  2. syllabic, lines of 7 syllables each, with 4 stresses per line.
  3. optional alternate rhyme with true or near rhyme. Rhyme scheme abab

    Echo at Dawn by Judi Van Gorder

    Spoken with an echoed yawn,
    sounds of giant redwoods lure.
    Widow-maker falls at dawn,
    mountain forest in tenor. 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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