“[The dog]” by Bhartrihari, translated by Andrew Schelling


The dog waggles its hind end,
paws at the dirt,
squirms on the ground and exposes
its face and belly
for a scrap.
But the bull elephant
has a steady eye.
He only eats
after a hundred


Two Bhartriharis are known to India. One was a mystical grammarian who wrote an important linguistic treatise, the Vākyapadīya. The other Bhartrihari, a poet, left between two hundred and seven hundred poems. A Chinese Buddhist pilgrim to 7th century India, I-Tsing, noted the name Bhartrihari in his travel Journals. He heard that grammarian and poet were the same man.

Andrew Schelling is a poet and translator, wilderness advocate, and student of persecuted languages. He has published twenty books and lives in the Southern Rocky Mountain bioregion, where he teaches at Naropa University.