…the beat of a horse’s feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.

—“The Way through the Woods,” Rudyard Kipling


It remains alive
Hidden, somewhere in the rustic steep in Mirik
The pony-trail to its busty
From yesteryears: once busy and commercial
Under the dense foliage
Sloped sharply over the tiny excited
With slimy boulders in arrangement of
A tough walk-on
Resonating to an unintelligible hiss
Rustling of dead leaves; swish of the bushes throttled by the overbearing vines
Unbeknownst to its creator whether
geist or the scared wild beasts

The shrill constancy of the cicadas; the piercing loud screech of tree beetle
the paused dense blunt hoots of
the owls, the God of jungle as believed
Is no wonder, horrifying

Here, tales of dark evils were always welcome news
Encountering a wild boar that turned huge, grunting, vanished
Sometimes a headless torso, wriggles by
A dwarf that grows to touch the sky
The footstep that follows;
My young mind shivers
When I tread the lonely path

Downwards, a wrecked bridge over the brook
All quiet with a small broken hut meant to be an inn
For the unfortunate travellers
Positions a scary ambience
Where they say, an old lady draped in white cries
At the approach, it melts
If fortunate, the path reaches the thorp.

Prem Prakash Limbu

Prem Prakash Limbu

Prem Prakash Limbu is a poet from Mirik, and Vice Principal of SPDJV School, Lalgola, Murshidabad. He graduated from IGNOU in English Literature. His work has also appeared in Eastlit Journal and Pebbles in the Pond.