Quietly poplars emerge in Leh,
High in the snow of bared hills,
The hills stripped of their green
By a forgetful blanket of winter.
From the Buddha peace above
We look down on their clusters
In a muddy rockscape nestling
Ochre monasteries in its ridges.
Everyone here lives in poplars
Alive in a sky or dead in wood.
They give them their life’s wind
And make no eerie wind sounds .
The deadwood is fine geometry.
Leh town makes pretty houses
With the softly textured bodies,
That are like elephants in hills
Worth the same, alive or dead.