poem – mother’s blessing

Tears of sorrow and of suffering flowed from Queen Kausalya’s eye,
As she saw departing Sita for her blessings drawing nigh,

And she clasped the gentle Sits, and she kissed her moistened head,
And her tears like summer tempest choked the loving words she said:

‘Part we, dear devoted daughter, to thy husband ever true,
With a woman’s whole affection render love to husband’s due!

False are women loved and cherished, gentle in their speech and word,
When misfortune’s shadows gather, who are faithless to their lord,

Who through years of sunny splendour smile and pass the livelong day,
When misfortune’s darkness thickens, from their husband turn away,

Who with changeful fortune changing oft ignore the plighted word,
And forget a woman’s duty, woman’s faith to wedded lord,

Who to holy love inconstant from their wedded consort part,
Manly deed nor manly virtue wins the changeful woman’s heart!

But the true and righteous woman, loving, spouse and changeless wife,
Faithful to her lord and consort holds him dearer than her life,

Ever true and righteous Sita, follow still my godlike son,
Like a God to thee is Rama in the woods or on the throne!’

‘I shall do my duty, mother,’ said the wife with wifely pride,
‘Like a God to me is Rama, Sita shall not leave his side,

From the Moon will part his lustre ere I part from wedded lord,
Ere from faithful wife’s devotion falter in my deed or word,

For the stringless lute is silent, idle is the wheel-less car,
And no wife the loveless consort, inauspicious is her star!

Small the measure of affection which the sire and brother prove,
Measureless to wedded woman is her lord and husband’s love,

True to Law and true to Scriptures, true to woman’s plighted word,
Can I ever be, my mother, faithless, loveless to my lord?’

Tears of joy and mingled sorrow filled the Queen Kausalya’s eye,
As she marked the faithful Sita true in heart, in virtue high,

And she wept the tears of sadness when with sweet obeisance due,
Spake with hands in meekness folded Rama ever good and true:

‘Sorrow not, my loving mother, trust in virtue’s changeless beam,
Swift will fly the years of exile like a brief and transient dream,

Girt by faithful friends and forces, blest by righteous Gods above,
Thou shalt see thy son returning to thy bosom and thy love!

Unto all the royal ladies Rama his obeisance paid,
For his failings unremembered, blessings and forgiveness prayed,

And his words were soft and gentle, and they wept to see him go,
Like the piercing cry of curlew rose the piercing voice of woe,

And in halls where drum and tabor rose in joy and regal pride,
Voice of grief and lamentation sounded far and sounded wide!

Then the true and faithful Lakshman parted from each weeping dame,
And to sorrowing Queen Sumitra with his due obeisance came,

And he bowed to Queen Sumitra and his mother kissed his head,
Stilled her anguish-laden bosom and in trembling accents said:

Dear devoted duteous Lakshman, ever to thy elder true,
When thy elder wends to forest, forest-life to thee is due,

Thou hast served him true and faithful in his glory and his fame,
This is Law for true and righteous,–serve him in his woe and shame,

This is Law for race of Raghu known on earth for holy might,
Bounteous in their sacred duty, brave and warlike in the fight!

Therefore tend him as thy father, as thy mother tend his wife,
And to thee, like fair Ayodhya be thy humble forest life,

Go, my son, the voice of Duty bids my gallant Lakshman go,
Serve thy elder with devotion and with valour meet thy foe

poem – good old moon

When I was a boy I called the moon a
white plate of jade, sometimes it looked
like a great mirror hanging in the sky,
first came the two legs of the fairy
and the cassia tree, but for whom the rabbit
kept on pounding medical herbs, I
just could not guess. Now the moon is being
swallowed by the toad and the light
flickers out leaving darkness all around;
I hear that when nine of the burning suns out
of the ten were ordered to be shot down by
the Emperor Yao, all has since been quiet
and peaceful both for heaven and man,
but this eating up of the moon is for me
a truly ugly scene filling me with forebodings
wondering what will come out of it.

poem – to his two children

In the land of Wu the mulberry leaves are green,
And thrice the silkworms have gone to sleep.
In East Luh where my family stay,
I wonder who is sowing those fields of ours.
I cannot be back in time for the spring doings,
Yet I can help nothing, traveling on the river.
The south wind blowing wafts my homesick spirit
And carries it up to the front of our familiar tavern.
There I see a peach tree on the east side of the house
With thick leaves and branches waving in the blue mist.
It is the tree I planted before my parting three years ago.
The peach tree has grown now as tall as the tavern roof,
While I have wandered about without returning.
Ping-yang, my pretty daughter, I see you stand
By the peach tree and pluck a flowering branch.
You pluck the flowers, but I am not there
How your tears flow like a stream of water!
My little son, Po-chin, grown up to your sister’s shoulders,
You come out with her under the peach tree,
But who is there to pat you on the back?
When I think of these things, my senses fail,
And a sharp pain cuts my heart every day.
Now I tear off a piece of white silk to write this letter,
And send it to you with my love a long way up the river.

poem – the death of love

Is eager gaze the sovereign of the skies
looked full on Káma with his thousand eyes:
E’en such a gaze as trembling suppliants bend,
When danger threatens, on a mighty friend.
Close by his side, where Indra bade him rest,
The Love-God sate, and thus his lord addressed:
‘All-knowing Indra, deign, my Prince, to tell
Thy heart’s desire in earth, or heaven, or hell:
Double the favour, mighty sovereign, thou
Hast thought on Káma, O, command him now:
Who angers thee by toiling for the prize,
By penance, prayer, or holy sacrifice?
What mortal being dost thou count thy foe?
Speak, I will tame him with my darts and bow.
Has some one feared the endless change of birth,
And sought the path that leads the soul from earth?
Slave to a glancing eye thy foe shall bow,
And own the witchery of a woman’s brow;
E’en though the object of thine envious rage
Were taught high wisdom by the immortal sage,
With billowy passions will I whelm his soul,
Like rushing waves that spurn the bank’s control.
Or has the ripe full beauty of a spouse,
Too fondly faithful to her bridal vows,
Ravished thy spirit from thee? Thine, all thine
Around thy neck her loving arms shall twine.
Has thy love, jealous of another’s charms,
Spurned thee in wrath when flying to her arms?
I’ll rack her yielding bosom with such pain,
Soon shall she be all love and warmth again,
And wildly fly in fevered haste to rest
Her aching heart close, close to thy dear breast.
Lay, Indra, lay thy threatening bolt aside:
My gentle darts shall tame the haughtiest pride,
And all that war with heaven and thee shall know
The magic influence of thy Káma’s bow;
For woman’s curling lip shall bow them down,
Fainting in terror at her threatening frown.
Flowers are my arms, mine only warrior Spring,
Yet in thy favour am I strong, great King.
What can their strength who draw the bow avail
Against my matchless power when I assail?
Strong is the Trident-bearing God, yet he,
The mighty Śiva, e’en, must yield to me.’
Then Indra answered with a dawning smile,
Resting his foot upon a stool the while:
‘Dear God of Love, thou truly hast displayed
The power unrivalled of thy promised aid.
My hope is all in thee: my weapons are
The thunderbolt and thou, more mighty far.
But vain, all vain the bolt of heaven to fright
Those holy Saints whom penance arms aright.
Thy power exceeds all bound: thou, only thou,
All-conquering Deity, canst help me now!
Full well I know thy nature, and assign
This toil to thee, which needs a strength like thine:
As on that snake alone will Krishṇa rest,
That bears the earth upon his haughty crest.
Our task is well-nigh done: thy boasted dart
Has power to conquer even Śiva’s heart.
Hear what the Gods, oppressed with woe, would fain
From mighty Śiva through thine aid obtain.
He may beget—and none in heaven but he—A
chief to lead our hosts to victory.
But all his mind with holiest lore is fraught,
Bent on the Godhead is his every thought.
Thy darts, O Love, alone can reach him now,
And lure his spirit from the hermit vow.
Go, seek Himálaya’s Mountain-child, and aid
With all thy loveliest charms the lovely maid,
So may she please his fancy: only she
May wed with Śiva: such the fixt decree.
E’en now my bands of heavenly maids have spied
Fair Umá dwelling by the Hermit’s side.
There by her father’s bidding rests she still,
Sweet minister, upon the cold bleak hill.
Go, Káma, go! perform this great emprise,
And free from fear the Rulers of the Skies;
We need thy favour, as the new-sown grain
Calls for the influence of the gentle rain.
Go, Káma, go! thy flowery darts shall be
Crowned with success o’er this great deity.
Yea, and thy task is e’en already done,
For praise and glory are that instant won
When a bold heart dares manfully essay
The deed which others shrink from in dismay.
Gods are thy suppliants, Káma, and on thee
Depends the triple world’s security.
No cruel deed will stain thy flowery bow:
With all thy gentlest, mightiest valour, go!
And now, Disturber of the spirit, see
Spring, thy beloved, will thy comrade be,
And gladly aid thee Śiva’s heart to tame:
None bids the whispering Wind, and yet he fans the flame.’
He spake, and Káma bowed his bright head down,
And took his bidding like a flowery crown.
Above his wavy curls great Indra bent,
And fondly touched his soldier ere he went,
With that hard hand—but, O, how gentle now—
That fell so heavy on his elephant’s brow.
Then for that snow-crowned hill he turned away,
Where all alone the heavenly Hermit lay.
His fearful Rati and his comrade Spring
Followed the guidance of Love’s mighty king.
There will he battle in unwonted strife,
Return a conqueror or be reft of life.
How fair was Spring! To fill the heart with love,
And lure the Hermit from his thoughts above,
In that pure grove he grew so heavenly bright
That Káma’s envy wakened at the sight.
Now the bright Day-God turned his burning ray
To where Kuvera holds his royal sway,
While the sad South in whispering breezes sighed
And mourned his absence like a tearful bride.
Then from its stem the red Aśoka threw
Full buds and flowerets of celestial hue,
Nor waited for the maiden’s touch, the sweet
beloved pressure of her tinkling feet.
There grew Love’s arrow, his dear mango spray,
Winged with young leaves to speed its airy way,
And at the call of Spring the wild bees came,
Grouping the syllables of Káma’s name.
How sighed the spirit o’er that loveliest flower
That boasts no fragrance to enrich its dower!
For Nature, wisest mother, oft prefers
To part more fairly those good gifts of hers.
There from the tree Palása blossoms spread,
Curved like the crescent moon, their rosiest red,
With opening buds that looked as if young Spring
Had pressed his nails there in his dallying:
Sweet wanton Spring, to whose enchanting face
His flowery Tilaka gave fairer grace:
Who loves to tint his lip, the mango spray,
With the fresh colours of the early day,
And powder its fine red with many a bee
That sips the oozing nectar rapturously.
The cool gale speeding o’er the shady lawns
Shook down the sounding leaves, while startled fawns
Ran wildly at the viewless foe, all blind
With pollen wafted by the fragrant wind.
Sweet was the Köil’s voice, his neck still red
With mango buds on which he late had fed:
Twas as the voice of Love to bid the dame
Spurn her cold pride, nor quench the gentle flame.
What though the heat has stained the tints that dyed
With marvellous bloom the heavenly minstrel’s bride?
Neither her smile nor sunny glances fail:
Bright is her lip, although her check be pale
E’en the pure hermits owned the secret power
Of warm Spring coming in unwonted hour,
While Love’s delightful witchery gently stole
With strong sweet influence o’er the saintly soul.
On came the Archer-God, and at his side
The timid Rati, his own darling bride,
While breathing nature showed how deep it felt,
At passion’s glowing touch, the senses melt.
For there in eager love the wild bee dipp’d
In the dark flower-cup where his partner sipp’d.
Here in the shade the hart his horn declined,
And, while joy closed her eyes, caressed the hind.
There from her trunk the elephant had poured
A lily-scented stream to cool her lord,
While the fond love-bird by the silver flood
Gave to his mate the tasted lotus bud.
Full in his song the minstrel stayed to sip
The heavenlier nectar of his darling’s lip.
Pure pearls of heat had late distained the dye,
But flowery wine was sparkling in her eye.
How the young creeper’s beauty charmed the view,
Fair as the fairest maid, as playful too!
Here some bright blossoms, lovelier than the rest,
In full round beauty matched her swelling breast.
Here in a thin bright line, some delicate spray,
Red as her lip, ravished the soul away.
And then how loving, and how close they clung
To the tall trees that fondly o’er them hung!
Bright, heavenly wantons poured the witching strain,
Quiring for Śiva’s ear, but all in vain.
No charmer’s spell may check the firm control
Won by the holy o’er the impassioned soul.
The Hermit’s servant hasted to the door:
In his left hand a branch of gold he bore.
He touched his lip for silence: ‘Peace! be still!
Nor mar the quiet of this holy hill.’
He spake: no dweller of the forest stirred,
No wild bee murmured, hushed was every bird.
Still and unmoved, as in a picture stood
All life that breathed within the waving wood.
As some great monarch when he goes to war
Shuns the fierce aspect of a baleful star,
So Káma hid him from the Hermit’s eye,
And sought a path that led unnoticed by,
Where tangled flowers and clustering trailers spread
Their grateful canopy o’er Śiva’s head.
Bent on his hardy enterprise, with awe
The Three-eyed Lord—great Penitent—he saw.
There sate the God beneath a pine-tree’s shade,
Where on a mound a tiger’s skin was laid.
Absorbed in holiest thought, erect and still,
The Hermit rested on the gentle hill.
His shoulders drooping down, each foot was bent
Beneath the body of the Penitent.
With open palms the hands were firmly pressed,
As though a lotus lay upon his breast.
A double rosary in each ear, behind
With wreathing serpents were his locks entwined.
His coat of hide shone blacker to the view
Against his neck of brightly beaming blue.
How wild the look, how terrible the frown
Of his dark eyebrows bending sternly down!
How fiercely glared his eyes’ unmoving blaze
Fixed in devotion’s meditating gaze:
Calm as a full cloud resting on a hill,
A waveless lake when every breeze is still,
Like a torch burning in a sheltered spot,
So still was he, unmoving, breathing not.
So full the stream of marvellous glory poured
from the bright forehead of that mighty Lord,
Pale seemed the crescent moon upon his head,
And slenderer than a slender lotus thread.
At all the body’s nine-fold gates of sense
He had barred in the pure Intelligence,
To ponder on the Soul which sages call
Eternal Spirit, highest, over all.
How sad was Káma at the awful sight,
How failed his courage in a swoon of fright!
As near and nearer to the God he came
Whom wildest thought could never hope to tame,
Unconsciously his hands, in fear and woe,
Dropped the sweet arrows and his flowery bow.
But Umá came with all her maiden throng,
And Káma’s fainting heart again was strong;
Bright flowers of spring, in every lovely hue,
Around the lady’s form rare beauty threw.
Some clasped her neck like strings of purest pearls,
Some shot their glory through her wavy curls.
Bending her graceful head as half-oppressed
With swelling charms even too richly blest,
Fancy might deem that beautiful young maiden
Some slender tree with its sweet flowers o’erladen.
From time to time her gentle hand replaced
The flowery girdle slipping from her waist:
It seemed that Love could find no place more fair,
So hung his newest, dearest bowstring there.
A greedy bee kept hovering round to sip
The fragrant nectar of her blooming lip.
She closed her eyes in terror of the thief,
And beat him from her with a lotus leaf.
The angry curl of Rati’s lip confessed
The shade of envy that stole o’er her breast.
Through Káma’s soul fresh hope and courage flew,
As that sweet vision blessed his eager view.
So bright, so fair, so winning soft was she,
Who could not conquer in such company?
Now Umá came, fair maid, his destined bride,
With timid steps approaching Śiva’s side.
In contemplation will he brood no more,
He sees the Godhead, and his task is o’er.
He breathes, he moves, the earth begins to rock,
The Snake, her bearer, trembling at the shock.
Due homage then his own dear servant paid,
And told him of the coming of the maid.
He learnt his Master’s pleasure by the nod,
And led Himálaya’s daughter to the God.
Before his feet her young companions spread
Fresh leaves and blossoms as they bowed the head,
While Umá stooped so low, that from her hair
Dropped the bright flower that starred the midnight there.
To him whose ensign bears the bull she bent,
Till each spray fell, her ear’s rich ornament.
‘Sweet maid,’ cried Śiva, ‘surely thou shalt be
Blessed with a husband who loves none but thee!’
Her fear was banished, and her hope was high:
A God had spoken, and Gods cannot lie.
Rash as some giddy moth that wooes the flame,
Love seized the moment, and prepared to aim.
Close by the daughter of the Mountain-King,
He looked on Śiva, and he eyed his string.
While with her radiant hand fair Umá gave
A rosary, of the lotuses that lave
Their beauties in the heavenly Gangá’s wave,
And the great Three-Eyed God was fain to take
The offering for the well-loved suppliant’s sake,
On his bright bow Love placed the unerring dart,
The soft beguiler of the stricken heart.
Like the Moon’s influence on the sea at rest,
Came passion stealing o’er the Hermit’s breast,
While on the maiden’s lip that mocked the dye
Of ripe red fruit, he bent his melting eye.
And oh! how showed the lady’s love for him,
The heaving bosom, and each quivering limb!
Like young Kadambas, when the leaf-buds swell,
At the warm touch of Spring they love so well.
But still, with downcast eyes, she sought the ground,
And durst not turn their burning glances round.
Then with strong effort, Śiva lulled to rest,
The storm of passion in his troubled breast,
And seeks, with angry eyes that round him roll,
Whence came the tempest o’er his tranquil soul.
He looked, and saw the bold young archer stand,
His bow bent ready in his skilful hand,
Drawn towards the eye; his shoulder well depressed,
And the left foot thrown forward as a rest.
Then was the Hermit-God to madness lashed,
Then from his eye red flames of fury flashed.
So changed the beauty of that glorious brow,
Scarce could the gaze support its terror now.
Hark! heavenly voices sighing through the air:
‘Be calm, great Śiva, O be calm and spare!’
Alas! that angry eye’s resistless flashes
Have scorched the gentle King of Love to ashes!
But Rati saw not, for she swooned away;
Senseless and breathless on the earth she lay;
Sleep while thou mayst, unconscious lady, sleep!
Soon wilt thou rise to sigh and wake to weep.
E’en as the red bolt rives the leafy bough,
So Śiva smote the hinderer of his vow;
Then fled with all his train to some lone place
Far from the witchery of a female face.
Sad was Himaláya’s daughter: grief and shame
O’er the young spirit of the maiden came:
Grief—for she loved, and all her love was vain;
Shame—she was spurned before her youthful train.
She turned away, with fear and woe oppressed,
To hide her sorrow on her father’s breast;
Then, in the fond arms of her pitying sire,
Closed her sad eyes for fear of Śiva’s ire.
Still in his grasp the weary maiden lay,
While he sped swiftly on his homeward way.
Thus have I seen the elephant stoop to drink,
And lift a lily from the fountain’s brink.
Thus, when he rears his mighty head on high,
Across his tusks I’ve seen that lily lie.

poem – rati’s lament

Sad, solitary, helpless, faint, forlorn,
Woke Káma’s darling from her swoon to mourn.
Too soon her gentle soul returned to know
The pangs of widowhood—that word of woe.
Scarce could she raise her, trembling, from the ground,
Scarce dared to bend her anxious gaze around,
Unconscious yet those greedy eyes should never
Feed on his beauty more—gone, gone for ever.
‘Speak to me, Káma! why so silent? give
One word in answer—doth my Káma live?’
There on the turf his dumb cold ashes lay,
Whose soul that fiery flash had scorched away.
She clasped the dank earth in her wild despair,
Her bosom stained, and rent her long bright hair,
Till hill and valley caught the mourner’s cry,
And pitying breezes echoed sigh for sigh.
‘Oh thou wast beautiful: fond lovers sware
Their own bright darlings were like Káma, fair.
Sure woman’s heart is stony: can it be
That I still live while this is all of thee?
Where art thou, Káma? Could my dearest leave
His own fond Rati here alone to grieve?
So must the sad forsaken lotus die
When her bright river leaves his channel dry.
Káma, dear Káma, call again to mind
How thou wast ever gentle, I was kind.
Let not my prayer, thy Rati’s prayer, be vain;
Come as of old, and bless these eyes again!
Wilt thou not hear me? Think of those sweet hours
When I would bind thee with my zone of flowers,
Those soft gay fetters o’er thee fondly wreathing,
Thine only punishment when gently breathing
In tones of love thy heedless sigh betrayed
The name, dear traitor! of some rival maid.
Then would I pluck a floweret from my tress
And beat thee till I forced thee to confess,
While in my play the falling leaves would cover
The eyes—the bright eyes—of my captive lover.
And then those words that made me, oh, so blest—
‘Dear love, thy home is in my faithful breast!’
Alas, sweet words, too blissful to be true,
Or how couldst thou have died, nor Rati perish too?
Yes, I will fly to thee, of thee bereft,
And leave this world which thou, my life, hast left.
Cold, gloomy, now this wretched world must be,
For all its pleasures came from only thee.
When night has veiled the city in its shade,
Thou, only thou, canst soothe the wandering maid,
And guide her trembling at the thunder’s roar
Safe through the darkness to her lover’s door.
In vain the wine-cup, as it circles by,
Lisps in her tongue and sparkles in her eye.
Long locks are streaming, and the cheek glows red:
But all is mockery, Love—dear Love—is dead.
The Moon, sweet spirit, shall lament for thee,
Late, dim, and joyless shall his rising be.
Days shall fly on, and he forget to take
His full bright glory, mourning for thy sake.
Say, Káma, say, whose arrow now shall be
The soft green shoot of thy dear mango tree,
The favourite spray which Köils love so well,
And praise in sweetest strain its wondrous spell?
This line of bees which strings thy useless bow
Hums mournful echo to my cries of woe.
Come in thy lovely shape and teach again
The Köil’s mate, that knows the tender strain,
Her gentle task to waft to longing ears
The lover’s hope, the distant lover’s fears.
Come, bring once more that ecstasy of bliss,
The fond dear look, the smile, and ah! that kiss!
Fainting with woe, my soul refuses rest
When memory pictures how I have been blest.
See, thou didst weave a garland, love, to deck
With all spring’s fairest buds thy Rati’s neck.
Sweet are those flowers as they were culled to-day,
And is my Káma’s form more frail than they?
His pleasant task my lover had begun,
But stern Gods took him ere the work was done;
Return, my Káma, at thy Rati’s cry,
And stain this foot which waits the rosy dye.
Now will I hie me to the fatal pile,
And ere heaven’s maids have hailed thee with a smile,
Or on my love their winning glances thrown,
I will be there, and claim thee for mine own.
Yet though I come, my lasting shame will be
That I have lived one moment after thee.
Ah, how shall I thy funeral rites prepare,
Gone soul and body to the viewless air?
‘With thy dear Spring I’ve seen thee talk and smile,
Shaping an arrow for thy bow the while.
Where is he now, thy darling friend, the giver
Of many a bright sweet arrow for thy quiver?
Is he too sent upon death’s dreary path,
Scorched by the cruel God’s inexorable wrath?’
Stricken in spirit by her cries of woe,
Like venomed arrows from a mighty bow,
A moment fled, and gentle Spring was there,
To ask her grief, to soothe her wild despair.
She beat her breast more wildly than before,
With greater floods her weeping eyes ran o’er.
When friends are nigh the spirit finds relief
In the full gushing torrent of its grief.
‘Turn, gentle friend, thy weeping eyes, and see
That dear companion who was all to me.
His crumbling dust with which the breezes play,
Bearing it idly in their course away,
White as the silver feathers of a dove,
Is all that’s left me of my murdered love.
Now come, my Káma. Spring, who was so dear,
Longs to behold thee. Oh, appear, appear!
Fickle to women Love perchance may bend
His ear to listen to a faithful friend.
Remember, he walked ever at thy side
O’er bloomy meadows in the warm spring-tide,
That Gods above, and men, and fiends below
Should own the empire of thy mighty bow,
That ruthless bow, which pierces to the heart,
Strung with a lotus-thread, a flower its dart.
As dies a torch when winds sweep roughly by,
So is my light for ever fled, and I,
The lamp his cheering rays no more illume,
Am wrapt in darkness, misery and gloom.
Fate took my love, and spared the widow’s breath,
Yet fate is guilty of a double death.
When the wild monster tramples on the ground
The tree some creeper garlands closely round,
Reft of the guardian which it thought so true,
Forlorn and withered, it must perish too.
Then come, dear friend, the true one’s pile prepare,
And send me quickly to my husband there.
Call it not vain: the mourning lotus dies
When the bright Moon, her lover, quits the skies.
When sinks the red cloud in the purple west,
Still clings his bride, the lightning, to his breast.
All nature keeps the eternal high decree:
Shall woman fail? I come, my love, to thee!
Now on the pile my faint limbs will I throw,
Clasping his ashes, lovely even so,—
As if beneath my weary frame were spread
Soft leaves and blossoms for a flowery bed.
And oh, dear comrade (for in happier hours
Oft have I heaped a pleasant bed of flowers
For thee and him beneath the spreading tree),
Now quickly raise the pile for Love and me.
And in thy mercy gentle breezes send
To fan the flame that wafts away thy friend,
And shorten the sad moments that divide
Impatient Káma from his Rati’s side;
Set water near us in a single urn,
We’ll sip in heaven from the same in turn;
And let thine offering to his spirit be
Sprays fresh and lovely from the mango tree,
Culled when the round young buds begin to swell,
For Káma loved those fragrant blossoms well.’
As Rati thus complained in faithful love,
A heavenly voice breathed round her from above,
Falling in pity like the gentle rain
That brings the dying herbs to life again:
‘Bride of the flower-armed God, thy lord shall be
Not ever distant, ever deaf to thee.
Give me thine ear, sad lady, I will tell
Why perished Káma, whom thou lovedst well.
The Lord of Life in every troubled sense
Too warmly felt his fair child’s influence.
He quenched the fire, but mighty vengeance came
On Káma, fanner of the unholy flame.
When Śiva by her penance won has led
Himálaya’s daughter to her bridal bed,
His bliss to Káma shall the God repay,
And give again the form he snatched away.
Thus did the gracious God, at Justice’ prayer,
The term of Love’s sad punishment declare.
The Gods, like clouds, are fierce and gentle too,
Now hurl the bolt, now dropp sweet heavenly dew.
Live, widowed lady, for thy lover’s arms
Shall clasp again—oh, fondly clasp—thy charms.
In summer-heat the streamlet dies away
Beneath the fury of the God of Day:
Then, in due season, comes the pleasant rain,
And all is fresh, and fair, and full again.’
Thus breathed the spirit from the viewless air,
And stilled the raging of her wild despair;
While Spring consoled with every soothing art,
Cheered by that voice from heaven, the mourner’s heart,
Who watched away the hours, so sad and slow,
That brought the limit of her weary woe,
As the pale moon, quenched by the conquering light
Of garish day, longs for its own dear night.

poem – pre winter

“Delightful are trees and fields with the outgrowth of new tender-leaves and crops, Lodhra trees are with their blossomy flowers, crops of rice are completely ripened, but now lotuses are on their surcease by far, for the dewdrops are falling… hence, this is the time of pre-winter that drew nigh…

“The busts of flirtatious women that are graced by bosomy bosoms are bedaubed and reddened with the redness of heart-stealing saffrony skincare, called Kashmir kumkum, on which embellished are the white pendants that are in shine with the whiteness of whitish dewdrops, white jasmines, and whitely moon…

“Undecorated are the hiplines of kittenish women with gem-studded golden strings of girdle, nor their lotus like feet that have the brightness of lotuses with jingling anklets, whose jingling is correlative to the clucks of swans, for the cold touch of coldish metal gives cold quivers…

“Unbearable is the touch of metallic circlets on wrists and bicep-lets on upper-arms of the couple of arms of vivacious women, or the touch of new silk cloths on the discoid of their waistline, or fine fabric on their robust breasts…

“The womenfolk are rubbing fragrant wood-turmeric powder on their bodies, and their lotus-like faces are tattooed with erasable tattoos of foliage, and their head-hair is fumigated with the fumes of aloe vera resin, and they are doing all this for merrymaking in an enjoyable lovemaking…

“Thoughgood fortune is bechanced in the happiness of lovemaking, the women of age are with sallowish and whitened faces owing to the strain of lovemaking, and though they want to laugh heartily, they desist from it, noticing very painful lower lips that are bitten with the edges of teeth of their lovers in lovemaking, lest the lip is lengthened, the pain is sharpened…

“On reaching the valleys of bosomy busts of women of age, the winter breeze is attaining their coolant splendidness, but when those bosoms are pressingly hugged by their lovers it is incarcerated there with an unable pain, and that pain is expressed by the Hemanta season, as though it is bewailing for a release of that breeze at least at dawn time, with tear-like dewdrops clinging on to the spires of grass-blades…

“Overspread with abundant rice crops and ornamented with herds of she-deer, and delightfully reverberated by the ruddy geese, with their calls and counter-calls, the complacent corridors of confines are captivating hearts…

“Now the lakes are adorned with fully blossomed black-lotuses, and elaborated with swan-like waterfowls in their excitement, and sheeted with considerably coldish waters that are depurated, thus these lakes are stealing the hearts of men, for men look up to them as the visages of women that are with black-lotus-like hairdo, with swanlike eyes, and whose bodies are cold, wanting a warm hug…

“Oh, dear, the Priyangu plants that give fragrant seeds are ripened by the snow caused coldness, and they are frequently wobbled by the snowy winds, and they now appear like the fragrant and frisky women gone into paleness and wobbliness by their dissociation from their lovers…

“These days the mouths of people are fragranced with the fragrance of liquors made from the essential oils of flowers, and their bodies are fragrant with the same fragrancy by their puffs of suspires, and while lying on beds jointly with their bodies in tight embrace, they are slipping into sleep, entwined with the essence of passion…

“The young and beautiful ladies that are new to their adulthood have bruises and marks of teeth notches on their lips, and even their bosoms are incised with nails of their lovers, thus these marks and incisions clearly indicate that they have enjoyed lovemaking consummately…

“Some woman of age staying in the warmth of tender sun to warm up herself, is holding a mirror and applying cosmetics on her lotus-like face, and while doing so, she is pouting her lips and examining them that are dented with teeth bites of her lover, whose quintessence is guzzled down by her lover in last night…

“One more woman whose body is fatigued by the strain of excessive lovemaking, and who is quiet sleepless last night, and whose eyes are palish like white lotuses, and whose bun is slithered and plaits of head-hair are loosened and hair tousling on her shoulders, bust, and on her bosoms, is tripping into sleep, warmed up by the rays of tender sun…

“Bedraggled are the loose ends of cloudlike blackish head-hair onto the lofty busty bosoms of some other slender-bodied women of age, by which busty weight crouching are their bodies, as slim pearly pendants would crouch onto their bosoms, and they are taking away the circlets of flowers from their hairdos, as those flowers are already utilised and devoid of their heart-pleasing fragrance of yester night, and now they are grooming their hair, afresh…

“On examining her body that is completely enjoyed by her lover, another woman is highly gladdened, and she remade her pleasant lips resplendently with lip-colouring, and on examining her bust with nail scratches, she embarrassedly wore her bodice, and while doing so the pain of friction of bodice with nail-scratches made her eyes to twitch, on which eyes dangling are her dark, delicate, and twitchy hair-curls…

“By the exertion in their long-lasting games of lovemaking other women of age are wearied, and their slim bodies are thrilling at their flanks from bosoms to thighs, thereby those prettily pretty women are applying bodily oils and pastes to take an oil bath, that relieves these tingling sensations…

“Pleasant with many an attribute, stealer of the hearts of women, and at which time the confines of villages are overspread with many an abundant rice-crop on earth, and overlaid is the sky with the garlanded flights of ruddy gees, that which is always with a heart-stealing environ, such as it is, let this season Hemanta, pre-winter, endow comfort to all of you passionate people…

poem – uma’s bridal

In light and glory dawned the expected day
Blest with a kindly star’s auspicious ray,
When gaily gathered at Himálaya’s call
His kinsmen to the solemn festival.
Through the broad city every dame’s awake
To grace the bridal for her monarch’s sake;
So great their love for him, this single care
Makes one vast household of the thousands there.
Heaven is not brighter than the royal street
Where flowers lie scattered ‘neath the nobles’ feet,
And banners waving to the breeze unfold
Their silken broidery over gates of gold.
And she, their child, upon her bridal day
Bears her dear parents’ every thought away.
So, when from distant shores a friend returns,
With deeper love each inmost spirit burns.
So, when grim Death restores his prey again
Joy brighter shines from memory of pain.
Each noble matron of Himálaya’s race
Folds his dear Umá in a long embrace,
Pours blessings on her head, and prays her take
Some priceless jewel for her friendship’s sake.
With sweetest influence a star of power
Had joined the spotted moon: at that blest hour
To deck fair Umá many a noble dame
And many a gentle maid assiduous came.
And well she graced their toil, more brightly fair
With feathery grass and wild flowers in her hair.
A silken robe flowed free below her waist;
Her sumptuous head a glittering arrow graced.
So shines the young unclouded moon at last,
Greeting the sun, its darksome season past.
Sweet-scented Lodhra dust and Sandal dyed
The delicate beauties of the fair young bride,
Veiled with a soft light robe. Her tiring-girls
Then led her to a chamber decked with pearls
And paved with sapphires, where the lulling sound
Of choicest music breathed divinely round.
There o’er the lady’s limbs they poured by turns
Streams of pure water from their golden urns.
Fresh from the cooling bath the lovely maid
In fairest white her tender form arrayed.
So opens the Kása all her shining flowers
Lured from their buds by softly falling showers.
Then to a court with canopies o’erhead
A crowd of noble dames the maiden led—
A court for solemn rites, where gems and gold
Adorn the pillars that the roof uphold.
There on a couch they set her with her face
Turned toward the east. So lovely then the grace
Of that dear maid, so ravishing her smile,
E’en her attendants turned to gaze awhile;
For though the brightest gems around her lay,
Her brighter beauty stole their eyes away.
Through her long tresses one a chaplet wound,
And one with fragrant grass her temples crowned,
While o’er her head sweet clouds of incense rolled
To try and perfume every shining fold.
Bright dyes of saffron and the scented wood
Adorned her beauty, till the maiden stood
Fairer than Gangá when the Love-birds play
O’er sandy islets in her silvery bay.
To what rare beauty shall her maids compare
Her clear brow shaded by her glossy hair?
Less dazzling pure the lovely lotus shines
Flecked by the thronging bees in dusky lines.
Less bright the moon, when a dark band of cloud
Enhances beauties which it cannot shroud.
Behind her ear a head of barley drew
The eye to gaze upon its golden hue.
But then her cheek, with glowing saffron dyed,
To richer beauty called the glance aside.
Though from those lips, where Beauty’s guerdon lay,
The vermeil tints were newly washed away,
Yet o’er them, as she smiled, a ray was thrown
Of quivering brightness that was all their own.
‘Lay this dear foot upon thy lover’s head
Crowned with the moon,’ the laughing maiden said,
Who dyed her lady’s feet—no word spake she,
But beat her with her wreath in playful glee.
Then tiring-women took the jetty dye
To guard, not deck, the beauty of her eye,
Whose languid half-shut glances might compare
With lotus leaves just opening to the air;
And as fresh gems adorned her neck and arms,
So quickly changing grew the maiden’s charms,
Like some fair plant where bud succeeding bud
Unfolds new beauty; or a silver flood
Where gay birds follow quickly; or like night,
When crowding stars come forth in all their light.
Oft as the mirror would her glance beguile
She longed to meet her Lord’s approving smile.
Her tasteful skill the timid maid essays
To win one smile of love, one word of praise.
The happy mother took the golden dye
And raised to hers young Umá’s beaming eye.
Then swelled her bosom with maternal pride
As thus she decked her darling for a bride.
Oh, she had longed to trace on that fair brow
The nuptial line, yet scarce could mark it now.
On Umá’s rounded arm the woollen band
Was fixt securely by the nurse’s hand.
Blind with the tears that filled her swimming eye,
In vain the mother strove that band to tie.
Spotless as curling foam-flakes stood she there,
As yielding soft, as graceful and as fair:
Or like the glory of an autumn night
Robed by the full moon in a veil of light.
Then at her mother’s hest, the maid adored
The spirit of each high ancestral lord,
Nor failed she next the noble dames to greet,
And give due honour to their reverend feet.
They raised the maiden as she bowed her head:
‘Thine be the fulness of his love!’ they said.
Half of his being, blessing high as this
Can add no rapture to her perfect bliss.
Well-pleased Himálaya viewed the pomp and pride
Meet for his daughter, meet for Śiva’s bride;
Then sought the hall with all his friends to wait
The bridegroom’s coming with a monarch’s state.
Meanwhile by heavenly matrons’ care displayed
Upon Kuvera’s lofty mount were laid
The ornaments of Śiva, which of yore
At his first nuptials the bridegroom wore.
He laid his hand upon the dress, but how
Shall robes so sad, so holy, grace him now?
His own dire vesture took a shape as fair
As gentle bridegroom’s heart could wish to wear.
The withering skull that glazed the eye with dread,
Shone a bright coronal to grace his head.
That elephant’s hide the God had worn of old
Was now a silken robe inwrought with gold.
Ere this his body was with dust besprent:
With unguent now it shed delightful scent;
And that mid-eye which glittering like a star
Shot the wild terror of its glance afar—
So softly now its golden radiance beamed—
A mark of glory on his forehead seemed.
His twining serpents, destined still to be
The pride and honour of the deity,
Changed but their bodies: in each sparkling crest
The blazing gems still shone their loveliest.
What need of jewels on the brow of Him
Who wears the crescent moon? No spot may dim
Its youthful beauty, e’en in light of day
Shedding the glory of its quenchless ray.
Well-pleased the God in all his pride arrayed
Saw his bright image mirrored in the blade
Of the huge sword they brought; then calmly leant
On Nandi’s arm, and toward his bull he went,
Whose broad back covered with a tiger’s hide
Was steep to climb as Mount Kailása’s side.
Yet the dread monster humbly shrank for fear,
And bowed in reverence as his Lord drew near.
The matrons followed him, a saintly throng,
Their ear-rings waving as they dashed along:
Sweet faces, with such glories round them shed
As made the air one lovely lotus bed.
On flew those bright ones: Káli came behind,
The skulls that decked her rattling in the wind:
Like the dark rack that scuds across the sky,
With herald lightning and the crane’s shrill cry.
Hark! from the glorious bands that lead the way,
Harp, drum, and pipe, and shrilling trumpet’s bray,
Burst through the sky upon the startled ear
And tell the Gods the hour of worship’s near.
They came; the Sun presents a silken shade
Which heaven’s own artist for the God had made,
Gilding his brows, as though bright Gangá rolled
Adown his holy head her waves of gold.
She in her Goddess-shape divinely fair,
And Yamuná, sweet river-Nymph, were there,
Fanning their Lord, that fancy still might deem
Swans waved their pinions round each Lady of the Stream.
E’en Brahmá came, Creator, Lord of Might,
And Vishṇu glowing from the realms of light.
‘Ride on,’ they cried, ‘thine, thine for ever be
The strength, the glory, and the victory.’
To swell his triumph that high blessing came
Like holy oil upon the rising flame.
In those Three Persons the one God was shown,
Each first in place, each last,—not one alone;
Of Śiva, Vishṇu, Brahmá, each may be
First, second, third, among the Blessed Three.
By Indra led, each world-upholding Lord
With folded hands the mighty God adored.
In humble robes arrayed, the pomp and pride
Of glorious deity they laid aside.
They signed to Nandi, and the favourite’s hand
Guided his eye upon the suppliant band.
He spake to Vishṇu, and on Indra smiled,
To Brahmá bowed—the lotus’ mystic child.
On all the hosts of heaven his friendly eye
Beamed duly welcome as they crowded nigh.
The Seven Great Saints their blessings o’er him shed,
And thus in answer, with a smile, he said:
‘Hail, mighty Sages! hail, ye Sons of Light!
My chosen priests to celebrate this rite.’
Now in sweet tones the heavenly minstrels tell
His praise, beneath whose might Tripura fell.
He moves to go: from his moon-crest a ray
Sheds quenchless light on his triumphant way.
On through the air his swift bull bore him well,
Decked with the gold of many a tinkling bell;
Tossing from time to time his head on high,
Enwreathed with clouds as he flew racing by,
As though in furious charge he had uptorn
A bank of clay upon his mighty horn.
Swiftly they came where in its beauty lay
The city subject to Himálaya’s sway.
No foeman’s foot had ever trod those halls,
No foreign bands encamped around the walls.
Then Śiva’s glances fixed their eager hold
On that fair city as with threads of gold.
The God whose neck still gleams with cloudy blue
Burst on the wondering people’s upturned view,
And on the earth descended, from the path
His shafts once dinted in avenging wrath.
Forth from the gates a noble army poured
To do meet honour to the mighty Lord.
With all his friends on elephants of state
The King of Mountains passed the city gate,
So gaily decked, the princes all were seen
Like moving hills inwrapt in bowery green.
As the full rushing of two streams that pour
Beneath one bridge with loud tumultuous roar,
So through the city’s open gate streamed in
Mountains and Gods with tumult and with din.
So glorious was the sight, wonder and shame,
When Śiva bowed him, o’er the Monarch came;
He knew not he had bent his lofty crest
In reverent greeting to his heavenly guest
Himálaya, joying in the festive day,
Before the immortal bridegroom led the way
Where heaps of gay flowers burying half the feet
Lay breathing odours through the crowded street.
Careless of all beside, each lady’s eye
Must gaze on Śiva as the troop sweeps by.
One dark-eyed beauty will not stay to bind
Her long black tresses, floating unconfined
Save by her little hand; her flowery crown
Hanging neglected and unfastened down.
One from her maiden tore her foot away
On which the dye, all wet and streaming, lay,
And o’er the chamber rushing in her haste,
Where’er she stepped, a crimson footprint traced.
Another at the window takes her stand;
One eye is dyed,—the pencil in her hand.
Here runs an eager maid, and running, holds
Loose and ungirt her flowing mantle’s folds,
Whilst, as she strives to close the parting vest,
Its brightness gives new beauty to her breast.
Oh! what a sight! the crowded windows there
With eager faces excellently fair,
Like sweetest lilies, for their dark eyes fling
Quick glances quivering like the wild bee’s wing.
Onward in peerless glory Śiva passed;
Gay banners o’er his way their shadows cast,
Each palace dome, each pinnacle and height
Catching new lustre from his crest of light.
On swept the pageant: on the God alone
The eager glances of the dames were thrown;
On his bright form they fed the rapturous gaze,
And only turned to marvel and to praise:
‘Oh, well and wisely, such a lord to gain
The Mountain-Maid endured the toil and pain.
To be his slave were joy; but Oh, how blest
The wife—the loved one—lying on his breast!
Surely in vain, had not the Lord of Life
Matched this fond bridegroom and this loving wife,
Had been his wish to give the worlds a mould
Of perfect beauty! Falsely have they told
How the young flower-armed God was burnt by fire
At the red flash of Śiva’s vengeful ire.
No: jealous Love a fairer form confessed,
And cast away his own, no more the loveliest.
How glorious is the Mountain King, how proud
Earth’s stately pillar, girt about with cloud!
Now will he lift his lofty head more high,
Knit close to Śiva by this holy tie.’
Such words of praise from many a bright-eyed dame
On Śiva’s ear with soothing witchery came.
Through the broad streets ‘mid loud acclaim he rode,
And reached the palace where the King abode.
There he descended from his monster’s side,
As the sun leaves a cloud at eventide.
Leaning on Vishṇu’s arm he passed the door
Where mighty Brahmá entered in before.
Next Indra came, and all the host of heaven,
The noble Saints and those great Sages seven.
Then led they Śiva to a royal seat;
Fair gifts they brought, for such a bridegroom meet:
With all due rites, the honey and the milk,
Rich gems were offered and two robes of silk.
At length by skilful chamberlains arrayed
They led the lover to the royal maid.
Thus the fond Moon disturbs the tranquil rest
Of Ocean glittering with his foamy crest,
And leads him on, his proud waves swelling o’er,
To leap with kisses on the clasping shore.
He gazed on Umá. From his lotus eyes
Flashed out the rapture of his proud surprise.
Then calm the current of his spirit lay
Like the world basking in an autumn day.
They met; and true love’s momentary shame
O’er the blest bridegroom and his darling came.
Eye looked to eye, but, quivering as they met,
Scarce dared to trust the rapturous gazing yet.
In the God’s hand the priest has duly laid
The radiant fingers of the Mountain-Maid,
Bright, as if Love with his dear sprays of red
Had sought that refuge in his hour of dread.
From hand to hand the soft infection stole,
Till each confessed it in the inmost soul.
Fire filled his veins, with joy she trembled; such
The magic influence of that thrilling touch.
How grows their beauty, when two lovers stand
Eye fixt on eye, hand fondly linkt in hand!
Then how, unblamed, may mortal minstrel dare
To paint in words the beauty of that pair!
Around the fire in solemn rite they trod,
The lovely lady and the glorious God;
Like day and starry midnight when they meet
In the broad plains at lofty Meru’s feet.
Thrice at the bidding of the priest they came
With swimming eyes around the holy flame.
Then at his word the bride in order due
Into the blazing fire the parched grain threw,
And toward her face the scented smoke she drew,
Which softly wreathing o’er her fair cheek hung,
And round her ears in flower-like beauty clung.
As o’er the incense the sweet lady stooped,
The ear of barley from her tresses drooped,
And rested on her cheek, beneath the eye
Still brightly beaming with the jetty dye.
‘This flame be witness of your wedded life:
Be just, thou husband, and be true, thou wife!’
Such was the priestly blessing on the bride.
Eager she listened, as the earth when dried
By parching summer suns drinks deeply in
The first soft droppings when the rains begin.
‘Look, gentle Umá,’ cried her Lord, ‘afar
Seest thou the brightness of yon polar star?
Like that unchanging ray thy faith must shine.’
Sobbing, she whispered, ‘Yes, for ever thine.’
The rite is o’er. Her joyful parents now
At Brahmá’s feet in duteous reverence bow.
Then to fair Umá spake the gracious Power
Who sits enthroned upon the lotus flower:
‘O beautiful lady, happy shalt thou be,
And hero children shall be born of thee;’
Then looked in silence: vain the hope to bless
The bridegroom, Śiva, with more happiness.
Then from the altar, as prescribed of old,
They turned, and rested upon seats of gold;
And, as the holy books for men ordain,
Were sprinkled duly with the moistened grain.
High o’er their heads sweet Beauty’s Queen displayed
Upon a stem of reed a cool green shade,
While the young lotus-leaves of which ’twas made
Seemed, as they glistened to the wondering view,
All richly pearled with drops of beady dew.
In twofold language on each glorious head
The Queen of Speech her richest blessings shed;
In strong, pure, godlike utterance for his ear,
To her in liquid tones, soft, beautifully clear.
Now for awhile they gaze where maids divine
In graceful play the expressive dance entwine;
Whose eloquent motions, with an actor’s art,
Show to the life the passions of the heart.
The rite was ended; then the heavenly band
Prayed Śiva, raising high the suppliant hand:
‘Now, for the dear sake of thy lovely bride,
Have pity on the gentle God,’ they cried,
‘Whose tender body thy fierce wrath has slain:
Give all his honour, all his might again.’
Well pleased, he smiled, and gracious answer gave:
Śiva himself now yields him Káma’s slave.
When duly given, the great will ne’er despise
The gentle pleading of the good and wise.
Now have they left the wedded pair alone;
And Śiva takes her hand within his own
To lead his darling to the bridal bower,
Decked with bright gold and all her sumptuous dower.
She blushes sweetly as her maidens there
Look with arch smiles and glances on the pair;
And for one moment, while the damsels stay,
From him she loves turns her dear face away.

poem – uma’s reward

Now woe to Umá, for young Love is slain,
Her Lord hath left her, and her hope is vain.
Woe, woe to Umá! how the Mountain-Maid
Cursed her bright beauty for its feeble aid!
‘Tis Beauty’s guerdon which she loves the best,
To bless her lover, and in turn be blest.
Penance must aid her now—or how can she
Win the cold heart of that stern deity?
Penance, long penance: for that power alone
Can make such love, so high a Lord, her own.
But, ah! how troubled was her mother’s brow
At the sad tidings of the mourner’s vow!
She threw her arms around her own dear maid,
Kissed, fondly kissed her, sighed, and wept, and prayed:
‘Are there no Gods, my child, to love thee here?
Frail is thy body, yet thy vow severe.
The lily, by the wild bee scarcely stirred,
Bends, breaks, and dies beneath the weary bird.’
Fast fell her tears, her prayer was strong, but still
That prayer was weaker than her daughter’s will.
Who can recall the torrent’s headlong force,
Or the bold spirit in its destined course?
She sent a maiden to her sire, and prayed
He for her sake would grant some bosky shade,
That she might dwell in solitude, and there
Give all her soul to penance and to prayer.
In gracious love the great Himálaya smiled,
And did the bidding of his darling child.
Then to that hill which peacocks love she came,
Known to all ages by the lady’s name.
Still to her purpose resolutely true,
Her string of noble pearls aside she threw,
Which, slipping here and there, had rubbed away
The sandal dust that on her bosom lay,
And clad her in a hermit coat of bark,
Rough to her gentle limbs, and gloomy dark,
Pressing too tightly, till her swelling breast
Broke into freedom through the unwonted vest.
Her matted hair was full as lovely now
As when ’twas braided o’er her polished brow.
Thus the sweet beauties of the lotus shine
When bees festoon it in a graceful line;
And, though the tangled weeds that crown the rill
Cling o’er it closely, it is lovely still.
With zone of grass the votaress was bound,
Which reddened the fair form it girdled round:
Never before the lady’s waist had felt
The ceaseless torment of so rough a belt.
Alas! her weary vow has caused to fade
The lovely colours that adorned the maid.
Pale is her hand, and her long finger-tips
Steal no more splendour from her paler lips,
Or, from the ball which in her play would rest,
Made bright and fragrant, on her perfumed breast.
Rough with the sacred grass those hands must be,
And worn with resting on her rosary.
Cold earth her couch, her canopy the skies,
Pillowed upon her arm the lady lies:
She who before was wont to rest her head
In the soft luxury of a sumptuous bed,
Vext by no troubles as she slumbered there,
But sweet flowers slipping from her loosened hair.
The maid put off, but only for awhile,
Her passioned glances and her witching smile.
She lent the fawn her moving, melting gaze,
And the fond creeper all her winning ways.
The trees that blossomed on that lonely mount
She watered daily from the neighbouring fount:
If she had been their nursing mother, she
Could not have tended them more carefully.
Not e’en her boy—her own bright boy—shall stay
Her love for them: her first dear children they.
Her gentleness had made the fawns so tame,
To her kind hand for fresh sweet grain they came,
And let the maid before her friends compare
Her own with eyes that shone as softly there.
Then came the hermits of the holy wood
To see the votaress in her solitude;
Grey elders came; though young the maid might seem,
Her perfect virtue must command esteem.
They found her resting in that lonely spot,
The fire was kindled, and no rite forgot.
In hermit’s mantle was she clad; her look
Fixt in deep thought upon the Holy Book.
So pure that grove: all war was made to cease,
And savage monsters lived in love and peace.
Pure was that grove: each newly built abode
Had leafy shrines where fires of worship glowed.
But far too mild her penance, Umá thought,
To win from heaven the lordly meed she sought.
She would not spare her form, so fair and frail,
If sterner penance could perchance prevail.
Oft had sweet pastime wearied her, and yet
Fain would she match in toil the anchoret.
Sure the soft lotus at her birth had lent
Dear Umá’s form its gentle element;
But gold, commingled with her being, gave
That will so strong, so beautifully brave.
Full in the centre of four blazing piles
Sate the fair lady of the winning smiles,
While on her head the mighty God of Day
Shot all the fury of his summer ray;
Yet her fixt gaze she turned upon the skies,
And quenched his splendour with her brighter eyes.
To that sweet face, though scorched by rays from heaven,
Still was the beauty of the lotus given,
Yet, worn by watching, round those orbs of light
A blackness gathered like the shades of night.
She cooled her dry lips in the bubbling stream,
And lived on Amrit from the pale moon-beam,
Sometimes in hunger culling from the tree
The rich ripe fruit that hung so temptingly.
Scorched by the fury of the noon-tide rays,
And fires that round her burned with ceaseless blaze,
Summer passed o’er her: rains of Autumn came
And throughly drenched the lady’s tender frame.
So steams the earth, when mighty torrents pour
On thirsty fields all dry and parched before.
The first clear rain-drops falling on her brow,
Gem it one moment with their light, and now
Kissing her sweet lip find a welcome rest
In the deep valley of the lady’s breast;
Then wander broken by the fall within
The mazy channels of her dimpled skin.
There as she lay upon her rocky bed,
No sumptuous roof above her gentle head,
Dark Night, her only witness, turned her eyes,
Red lightnings flashing from the angry skies,
And gazed upon her voluntary pain,
In wind, in sleet, in thunder, and in rain.
Still lay the maiden on the cold damp ground,
Though blasts of winter hurled their snows around,
Still pitying in her heart the mournful fate
Of those poor birds, so fond, so desolate,—
Doomed, hapless pair, to list each other’s moan
Through the long hours of night, sad and alone.
Chilled by the rain, the tender lotus sank:
She filled its place upon the streamlet’s bank.
Sweet was her breath as when that lovely flower
Sheds its best odour in still evening’s hour.
Red as its leaves her lips of coral hue:
Red as those quivering leaves they quivered too.
Of all stern penance it is called the chief
To nourish life upon the fallen leaf.
But even this the ascetic maiden spurned,
And for all time a glorious title earned.
Aparná—Lady of the unbroken fast—
Have sages called her, saints who knew the past.
Fair as the lotus fibres, soft as they,
In these stern vows she passed her night and day.
No mighty anchoret had e’er essayed
The ceaseless penance of this gentle maid.
There came a hermit: reverend was he
As Bráhmanhood’s embodied sanctity.
With coat of skin, with staff and matted hair,
His face was radiant, and he spake her fair.
Up rose the maid the holy man to greet,
And humbly bowed before the hermit’s feet.
Though meditation fill the pious breast,
It finds a welcome for a glorious guest:
The sage received the honour duly paid,
And fixed his earnest gaze upon the maid.
While through her frame unwonted vigour ran,
Thus, in his silver speech, the blameless saint began:
‘How can thy tender frame, sweet lady, bear
In thy firm spirit’s task its fearful share?
Canst thou the grass and fuel duly bring,
And still unwearied seek the freshening spring?
Say, do the creeper’s slender shoots expand,
Seeking each day fresh water from thy hand,
Till like thy lip each ruddy tendril glows,
That lip which, faded, still outreds the rose?
With loving glance the timid fawns draw nigh:
Say dost thou still with joy their wants supply?
For thee, O lotus-eyed, their glances shine,
Mocking the brightness of each look of thine.
O Mountain-Lady, it is truly said
That heavenly charms to sin have never led,
For even penitents may learn of thee
How pure, how gentle Beauty’s self may be.
Bright Gangá falling with her heavenly waves,
Himálaya’s head with sacred water laves,
Bearing the flowers the seven great Sages fling
To crown the forehead of the Mountain-King.
Yet do thy deeds, O bright-haired maiden, shed
A richer glory round his awful head.
Purest of motives, Duty leads thy heart:
Pleasure and gain therein may claim no part.
O noble maid, the wise have truly said
That friendship soon in gentle heart is bred.
Seven steps together bind the lasting tie:
Then bend on me, dear Saint, a gracious eye.
Fain, lovely Umá, would a Bráhman learn
What noble guerdon would thy penance earn.
Say, art thou toiling for a second birth,
Where dwells the great Creator? O’er the earth
Resistless sway? Or fair as Beauty’s Queen,
Peerless, immortal, shall thy form be seen?
The lonely soul bowed down by grief and pain,
By penance’ aid some gracious boon may gain.
But what, O faultless one, can move thy heart
To dwell in solitude and prayer apart?
Why should the cloud of grief obscure thy brow,
‘Mid all thy kindred, who so loved as thou?
Foes hast thou none: for what rash hand would dare
From serpent’s head the magic gem to tear?
Why dost thou seek the hermit’s garb to try,
Thy silken raiment and thy gems thrown by?
As though the sun his glorious state should leave,
Rayless to harbour ‘mid the shades of eve.
Wouldst thou win heaven by thy holy spells?
Already with the Gods thy father dwells.
A husband, lady? O forbear the thought,
A priceless jewel seeks not, but is sought.
Maiden, thy deep sighs tell me it is so;
Yet, doubtful still, my spirit seeks to know
Couldst thou e’er love in vain? What heart so cold
That hath not eagerly its worship told?
Ah! could the cruel loved one, thou fair maid,
Look with cold glances on that bright hair’s braid?
Thy locks are hanging loosely o’er thy brow,
Thine ear is shaded by no lotus now.
See, where the sun hath scorched that tender neck
Which precious jewels once were proud to deck.
Still gleams the line where they were wont to cling,
As faintly shows the moon’s o’ershadowed ring.
Now sure thy loved one, vain in beauty’s pride,
Dreamed of himself when wandering at thy side,
Or he would count him blest to be the mark
Of that dear eye, so soft, so lustrous dark.
But, gentle Umá, let thy labour cease;
Turn to thy home, fair Saint, and rest in peace.
By many a year of penance duly done
Rich store of merit has my labour won.
Take then the half, thy secret purpose name;
Nor in stern hardships wear thy tender frame.’
The holy Bráhman ceased: but Umá’s breast
In silence heaved, by love and fear opprest.
In mute appeal she turned her languid eye,
Darkened with weeping, not with softening dye,
To bid her maiden’s friendly tongue declare
The cherished secret of her deep despair:
‘Hear, holy Father, if thou still wouldst know,
Why her frail form endures this pain and woe,
As the soft lotus makes a screen to stay
The noontide fury of the God of Day.
Proudly disdaining all the blest above,
With heart and soul she seeks for Śiva’s love.
For him alone, the Trident-wielding God,
The thorny paths of penance hath she trod.
But since that mighty one hath Káma slain,
Vain every hope, and every effort vain.
E’en as life fled, a keen but flowery dart
Young Love, the Archer, aimed at Śiva’s heart.
The God in anger hurled the shaft away,
But deep in Umá’s tender soul it lay;
Alas, poor maid! she knows no comfort now,
Her soul’s on fire, her wild locks hide her brow.
She quits her father’s halls, and frenzied roves
The icy mountain and the lonely groves.
Oft as the maidens of the minstrel throng
To hymn great Śiva’s praises raised the song,
The lovelorn lady’s sobs and deep-drawn sighs
Drew tears of pity from their gentle eyes.
Wakeful and fevered in the dreary night
Scarce closed her eyes, and then in wild affright
Rang through the halls her very bitter cry,
‘God of the azure neck, why dost thou fly?’
While their soft bands her loving arms would cast
Hound the dear vision fading all too fast.
Her skilful hand, with true love-guided art,
Had traced the image graven on her heart.
‘Art thou all present? Dost thou fail to see
Poor Umá’s anguish and her love for thee?’
Thus oft in frenzied grief her voice was heard,
Chiding the portrait with reproachful word.
Long thus in vain for Śiva’s love she strove,
Then turned in sorrow to this holy grove.
Since the sad maid hath sought these forest glades
To hide her grief amid the dreary shades,
The fruit hath ripened on the spreading bough;
But ah! no fruit hath crowned her holy vow.
Her faithful friends alone must ever mourn
To see that beauteous form by penance worn,
But oh! that Śiva would some favour deign,
As Indra pitieth the parching plain!’
The maiden ceased: his secret joy dissembling,
The Bráhman turned to Umá pale and trembling:
‘And is it thus, or doth the maiden jest?
Is this the darling secret of thy breast?’
Scarce could the maid her choking voice command,
Or clasp her rosary with quivering hand:
‘O holy Sage, learned in the Vedas’ lore,
‘Tis even thus. Great Śiva I adore.
Thus would my steadfast heart his love obtain,
For this I gladly bear the toil and pain.
Surely the strong desire, the earnest will,
May win some favour from his mercy still.’
‘Lady,’ cried he, ‘that mighty Lord I know;
Ever his presence bringeth care and woe.
And wouldst thou still a second time prepare
The sorrows of his fearful life to share?
Deluded maid, how shall thy tender hand,
Decked with the nuptial bracelet’s jewelled band,
Be clasped in his, when fearful serpents twine
In scaly horror round that arm divine?
How shall thy robe, with gay flamingoes gleaming,
Suit with his coat of hide with blood-drops streaming?
Of old thy pathway led where flowerets sweet
Made pleasant carpets for thy gentle feet.
And e’en thy foes would turn in grief away
To see these vermeil-tinted limbs essay,
Where scattered tresses strew the mournful place,
Their gloomy path amid the tombs to trace.
On Śiva’s heart the funeral ashes rest,
Say, gentle lady, shall they stain thy breast,
Where the rich tribute of the Sandal trees
Sheds a pure odour on the amorous breeze?
A royal bride returning in thy state,
The king of elephants should bear thy weight.
How wilt thou brook the mockery and the scorn
When thou on Śiva’s bull art meanly borne?
Sad that the crescent moon his crest should be:
And shall that mournful fate be shared by thee?
His crest, the glory of the evening skies,
His bride, the moonlight of our wondering eyes!
Deformed is he, his ancestry unknown;
By vilest garb his poverty is shown.
O fawn-eyed lady, how should Śiva gain
That heart for which the glorious strive in vain
No charms hath he to win a maiden’s eye:
Cease from thy penance, hush the fruitless sigh!
Unmeet is he thy faithful heart to share,
Child of the Mountain, maid of beauty rare!
Not ‘mid the gloomy tombs do sages raise
The holy altar of their prayer and praise.’
Impatient Umá listened: the quick blood
Rushed to her temples in an angry flood.
Her quivering lip, her darkly-flashing eye
Told that the tempest of her wrath was nigh.
Proudly she spoke: ‘How couldst thou tell aright
Of one like Śiva, perfect, infinite?
‘Tis ever thus, the mighty and the just
Are scorned by souls that grovel in the dust.
Their lofty goodness and their motives wise
Shine all in vain before such blinded eyes.
Say who is greater, he who strives for power,
Or he who succours in misfortune’s hour?
Refuge of worlds, O how should Śiva deign
To look on men enslaved to paltry gain?
The spring of wealth himself, he careth naught
For the vile treasures that mankind have sought.
His dwelling-place amid the tombs may be,
Yet Monarch of the three great worlds is he.
What though no love his outward form may claim,
The stout heart trembles at his awful name.
Who can declare the wonders of his might?
The Trident-wielding God, who knows aright?
Whether around him deadly serpents twine,
Or if his jewelled wreaths more brightly shine;
Whether in rough and wrinkled hide arrayed,
Or silken robe, in glittering folds displayed;
If on his brow the crescent moon he bear,
Or if a shrunken skull be withering there;
The funeral ashes touched by him acquire
The glowing lustre of eternal fire;
Falling in golden showers, the heavenly maids
Delight to pour them on their shining braids.
What though no treasures fill his storehouse full,
What though he ride upon his horned bull,
Not e’en may Indra in his pride withhold
The lowly homage that is his of old,
But turns his raging elephant to meet
His mighty Lord, and bows before his feet,
Right proud to colour them rich rosy red
With the bright flowers that deck his prostrate head.
Thy slanderous tongue proclaims thy evil mind,
Yet in thy speech one word of truth we find.
Unknown thou call’st him: how should mortal man
Count when the days of Brahmá’s Lord began?
But cease these idle words: though all be true,
His failings many and his virtues few,
Still clings my heart to him, its chosen lord,
Nor fails nor falters at thy treacherous word.
Dear maiden, bid yon eager boy depart:
Why should the slanderous tale defile his heart?
Most guilty who the faithless speech begins,
But he who stays to listen also sins.’
She turned away: with wrath her bosom swelling,
Its vest of bark in angry pride repelling:
But sudden, lo, before her wondering eyes
In altered form she sees the sage arise;
‘Tis Śiva’s self before the astonished maid,
In all his gentlest majesty displayed.
She saw, she trembled, like a river’s course,
Checked for a moment in its onward force,
By some huge rock amid the torrent hurled
Where erst the foaming waters madly curled.
One foot uplifted, shall she turn away?
Unmoved the other, shall the maiden stay?
The silver moon on Śiva’s forehead shone,
While softly spake the God in gracious tone:
‘O gentle maiden, wise and true of soul,
Lo, now I bend beneath thy sweet control.
Won by thy penance, and thy holy vows,
Thy willing slave Śiva before thee bows.’
He spake, and rushing through her languid frame,
At his dear words returning vigour came.
She knew but this, that all her cares were o’er,
Her sorrows ended, she should weep no more!

Poem – The Address of Brahma

While impious Tárak in resistless might
Was troubling heaven and earth with wild affright,
To Brahmá’s high abode, by Indra led,
The mournful deities for refuge fled.
As when the Day-God’s loving beams awake
The lotus slumbering on the silver lake,
So Brahmá deigned his glorious face to show,
And poured sweet comfort on their looks of woe.
Then nearer came the suppliant Gods to pay
Honour to him whose face turns every way.
They bowed them low before the Lord of Speech,
And sought with truthful words his heart to reach:
‘Glory to Thee! before the world was made,
One single form thy Majesty displayed.
Next Thou, to body forth the mystic Three,
Didst fill three Persons: Glory, Lord, to Thee!
Unborn and unbegotten! from thy hand
The fruitful seed rained down; at thy command
From that small germ o’er quickening waters thrown
All things that move not, all that move have grown.
Before thy triple form in awe they bow:
Maker, preserver, and destroyer, Thou!
Thou, when a longing urged thee to create,
Thy single form in twain didst separate.
The Sire, the Mother that made all things be
By their first union were but parts of Thee.
From them the life that fills this earthly frame,
And fruitful Nature, self-renewing, came.
Thou countest not thy time by mortals’ light;
With Thee there is but one vast day and night.
When Brahmá slumbers fainting Nature dies,
When Brahmá wakens all again arise.
Creator of the world, and uncreate!
Endless! all things from Thee their end await.
Before the world wast Thou! each Lord shall fall
Before Thee, mightiest, highest, Lord of all.
Thy self-taught soul thine own deep spirit knows;
Made by thyself thy mighty form arose;
Into the same, when all things have their end,
Shall thy great self, absorbed in Thee, descend.
Lord, who may hope thy essence to declare?
Firm, yet as subtile as the yielding air:
Fixt, all-pervading; ponderous, yet light,
Patent to all, yet hidden from the sight.
Thine are the sacred hymns which mortals raise,
Commencing ever with the word of praise,
With three-toned chant the sacrifice to grace,
And win at last in heaven a blissful place.
They hail Thee Nature labouring to free
The Immortal Soul from low humanity;
Hail Thee the stranger Spirit, unimpressed,
Gazing on Nature from thy lofty rest.
Father of fathers, God of gods art thou,
Creator, highest, hearer of the vow!
Thou art the sacrifice, and Thou the priest,
Thou, he that eateth; Thou, the holy feast.
Thou art the knowledge which by Thee is taught,
The mighty thinker, and the highest thought!’
Pleased with their truthful praise, his favouring eye
He turned upon the dwellers in the sky,
While from four mouths his words in gentle flow
Come welling softly to assuage their woe:
‘Welcome! glad welcome, Princes! ye who hold
Your lofty sovereignties ordained of old.
But why so mournful? what has dimmed your light?
Why shine your faces less divinely bright?
Like stars that pour forth weaker, paler gleams,
When the fair moon with brighter radiance beams.
O say, in vain doth mighty Indra bear
The thunderbolt of heaven, unused to spare?
Vritra, the furious fiend, ’twas strong to slay:
Why dull and blunted is that might to-day?
See, Varun’s noose hangs idly on his arm,
Like some fell serpent quelled by magic charm.
Weak is Kuvera’s hand, his arm no more
Wields the dread mace it once so proudly bore;
But like a tree whose boughs are lopped away,
It tells of piercing woe, and dire dismay.
In days of yore how Yama’s sceptre shone!
Fled are its glories, all its terrors gone;
Despised and useless as a quenched brand,
All idly now it marks the yielding sand.
Fallen are the Lords of Light, ere now the gaze
Shrank from the coming of their fearful blaze;
So changed are they, the undazzled eye may see
Like pictured forms, each rayless deity.
Some baffling power has curbed the breezes’ swell:
Vainly they chafe against the secret spell.
We know some barrier checks their wonted course,
When refluent waters seek again their source.
The Rudras too—fierce demigods who bear
The curved moon hanging from their twisted hair—
Tell by their looks of fear, and shame, and woe,
Of threats now silenced, of a mightier foe.
Glory and power, ye Gods, were yours of right:
Have ye now yielded to some stronger might,
Even as on earth a general law may be
Made powerless by a special text’s decree?
Then say, my sons, why seek ye Brahmá’s throne?
‘Tis mine to frame the worlds, and yours to guard your own.’
Then Indra turned his thousand glorious eyes,
Glancing like lilies when the soft wind sighs,
And in the Gods’ behalf, their mighty chief
Urged the Most Eloquent to tell their grief.
Then rose the heavenly Teacher, by whose side
Dim seemed the glories of the Thousand-eyed,
And with his hands outspread, to Brahmá spake,
Couched on his own dear flower, the daughter of the lake:
‘O mighty Being! surely thou dost know
The unceasing fury of our ruthless foe;
For thou canst see the secret thoughts that lie
Deep in the heart, yet open to thine eye.
The vengeful Tárak, in resistless might,
Like some dire Comet, gleaming wild affright,
O’er all the worlds an evil influence sheds,
And, in thy favour strong, destruction spreads.
All bow before him: on his palace wall
The sun’s first ray and parting splendour fall;
Ne’er could he waken with a lovelier glance
His own dear lotus from her nightly trance.
For him, proud fiend, the moon no waning knows,
But with unminished full-orbed lustre glows.
Too faint for him the crescent glory set
Amid the blaze of Śiva’s coronet.
How fair his garden, where the obedient breeze
Dares steal no blossom from the slumbering trees!
The wild wind checks his blustering pinions there,
And gently whispering fans the balmy air;
While through the inverted year the seasons pour,
To win the demon’s grace, their flowery store.
For him, the River-god beneath the stream,
Marks the young pearl increase its silver gleam,
Until, its beauty and its growth complete,
He bears the offering to his master’s feet.
The Serpents, led by Vásuki, their king,
Across his nightly path their lustre fling;
Bright as a torch their flashing jewels blaze,
Nor wind, nor rain, can dim their dazzling rays.
E’en Indra, sovereign of the blissful skies,
To gain his love by flattering homage tries,
And sends him oft those flowers of wondrous hue
That on the heavenly tree in beauty grew.
Yet all these offerings brought from day to day,
This flattery, fail his ruthless hand to stay.
Earth, hell, and heaven, beneath his rage must groan,
Till force can hurl him from his evil throne.
Alas! where glowed the bright celestial bowers,
And gentle fair ones nursed the opening flowers,
Where heavenly trees a heavenly odour shed,
O’er a sad desert ruin reigns instead.
He roots up Meru’s sacred peaks, where stray
The fiery coursers of the God of Day,
To form bright slopes, and glittering mounds of ease,
In the broad gardens of his palaces.
There, on his couch, the mighty lord is fanned
To sweetest slumber by a heavenly band;
Poor captive nymphs, who stand in anguish by,
dropp the big tear, and heave the ceaseless sigh.
And now have Indra’s elephants defiled
The sparkling stream where heavenly Gangá smiled,
And her gold lotuses the fiend has taken
To deck his pools, and left her all forsaken.
The Gods of heaven no more delight to roam
O’er all the world, far from their glorious home.
They dread the demon’s impious might, nor dare
Speed their bright chariots through the fields of air.
And when our worshippers in duty bring
The appointed victims for the offering,
He tears them from the flame with magic art,
While we all powerless watch with drooping heart.
He too has stolen from his master’s side
The steed of heavenly race, great Indra’s pride.
No more our hosts, so glorious once, withstand
The fierce dominion of the demon’s hand,
As herbs of healing virtue fail to tame
The sickness raging through the infected frame.
Idly the discus hangs on Vishṇu’s neck,
And our last hope is vain, that it would check
The haughty Tárak’s might, and flash afar
Ruin and death—the thunderbolt of war.
E’en Indra’s elephant has felt the might
Of his fierce monsters in the deadly fight,
Which spurn the dust in fury, and defy
The threatening clouds that sail along the sky.
Therefore, O Lord, we seek a chief, that he
May lead the hosts of heaven to victory,
Even as holy men who long to sever
The immortal spirit from its shell for ever,
Seek lovely Virtue’s aid to free the soul
From earthly ties and action’s base control.
Thus shall he save us: proudly will we go
Under his escort ‘gainst the furious foe;
And Indra, conqueror in turn, shall bring
Fortune, dear captive, home with joy and triumphing.’
Sweet as the rains—the fresh’ning rains—that pour
On the parched earth when thunders cease to roar,
Were Brahmá’s words: ‘Gods, I have heard your grief;
Wait ye in patience: time will bring relief.
‘Tis not for me, my children, to create
A chief to save you from your mournful fate.
Not by my hand the fiend must be destroyed,
For my kind favour has he once enjoyed;
And well ye know that e’en a poisonous tree
By him who planted it unharmed should be.
He sought it eagerly, and long ago
I gave my favour to your demon-foe,
And stayed his awful penance, that had hurled
Flames, death, and ruin o’er the subject world.
When that great warrior battles for his life,
O, who may conquer in the deadly strife,
Save one of Śiva’s seed? He is the light,
Reigning supreme beyond the depths of night.
Nor I, nor Vishṇu, his full power may share,
Lo, where he dwells in solitude and prayer!
Go, seek the Hermit in the grove alone,
And to the God be Umá’s beauty shown.
Perchance, the Mountain-child, with magnet’s force,
May turn the iron from its steadfast course,
Bride of the mighty God; for only she
Can bear to Him as water bears to me.
Then from their love a mighty Child shall rise,
And lead to war the armies of the skies.
Freed by his hand, no more the heavenly maids
Shall twine their glittering hair in mournful braids.’
He spake, and vanished from their wondering sight;
And they sped homeward to their world of light.
But Indra, still on Brahmá’s words intent,
To Káma’s dwelling-place his footsteps bent.
Swiftly he came: the yearning of his will
Made Indra’s lightning course more speedy still.
The Love-God, armed with flowers divinely sweet,
In lowly homage bowed before his feet.
Around his neck, where bright love-tokens clung,
Arched like a maiden’s brow, his bow was hung,
And blooming Spring, his constant follower, bore
The mango twig, his weapon famed of yore.

Poem – Uma’s Nativity

Far in the north Himálaya, lifting high
His towery summits till they cleave the sky,
Spans the wide land from east to western sea,
Lord of the hills, instinct with deity.
For him, when Prithu ruled in days of old
The rich earth, teeming with her gems and gold,
The vassal hills and Meru drained her breast,
To deck Himálaya, for they loved him best;
And earth, the mother, gave her store to fill
With herbs and sparkling ores the royal hill.
Proud mountain-king! his diadem of snow
Dims not the beauty of his gems below.
For who can gaze upon the moon, and dare
To mark one spot less brightly glorious there?[Pg 2]
Who, ‘mid a thousand virtues, dares to blame
One shade of weakness in a hero’s fame?
Oft, when the gleamings of his mountain brass
Flash through the clouds and tint them as they pass,
Those glories mock the hues of closing day,
And heaven’s bright wantons hail their hour of play;
Try, ere the time, the magic of their glance,
And deck their beauty for the twilight dance.
Dear to the sylphs are the cool shadows thrown
By dark clouds wandering round the mountain’s zone,
Till frightened by the storm and rain they seek
Eternal sunshine on each loftier peak.
Far spread the wilds where eager hunters roam,
Tracking the lion to his dreary home.
For though the melting snow has washed away
The crimson blood-drops of the wounded prey,
Still the fair pearls that graced his forehead tell
Where the strong elephant, o’ermastered, fell,
And clinging to the lion’s claws, betray,
Falling at every step, the mighty conqueror’s way.
There birch-trees wave, that lend their friendly aid
To tell the passion of the love-lorn maid,
So quick to learn in metal tints to mark
Her hopes and fears upon the tender bark.
List! breathing from each cave, Himálaya leads
The glorious hymn with all his whispering reeds,[Pg 3]
Till heavenly minstrels raise their voice in song,
And swell his music as it floats along.
There the fierce elephant wounds the scented bough
To ease the torment of his burning brow;
And bleeding pines their odorous gum distil
To breathe rare fragrance o’er the sacred hill.
There magic herbs pour forth their streaming light
From mossy caverns through the darksome night,
And lend a torch to guide the trembling maid
Where waits her lover in the leafy shade.
Yet hath he caves within whose inmost cells
In tranquil rest the murky darkness dwells,
And, like the night-bird, spreads the brooding wing
Safe in the shelter of the mountain-king,
Unscorned, uninjured; for the good and great
Spurn not the suppliant for his lowly state.
Why lingers yet the heavenly minstrel’s bride
On the wild path that skirts Himálaya’s side?
Cold to her tender feet—oh, cold—the snow,
Why should her steps—her homeward steps—be slow?
‘Tis that her slender ankles scarce can bear
The weight of beauty that impedes her there;
Each rounded limb, and all her peerless charms,
That broad full bosom, those voluptuous arms.[Pg 4]
E’en the wild kine that roam his forests bring
The royal symbols to the mountain-king.
With tails outspread, their bushy streaming hair
Flashes like moonlight through the parted air.
What monarch’s fan more glorious might there be,
More meet to grace a king as proud as he?
There, when the nymphs, within the cave’s recess,
In modest fear their gentle limbs undress,
Thick clouds descending yield a friendly screen,
And blushing beauty bares her breast unseen.
With pearly dewdrops Gangá loads the gale
That waves the dark pines towering o’er the vale,
And breathes in welcome freshness o’er the face
Of wearied hunters when they quit the chase.
So far aloft, amid Himálayan steeps,
Crouched on the tranquil pool the lotus sleeps,
That the bright Seven who star the northern sky
Cull the fair blossoms from their seats on high;
And when the sun pours forth his morning glow
In streams of glory from his path below,
They gain new beauty as his kisses break
His darlings’ slumber on the mountain lake.
Well might that ancient hill by merit claim
The power and glory of a monarch’s name;[Pg 5]
Nurse of pure herbs that grace each holy rite,
Earth’s meetest bearer of unyielding might.
The Lord of Life for this ordained him king,
And bade him share the sacred offering.
Gladly obedient to the law divine,
He chose a consort to prolong his line.
No child of earth, born of the Sage’s will,
The fair nymph Mená pleased the sovran hill.
To her he sued, nor was his prayer denied,
The Saints’ beloved was the mountain’s bride.
Crowned with all bliss and beauty were the pair,
He passing glorious, she was heavenly fair.
Swiftly the seasons, winged with love, flew on,
And made her mother of a noble son,
The great Maináka, who in triumph led
His Serpent beauties to the bridal bed;
And once when Indra’s might those pinions rent
That bare the swift hills through the firmament,
(So fierce his rage, no mountain could withstand
The wild bolt flashing from his red right hand,)
He fled to Ocean, powerful to save,
And hid his glory ‘neath the friendly wave.
A gentle daughter came at length to bless
The royal mother with her loveliness;
Born once again, for in an earlier life
High fame was hers, as Śiva’s faithful wife.[Pg 6]
But her proud sire had dared the God to scorn;
Then was her tender soul with anguish torn,
And jealous for the lord she loved so well,
Her angered spirit left its mortal cell.
Now deigned the maid, a lovely boon, to spring
From that pure lady and the mountain-king.
When Industry and Virtue meet and kiss,
Holy their union, and the fruit is bliss.
Blest was that hour, and all the world was gay,
When Mená’s daughter saw the light of day.
A rosy glow suffused the brightening sky;
An odorous breeze came sweeping softly by.
Breathed round the hill a sweet unearthly strain,
And the glad heavens poured down their flowery rain.
That fair young maiden diademmed with light
Made her dear mother’s fame more sparkling bright.
As the blue offspring of the Turquois Hills
The parent mount with richer glory fills,
When the cloud’s voice has caused the gem to spring,
Responsive to its gentle thundering.
Then was it sweet, as days flew by, to trace
The dawning charm of every infant grace,
Even as the crescent moons their glory pour
More full, more lovely than the eve before.
As yet the maiden was unknown to fame;
Child of the Mountain was her only name.[Pg 7]
But when her mother, filled with anxious care
At her stern penance, cried Forbear! Forbear!
To a new title was the warning turned,
And Umá was the name the maiden earned.
Loveliest was she of all his lovely race,
And dearest to her father. On her face
Looking with love he ne’er could satisfy
The thirsty glances of a parent’s eye.
When spring-tide bids a thousand flowerets bloom
Loading the breezes with their rich perfume,
Though here and there the wandering bee may rest,
He loves his own—his darling mango—best.
The Gods’ bright river bathes with gold the skies,
And pure sweet eloquence adorns the wise.
The flambeau’s glory is the shining fire;
She was the pride, the glory of her sire,
Shedding new lustre on his old descent,
His loveliest child, his richest ornament.
The sparkling Gangá laved her heavenly home,
And o’er her islets would the maiden roam
Amid the dear companions of her play
With ball and doll to while the hours away.
As swans in autumn in assembling bands
Fly back to Gangá’s well-remembered sands:
As herbs beneath the darksome shades of night
Collect again their scattered rays of light:[Pg 8]
So dawned upon the maiden’s waking mind
The far-off memory of her life resigned,
And all her former learning in its train,
Feelings, and thoughts, and knowledge came again.
Now beauty’s prime, that craves no artful aid,
Ripened the loveliness of that young maid:
That needs no wine to fire the captive heart,—
The bow of Love without his flowery dart.
There was a glory beaming from her face,
With love’s own light, and every youthful grace:
Ne’er had the painter’s skilful hand portrayed
A lovelier picture than that gentle maid;
Ne’er sun-kissed lily more divinely fair
Unclosed her beauty to the morning air.
Bright as a lotus, springing where she trod,
Her glowing feet shed radiance o’er the sod.
That arching neck, the step, the glance aside,
The proud swans taught her as they stemmed the tide,
Whilst of the maiden they would fondly learn
Her anklets’ pleasant music in return.
When the Almighty Maker first began
The marvellous beauty of that child to plan,
In full fair symmetry each rounded limb
Grew neatly fashioned and approved by Him:
The rest was faultless, for the Artist’s care
Formed each young charm most excellently fair,[Pg 9]
As if his moulding hand would fain express
The visible type of perfect loveliness.
What thing of beauty may the poet dare
With the smooth wonder of those limbs compare?
The young tree springing by the brooklet’s side?
The rounded trunk, the forest-monarch’s pride?
Too rough that trunk, too cold that young tree’s stem;
A softer, warmer thing must vie with them.
Her hidden beauties though no tongue may tell,
Yet Śiva’s love will aid the fancy well:
No other maid could deem her boasted charms
Worthy the clasp of such a husband’s arms.
Between the partings of fair Umá’s vest
Came hasty glimpses of a lovely breast:
So closely there the sweet twin hillocks rose,
Scarce could the lotus in the vale repose.
And if her loosened zone e’er slipped below,
All was so bright beneath the mantle’s flow,
So dazzling bright, as if the maid had braced
A band of gems to sparkle round her waist;
And the dear dimples of her downy skin
Seemed fitting couch for Love to revel in.
Her arms were softer than the flowery dart,
Young Káma’s arrow, that subdues the heart;
For vain his strife with Śiva, till at last
He chose those chains to bind his conqueror fast.[Pg 10]
E’en the new moon poured down a paler beam
When her long fingers flashed their rosy gleam,
And brighter than Aśoka’s blossom threw
A glory round, like summer’s evening hue.
The strings of pearl across her bosom thrown
Increased its beauty, and enhanced their own,—
Her breast, her jewels seeming to agree,
The adorner now, and now the adorned to be.
When Beauty gazes on the fair full moon,
No lotus charms her, for it blooms at noon:
If on that flower she feed her raptured eye,
No moon is shining from the mid-day sky;
She looked on Umá’s face, more heavenly fair,
And found their glories both united there.
The loveliest flower that ever opened yet
Laid in the fairest branch: a fair pearl set
In richest coral, with her smile might vie
Flashing through lips bright with their rosy dye.
And when she spoke, upon the maiden’s tongue,
Distilling nectar, such rare accents hung,
The sweetest note that e’er the Koïl poured
Seemed harsh and tuneless as a jarring chord.
The melting glance of that soft liquid eye,
Tremulous like lilies when the breezes sigh,
Which learnt it first—so winning and so mild—
The gentle fawn, or Mená’s gentler child?[Pg 11]
And oh, the arching of her brow! so fine
Was the rare beauty of its pencilled line,
Love gazed upon her forehead in despair
And spurned the bow he once esteemed so fair:
Her long bright tresses too might shame the pride
Of envious yaks who roamed the mountain-side.
Surely the Maker’s care had been to bring
From Nature’s store each sweetest, loveliest thing,
As if the world’s Creator would behold
All beauty centred in a single mould.
When holy Nárad—Saint who roams at will—
First saw the daughter of the royal hill,
He hailed the bride whom Śiva’s love should own
Half of himself, and partner of his throne.
Himálaya listened, and the father’s pride
Would yield the maiden for no other’s bride:
To Fire alone of all bright things we raise
The holy hymn, the sacrifice of praise.
But still the monarch durst not, could not bring
His child, unsought, to Heaven’s supremest King;
But as a good man fears his earnest prayer
Should rise unheeded, and with thoughtful care
Seeks for some friend his eager suit to aid,
Thus great Himálaya in his awe delayed.[Pg 12]
Since the sad moment when his gentle bride
In the full glory of her beauty died,
The mournful Śiva in the holy grove
Had dwelt in solitude, and known not love.
High on that hill where musky breezes throw
Their balmy odours o’er eternal snow;
Where heavenly minstrels pour their notes divine,
And rippling Gangá laves the mountain pine,
Clad in a coat of skin all rudely wrought
He lived for prayer and solitary thought.
The faithful band that served the hermit’s will
Lay in the hollows of the rocky hill,
Where from the clefts the dark bitumen flowed.
Tinted with mineral dyes their bodies glowed;
Clad in rude mantles of the birch-tree’s rind,
With bright red garlands was their hair entwined.
The holy bull before his master’s feet
Shook the hard-frozen earth with echoing feet,
And as he heard the lion’s roaring swell
In distant thunder from the rocky dell,
In angry pride he raised his voice of fear
And from the mountain drove the startled deer.
Bright fire—a shape the God would sometimes wear
Who takes eight various forms—was glowing there.
Then the great deity who gives the prize
Of penance, prayer, and holy exercise,[Pg 13]
As though to earn the meed he grants to man,
Himself the penance and the pain began.
Now to that holy lord, to whom is given
Honour and glory by the Gods in heaven,
The worship of a gift Himálaya paid,
And towards his dwelling sent the lovely maid;
Her task, attended by her youthful train,
To woo his widowed heart to love again.
The hermit welcomed with a courteous brow
That gentle enemy of hermit vow.
The still pure breast where Contemplation dwells
Defies the charmer and the charmer’s spells.
Calm and unmoved he viewed the wondrous maid,
And bade her all his pious duties aid.
She culled fresh blossoms at the God’s command,
Sweeping the altar with a careful hand;
The holy grass for sacred rites she sought,
And day by day the fairest water brought.
And if the unwonted labour caused a sigh,
The fair-haired lady turned her languid eye
Where the pale moon on Śiva’s forehead gleamed,
And swift through all her frame returning vigour streamed.

Poem – The Cloud Messenger – Part 01

A certain yaksha who had been negligent in the execution of his own duties,
on account of a curse from his master which was to be endured for a year and
which was onerous as it separated him from his beloved, made his residence
among the hermitages of Ramagiri, whose waters were blessed by the bathing
of the daughter of Janaka1 and whose shade trees grew in profusion.

That lover, separated from his beloved, whose gold armlet had slipped from
his bare forearm, having dwelt on that mountain for some months, on the first
day of the month of Asadha, saw a cloud embracing the summit, which
resembled a mature elephant playfully butting a bank.

Managing with difficulty to stand up in front of that cloud which was the
cause of the renewal of his enthusiasm, that attendant of the king of kings,
pondered while holding back his tears. Even the mind of a happy person is
excited at the sight of a cloud. How much more so, when the one who longs to
cling to his neck is far away?

As the month of Nabhas was close at hand, having as his goal the sustaining
of the life of his beloved and wishing to cause the tidings of his own welfare
to be carried by the cloud, the delighted being spoke kind words of welcome
to the cloud to which offerings of fresh kutaja flowers had been made.

Owing to his impatience, not considering the imcompatibility between a cloud
consisting of vapour, light, water and wind and the contents of his message
best delivered by a person of normal faculties, the yaksha made this request to
the cloud, for among sentient and non-sentient things, those afflicted by desire
are naturally miserable:

Without doubt, your path unimpeded, you will see your brother’s wife, intent
on counting the days, faithful and living on. The bond of hope generally
sustains the quickly sinking hearts of women who are alone, and which wilt
like flowers.

Just as the favourable wind drives you slowly onward, this cataka cuckoo,
your kinsman, calls sweetly on the left. Knowing the season for fertilisation,
cranes, like threaded garlands in the sky, lovely to the eye, will serve you.

Your steady passage observed by charming female siddhas who in trepidation
wonder ‘Has the summit been carried off the mountain by the wind?’, you
who are heading north, fly up into the sky from this place where the nicula
trees flourish, avoiding on the way the blows of the trunks of the elephants of
the four quarters of the sky.

This rainbow, resembling the intermingled sparkling of jewels, appears before
Mt Valmikagra, on account of which your dark body takes on a particular
loveliness, as did the body of Vishnu dressed as a cowherd with the peacock’s
feather of glistening lustre.

While being imbibed by the eyes of the country women who are ignorant of
the play of the eyebrows, who are tender in their affection, and who are
thinking ‘The result of the harvest depends on you’, having ascended to a
region whose fields are fragrant from recent ploughing, you should proceed a
little to the west. Your pace is swift. Go north once more.

Mt Amrakuta will carefully bear you upon its head—you whose showers
extinguished its forest fires and who are overcome by fatigue of the road.
Even a lowly being, remembering an earlier kind deed, does not turn its back
on a friend who has come for refuge; how much less, then, one so lofty?

When you, remembling a glossy braid of hair, have ascended its summit, the
mountain whose slopes are covered with forest mangoes, glowing with ripe
fruit, takes on the appearance of a breast of the earth, dark at the centre, the
rest pale, worthy to be beheld by a divine couple.

Having rested for a moment at a bower enjoyed by the forest-dwelling
women, then travelling more swiftly when your waters have been discharged,
the next stage thence is crossed. You will see the river Reva spread at the foot
of Mt Vandhya, made rough with rocks and resembling the pattern formed by
the broken wrinkles on the body of an elephant.

Your showers shed, having partaken of her waters that are scented with the
fragrant exudation of forest elephants and whose flow is impeded by thickets
of rose-apples, you should proceed. Filled with water, the wind will be unable
to lift you, O cloud, for all this is empty is light, while fullness results in
heaviness.

Seeing the yellow-brown nipa with their stamens half erect, eating the kankali
flowers whose first buds have appeared on every bank, and smelling the
highly fragrant scent of the forest earth, the deer will indicate the way to the
cloud.

Watching the cataka cuckoos that are skilled in catching raindrops, and
watching the herons flying in skeins as they count them, the siddhas will hold
you in high regard at the moment of your thundering, having received the
trembling, agitated embraced of their beloved female companions!

I perceive in an instant, friend, your delays on mountain after mountain
scented with kakubha flowers—you who should desire to proceed for the sake
of my beloved. Welcomed by peacocks with teary eyes who have turned their
cries into words of welcome, you should somehow resolve to proceed at once.

Reaching their capital by the name of Vidisha, renowned in all quarters, and
having won at once complete satisfaction of your desires, you will drink the
sweet, rippling water from the Vetravati River which roars pleasantly at the
edge of her banks, rippling as if her face bore a frown.

There, for the sake of rest, your should occupy the mountain known as Nicaih
which seems to thrill at your touch with its full-blown kadamba flowers, and
whose grottoes make known the unbridled youthful deeds of the townsmen by
emitting the scent of intercourse with bought women.

After resting, move on while watering with fresh raindrops the clusters of
jasmine buds that grow in gardens on the banks of the forest rivers—you who
have made a momentary acquaintance with the flower-picking girls by lending
shade to their faces, the lotuses at whose ears are withered and broken as they
wipe away the perspiration from their cheeks.

Even though the route would be circuitous for one who, like you, is
northward-bound, do not turn your back on the love on the palace roofs in
Ujjayini. If you do not enjoy the eyes with flickering eyelids of the women
startled by bolts of lightning there, then you have been deceived!

On the way, after you have ascended to the Nirvandhya River, whose girdles
are flocks of birds calling on account of the turbulence of her waves, whose
gliding motion is rendered delightful with stumbling steps, and whose
exposed navel is her eddies, fill yourself with water, for amorous distraction
is a woman’s first expression of love for their beloved.

When you have passed that, you should duly adopt the means by which the
Sindhu River may cast off her emaciation—she whose waters have become
like a single braid of hair, whose complexion is made pale by the old leaves
falling from the trees on her banks, and who shows you goodwill because she
has been separated from you, O fortunate one.

Having reached Avanti where the village elders are well-versed in the legend
of Udayana, make your way to the aforementioned city of Vishala, filled with
splendour, like a beautiful piece of heaven carried there by means of the
remaining merit of gods who had fallen to earth when the fruits of the good
actions had nearly expired;

Where, at daybreak, the breeze from the Shipra River, carrying abroad the
sweet, clear, impassioned cries of the geese, fragrant from contact with the
scent of full-blown lotuses and pleasing to the body, carries off the lassitude
of the women after their love-play, like a lover making entreaties for further
enjoyment.

And having see by the tens of millions the strings of pearls with shining gems
as their central stones, conches, pearl-shells, emeralds as green as fresh grass
with radiating brilliance and pieces of coral displayed in the market there, the
oceans appear to contain nothing but water;

And where the knowledgeable populace regale visiting relatives thus: ‘Here
the king of the Vatsa brought the precious daughter of Pradyota. Here was the
golden grove of tala-trees of that same monarch. Here, they say, roamed
Nalagiri (the elephant), having pulled out his tie-post in fury.’

Your bulk increased by the incense that is used for perfuming the hair that
issues from the lattices, and honoured with gifts of dance by the domestic
peacocks out of their love for their friend, lay aside the weariness of the
travel while admiring the splendour of its palaces which are scented with
flowers and marked by the hennaed feet of the lovely women.

Observed respectfully by divine retinues who are reminded of the colour of
their master’s throat, you should proceed to the holy abode of the lord of the
three worlds, husband of Chandi, whose gardens are caressed by the winds
from the Gandhavati River, scented with the pollen of the blue lotuses and
perfumed by the bath-oils used by young women who delight in water-play.

Even if you arrive at Mahakala at some other time, O cloud, you should wait
until the sun passes from the range of the eye. Playing the honourable role of
drum at the evening offering to Shiva, you will receive the full reward for
your deep thunder.

There, their girdles jingling to their footsteps, and their hands tired from the
pretty waving of fly-whisks whose handles are brilliant with the sparkle of
jewels, having received from you raindrops at the onset of the rainy season
that soothe the scratches made by fingernails, the courtesans cast you
lingering sidelong glances that resemble rows of honey-bees.

Then, settled above the forests whose trees are like uplifted arms, being round
in shape, producing an evening light, red as a fresh China-rose, at the start of
Shiva’s dance, remove his desire for a fresh elephant skin—you whose
devotion is beheld by Parvati, her agitation stilled and her gaze transfixed.

Reveal the ground with a bolt of lightning that shines like a streak of gold
on a touchstone to the young women in that vicinity going by night to the homes of
their lovers along the royal highroad which has been robbed of light by a
darkness that could be pricked with a needle. Withhold your showers of rain
and rumbling thunder: they would be frightened!

Passing that night above the roof-top of a certain house where pigeons sleep,
you, whose consort the lightning is tired by prolonged sport, should complete
the rest of your journey when the sun reappears. Indeed, those who have
promised to accomplish a task for a friend do not tarry.

At that time, the tears of the wronged wives are to be soothed away by their
husbands. Therefore abandon at once the path of the sun. He too has returned
to remove the tears of dew from the lotus-faces of the lilies. If you obstruct
his rays, he may become greatly incensed.

कविता – दिशा

हिमालय किधर है?
मैंने उस बच्‍चे से पूछा जो स्‍कूल के बाहर
पतंग उड़ा रहा था

उधर-उधर-उसने कहाँ
जिधर उसकी पतंग भागी जा रही थी

मैं स्‍वीकार करूँ
मैंने पहली बार जाना
हिमालय किधर है?

कविता – फसल

मैं उसे बरसों से जानता था-
एक अधेड़ किसान
थोड़ा थका
थोड़ा झुका हुआ
किसी बोझ से नहीं
सिर्फ़ धरती के उस सहज गुरुत्वाकर्षं से
जिसे वह इतना प्यार करता था
वह मानता था-
दुनिया में कुत्ते बिल्लियाँ सूअर
सबकी जगह है
इसलिए नफ़रत नहीं करता था वह
कीचड़ काई या मल से

भेड़ें उसे अच्छी लगती थीं
ऊन ज़रूरी है-वह मानता था
पर कहता था-उससे भी ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है
उनके थनों की गरमाहट
जिससे खेतों में ढेले
ज़िन्दा हो जाते हैं

उसकी एक छोटी-सी दुनिया थी
छोटे-छोटे सपनों
और ठीकरों से भरी हुई
उस दुनिया में पुरखे भी रहते थे
और वे भी जो अभी पैदा नहीं हुए
महुआ उसका मित्र था
आम उसका देवता
बाँस-बबूल थे स्वजन-परिजन
और हाँ, एक छोटी-सी सूखी
नदी भी थी उस दुनिया में-
जिसे देखकर- कभी-कभी उसका मन होता था
उसे उठाकर रख ले कंधे पर
और ले जाए गंगा तक-
ताकि दोनों को फिर से जोड़ दे
पर गंगा के बारे में सोचकर
हो जाता था निहत्था!

इधर पिछले कुछ सालों से
जब गोल-गोल आलू
मिट्टी फ़ोड़कर झाँकने लगते थे जड़ों से
या फसल पककर
हो जाती थी तैयार
तो न जाने क्यों वह- हो जाता था चुप
कई-कई दिनों तक
बस यहीं पहुँचकर अटक जाती थी उसकी गाड़ी
सूर्योदय और सूर्यास्त के
विशाल पहियोंवाली

पर कहते हैं-
उस दिन इतवार था
और उस दिन वह ख़ुश था
एक पड़ोसी के पास गया
और पूछ आया आलू का भाव-ताव
पत्नी से हँसते हुए पूछा-
पूजा में कैसा रहेगा सेंहुड़ का फूल?
गली में भूँकते हुए कुत्ते से कहा-
‘ख़ुश रह चितकबरा,
ख़ुश रह!’
और निकल गया बाहर

किधर?
क्यों?
कहाँ जा रहा था वह-
अब मीडिया में इसी पर बहस है

उधर हुआ क्या
कि ज्यों ही वह पहुँचा मरखहिया मोड़
कहीं पीछे से एक भोंपू की आवाज़ आई
और कहते हैं- क्योंकि देखा किसी ने नहीं-
उसे कुचलती चली गई

अब यह हत्या थी
या आत्महत्या-इसे आप पर छोड़ता हूँ
वह तो अब सड़क के किनारे
चकवड़ घास की पत्तियों के बीच पड़ा था
और उसके होंठों में दबी थी
एक हल्की-सी मुस्कान!

उस दिन वह ख़ुश था।

poem – in her every indication

Although in her every indication, the aim is something else
If she shows her affection(with me) , then different suspicion arises

Oh Lord, ‘they’ have not understood, nor will [they] understand, my speech
Give ‘them’ another heart, if you don’t give me a different tongue

Does that glance of coquetry have a connection with the eyebrow?
It is certainly an arrow- perhaps it has a different bow

If you’re in the city, then what grief do I have? when we get up
I will go and bring back from the bazaar a different heart and life

Although [I /we] became quick-handed / deft in idol-breaking
If I am alive, then in my path there will be many heavy-stones

The blood of the liver is in turmoil—or I would have wept to my heart’s content
If I had had a number of different pure-blood-scattering eyes

I will die [of love] for that voice, although my head may fly off!
But let her keep saying to the executioner,’Yes, more/another! ‘

People are deceived about the world-{heating/burning} sun
Every day I show one different hidden scar/wound

There are many good poets in this world.
But it is said that Ghalib is in a league of his own.

poem – no hope

I am left with no hope at all,
No possibility to reach my goal,

The Day of my death is fixed,
I am so very anxious that I can not sleep all night.

Though I know the reward of obedience and worship,
But I have no tendency for it.

I am silent for a certain reason,
Otherwise I can convince you with my words,

Why I shouldn’t cry,
For when I don’t, she asks about me,

My heart is burning, though you cannot see the spot,
But O my doctor, can’t you smell my heart burn?

I have reached to a certain state,
From where even I cannot find myself.

I am dying (Waiting anxiously) for my death,
I don’t know where the hell my death has gone.

With what face you will go to Ka’ba, O! Ghalib,
You should be ashamed of yourself while thinking to go there.

poem – innocent heart

Innocent heart, what has happened to you?
Alas, what is the cure to this pain?

We are interested, and they are displeased,
Oh Lord, what is this affair?

I too possess a tongue-
just ask me what I want to say.

Though there is none present without you,
then oh God, what is this noise about?

I expected faith from those
who do not even know what faith is.

poem – i will not cry

I will not cry for satisfaction if I could get my choice,
Among the divine beautiful virgins of heaven, I want only you.

After killing me, do not bury me in your street,
Why should people know your home address with my reference.

Be chivalrous for you are the wine bearer (beloved) , or else I
use to drink as much wine as I get every night.

I have no business with you but O! dear friend,
Convey my regards to the postman if you see him,(to remind him that he has to deliver my message to my beloved) .

I will show you what Majnoo (Hero of the famous Arabic love tale, Layla Majnoo) did,
If I could spare some time of my inner grief.

I am not bound to follow the directions given by Khizar (A prophet who is believed to be still alive and guide the people, who have lost their way, to the right path) ,
I accept that he remained my companion during my journey.

O! The inhabitants of the street of my beloved see
if you could find the insane poet Ghalib there some where.

poem – ghazal

I wish to go and dwell,
In such a place,
Where there’s no one else.
No one to understand my speech,
No one around to talk with,
There, I want to reach.

I wish to build,
One such house,
Without a door to enter,
Without the boundary walls,
Thus there will be no neighbours,
And there will be no guard.

There will be no one thus,
To take care of me,
When I will fell ill.
And there will be no one,
To mourn or cry,
When I will die.

poem – it is not love

(You say) It is not love, it is madness
My madness may be the cause of your fame
Sever not my relationship with you
If nothing then be my enemy
What is the meaning of notoriety in meeting me
If not in public court meet me alone
I am not my own enemy
So what if the stranger is in love with you
Whatever you are, it is due to your own being
If this not known then it is ignorance
Life though fleets like a lightening flash
Yet it is abundant Time to be in love
I do not want debate on the sustenance of love
Be it not love but another dilemma
Give something O biased One
At least the sanction to cry and plea
I will perpetuate the rituals
Even if cruelty be your habit
Teasing and cajoling the beloved cannot leave ‘Asad’
Even if there is no union and only the desire remains

harayeko mero manchhe – shrawan mukarung

हराएको मेरो मान्छे
तिमी एकदिन जरुर आउँछौ
पिरतीको अर्थ के हो ?
त्यही बेला थाहा पाउँछौ ।

कति भाग्यो चन्द्रमा यो
पृथिवीलाई रुवाएर
तर साँझ आउँछ फेरि
लाखौँ दीप जलाएर
एकान्तमा वेदनाको
माला जब तिमी लाउँछौ
पिरतीको अर्थ के हो
त्यही बेला थाहा पाउँछौ

जहाँ जाऊ जता पुग
भेटिने त उही मान्छे
मानिसकै अनुरोगले
बाँधिएको हुन्छ मान्छे
सम्झनाको कुनै मोडमा
जतिखेर तिमी धाउँछौ
पिरतीको अर्थ के हो
त्यहीबेला थाहा पाउँछौ ।

bhanubhakta – shrawan mukarung

पहिलो जुनी
वि.सं. १८७१ असार २९ मा आए
भानुभक्त र गए- वि.सं. १९२५
असोज ६ सँगै

दोस्रो जुनी
भए आदिकवि
कतै चिम्सा आँखा
कतै लामो नाक
कतै गोरो वर्ण
कतै कालो वर्ण

कतै पूर्ण कद
कतै अर्ध कद
कतै रथयात्रा
कतै अबिर जात्रा

तेस्रो जुनी
भए माछा
नदीको लहरमा कविता लेख्दालेख्दै
एकदिन अचानक
खायो- गोहीले
……….

बयालीस लाख जुनी
भए किम्बुको रूख
शरद ऋतुको आँखैअघि
खायो रेशमकीराले
……….

चौरासी लाख जुनीपछि
आज फेरि
जन्मिए भानुभक्त मानिस भएर
(मानिसको जीवनको कुनै भर छैन)
र हिँडे भानु
अमरावती कान्तिपुरी नगरी

हतारमा बिर्सेछन् बिर्के टोपी

बाहुला सुर्केको कमिज
खासाको जिन्स पेन्टमुनि
गोल्डस्टार सुज
झ्ोलामा टाबेल, गन्जी र कट्टु
एसएलसीको सर्टिफिकेट र
श्रीप्रकाश कोविदको उपन्यास
खल्तीमा नागरिकता, पासपोर्ट
रु.सात सय पचास र
आमाको सादा तस्बिर

बालाजु, बसपार्क, धरहरा
घण्टाघर र रानीपोखरी
घुमे कविजी दिनभर
गुनकेशरी फुलिरहेछ गमलामा
रित्तै दौडिरहेछन् चपला अवला
जब ढल्क्यो घाम
गमे कविजी कता जाम?
कविले कविको मर्का बुझछ
सम्झ्े उनले चित्तधर

खल्तीमा छ रु. सात सय पचास
लच्छिनकी रहिछिन् घरबूढी
दिइन् स्नेहले दालभात
ढल्किए कविजी चुरोट तान्दै
सम्झ्े उनले चुदी-रम्घा
झ्र्‍यो आँसु दुई कानमा
ताने सिरक र छोपे मुख

किनकि-
भोलि त उड्नु छ मलेसिया
लेख्नु छ- रामायण!

shabda ko ishwar – shrawan mukarung

जसका लागि समर्पित छन्– यी शब्दहरू
उनीहरू बुझ्दैनन्– यसको अर्थ !
उनीहरू बुझ्छन्– बतासको रङ
आकाशको भाका
र झरीको मौनता

मेरा यी शब्दहरू विपरीत– उनीहरू
मानिसलाई ठान्छन्– शब्दको ईश्वर
र आफ्नै रगतका उज्याला फूलहरू
चढाउँछन् – त्यसलाई
भत्काउन दिन्छन्– पसिनाका प्रस्तरहरू

दाँत खसेको कोदालो
निभ्नलाई बलेको लालटिन
लहरे खोकी
र मध्यअसारको चकाभक…
कति गम्भीर छन्– शब्दका ईश्वरहरू

उनीहरूले बुझून् भनेर
मानिसको शालीनताविरुद्ध मैले
आफ्ना धारिला शब्दहरूलाई उफारेँ–
सडक–सडक
चोक–चोक
गाउँ–गाउँ
बस्ती–बस्ती
पर क्षितिजमा अल्पिरहेका ताराका बथानहरू देखेर
थाहा हुनुपर्ने हो– शब्दको जीवन
एक्ली साँझको सुकसुकाहट सुनेर
फर्किनुपर्ने हो– त्यो तन्नेरी शब्दको वैरागी अर्थ
त्यो शून्य रात उसलाई भञ्ज्याङमै भेट्नुपर्ने हो
–उनीहरूका निश्चल आँखाहरूले

केहीछिन–
आलीमा बसेर सुर्ती खानु
उठेको धुवाँभित्र
उडिरहेको जहाज र उङिरहेको जून हेर्नु
ओढिराखेको घुम खस्नु
हल्लिरहेको बाँसको टुप्पोमा निदाएको कुनै चराले
आफू मरेको सपना देख्नु
यी सबै ईश्वरहरू हुन्–शब्दका

जसका लागि समर्पित छन्– यी शब्दहरू
उनीहरू बुझ्दैनन्– यसको अर्थ ।
उनीहरू बुझ्छन्– बतासको रङ
आकाशको भाका
र झरीको मौनता

patrakar – shrawan mukarung

तिमी छक्क पर्छौ
कि,
तिमीजस्तै ऊ
कुनै होचो घरको मझेरी
बलेँसी, पँधेरी, जङ्गल
अँध्यारो छिँडी
साँघुरो गोठ
या,
अस्पतालको कुनै बेड वा परिसरमा
आफ्नै आमाको कोखबाट
उसको जन्म भएको हुन्छ

तिमी अझ छक्क पर्छौ
कि,
तिमीजस्तै–
पहाडको कुनै अपरिचित गाउँको धूलो
या,
भित्री मधेसको
कुनै टोल, खेत, इनार
आँपको फेद, राजमार्गको छेउ
अथवा–
सहरको कुनै गल्ली, डबली
वा पिच रोडहरूमा
दगुर्दादगुर्दै ऊ हुर्किएको हुन्छ

उसलाई देखेपछि
तिमी झन् तीन छक पर्छौ
तिम्रा जस्तै–
उसका आँखा, मुस्कान
र गहिरो आत्मविश्वास…

अहा !
उसलाई भेटेपछि त झन्
तिमी छक्क पर्नुको कुनै सीमा नै रहँदैन–
‘के पत्रकार आफैँमा एक मानिस हो…?!’

घाम
एकदम सीधा
तिम्रो सिउँदोमाथि मस्त छ
तिमीलाई आज, आकाश हेर्नु छैन
तिमी
एकदम उसलाई हेरिरहेछौ एकटकले
हेर्दाहेर्दै–
उसका बलिष्ठ पाखुराहरू
फैलिरहेछन्– घडीफूलको लहरा भएर
र तिम्रो मुटु र मस्तिष्कको गोलो पृथिवीलाई
कस्दै छ बेस्सरी !

तिमीलाई थाहा छैन–
प्रजातन्त्र र पत्रकार
कुन माउ, कुन चल्ला ?
तर, तिमीलाई थाहा छ
आफू उभिएको भूमि
सुन !
जिउँदो देशमा
पत्रकारको प्रायः हत्या हुन्छ
र उसको उद्दीप्त अनुहार
कुनै आतङ्कारीको बूढो बन्दुकको दवासमा
सविस्तार अवतरित हुन्छ

तब,
तिमी छक्क पर्दै पर्दैनौ
किनकि–
तिम्रो सिउँदोको सिन्दूर
लोकगीत भइसकेको हुन्छ !

prem geet – shrawan mukarung

अब म तिमीलाई यहीँ छोडेर जान्छु !
यी जन्तीजस्ता पर्वत
चराको माला
बुकी र बतास
यी सनईजस्ता भन्ज्याङ
लोकन्ता खोला
गोधूलि र मौनता
यी मान्छेका आदिम र आधुनिक दुःखहरू
कसैलाई थाहा हुनेछैन ।

अब म तिमीलाई यहीँ छोडेर जान्छु !

मलाई खोज्दाखोज्दै
कुनै प्रिय दिन तिमी मर्नेछौ
कुनै इतिहास बन्नेछैन – त्यो
मृत्युपर्यन्त पनि भेट्नेछैनौ मलाई
कुनै युग
कुनै काल
कुनै जन्म
मेरो मन फर्किनेछैन – कहिल्यै ।
पगली !
अब म तिमीलाई यहीँ छोडेर जान्छु !
यहीँ
बस यहीँ
यो तिम्रो सिउँदोमा बजिरहेको मेरो आलो रगतको बाँसुरीमा ।

izhaar – ahmed nadeem qasmi

Tujhe izhaar-e-muhabbat se agar nafrat hai
tuu ne honToN ko larazne se to rokaa hotaa

be-niyaazii se, magar kaaNptii aavaaz ke saath
tuu ne ghabraa ke miraa naam na puuchaa hotaa

tere bas meN thii agar mash’al-e-jazbaat kii lau
tere ruKhsaar meN gulzaar na bhaRkaa hotaa

yuN to mujh se huii sirf aab-o-havaa ki baateN
apne TooTe hue fiqroN ko to parkhaa hotaa

yuuNhii be-waj’h ThiThakney ki zaruurat kyaa thii
dam-e-ruKhsat maiN agar yaad na aayaa hotaa

teraa ghammaz banaa khud tiraa andaaz-e-khiraam
dil na sambhlaa, to qadmoN ko sambhaala hota

apne badle miree tasviir nazar aa jaati
tuu ne us vaqt agar aaiinaa dekhaa hotaa

hoaslaa tujh ko na thaa mujh se judaa hone kaa
varnaa kaajal tiree aaNkhoN meN na phailaa hotaa

poem – some one my own

My footprints are found on snow and sand.
I was always seeking ‘some on My Own’
everwhere, every season,
and in every country.
I wanted some one whose nearness
could let me feel that
I also deserve the right to live.

If I am alive today, it is not
without some cogent reason.
After a whole life time.

I’ve come to realize
that the person who seemed
an utter stranger, earlier,
is actually My Own.

The fellow is neither a blood relation,
nor equal in age and yet,
has proved sincere to me
like a lotus flower in water-
a person who offer nothing but love,
a person who gets nothing but love.
(Jan. 1990)

patthar – ahmed nadeem qasmi

ret se but na banaa ai mere achchhe fankaar

ek lamhe ko Thahar, maiN tujhe patthar laa duuN
maiN tere saamane ambaar lagaa duuN lekin
kaun se rang kaa patthar tere kaam aayegaa
surKh patthar jise dil kahatii hai bedil duniyaa
yaa vo patthraa’ii hu’ii aaNkh kaa niilaa patthar
jis meN sadiiyoN ke tahayyur ke paRe hoN Dore

kyaa tujhe ruuh ke patthar kii zaruurat hogii
jis pe haq baat bhii patthar kii tarah girtii hai
ik vo patthar hai jise kahte haiN tahziib-e-safed
us ke mar-mar meN siyah Khuun jhalak jaataa hai
ik insaaf kaa patthar bhii to hotaa hai magar
haath meN teshaa-e-zar ho to vo haath aataa hai

jitne mayyaar haiN is daur ke sab patthar haiN
sher bhii raqs bhii tasviir-o-Ghinaa bhii patthar
mere ilhaam teraa zahn-e-rasaa bhii patthar
is zamaane meN har fan kaa nishaaN patthar hai
haath patthar haiN tere merii zubaaN patthar hai
ret se but na banaa ai mere achchhe fankaa

poem – le jardin

The lily’s withered chalice falls
Around its rod of dusty gold,
And from the beech-trees on the wold
The last wood-pigeon coos and calls.

The gaudy leonine sunflower
Hangs black and barren on its stalk,
And down the windy garden walk
The dead leaves scatter, – hour by hour.

Pale privet-petals white as milk
Are blown into a snowy mass:
The roses lie upon the grass
Like little shreds of crimson silk.

poem – louis napoleon

EAGLE of Austerlitz! where were thy wings
When far away upon a barbarous strand,
In fight unequal, by an obscure hand,
Fell the last scion of thy brood of Kings!

Poor boy! thou wilt not flaunt thy cloak of red,
Nor ride in state through Paris in the van
Of thy returning legions, but instead
Thy mother France, free and republican,

Shall on thy dead and crownless forehead place
The better laurels of a soldier’s crown,
That not dishonoured should thy soul go down
To tell the mighty Sire of thy race

That France hath kissed the mouth of Liberty,
And found it sweeter than his honied bees,
And that the giant wave Democracy
Breaks on the shores where Kings lay crouched at ease.

poem – on easter day

The silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome.
Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendor and in light the Pope passed home.
My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
“Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,
And bruise My feet, and drink wine salt with tears.”

poem – pan

1

O goat-foot God of Arcady!
This modern world is grey and old,
And what remains to us of thee?

No more the shepherd lads in glee
Throw apples at thy wattled fold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Nor through the laurels can one see
Thy soft brown limbs, thy beard of gold,
And what remains to us of thee?

And dull and dead our Thames would be,
For here the winds are chill and cold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Then keep the tomb of Helice,
Thine olive-woods, thy vine-clad wold,
And what remains to us of thee?

Though many an unsung elegy
Sleeps in the reeds our rivers hold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!
Ah, what remains to us of thee?

2.

Ah, leave the hills of Arcady,
Thy satyrs and their wanton play,
This modern world hath need of thee.

No nymph of Faun indeed have we,
For Faun and nymph are old and grey,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This is the land where liberty
Lit grave-browed Milton on his way,
This modern world hath need of thee!

A land of ancient chivalry
Where gentle Sidney saw the day,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady.

This fierce sea-lion of the sea,
This England lacks some stronger lay,
This modern world hath need of thee!

Then blow some trumpet loud and free,
And give thine oaten pipe away,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!
This modern world hath need of thee!

poem – the disciple

When Narcissus died the pool of his pleasure changed from a cup of
sweet waters into a cup of salt tears, and the Oreads came weeping
through the woodland that they might sing to the pool and give it
comfort.

And when they saw that the pool had changed from a cup of sweet
waters into a cup of salt tears, they loosened the green tresses of
their hair and cried to the pool and said, ‘We do not wonder that
you should mourn in this manner for Narcissus, so beautiful was
he.’

‘But was Narcissus beautiful?’ said the pool.

‘Who should know that better than you?’ answered the Oreads. ‘Us
did he ever pass by, but you he sought for, and would lie on your
banks and look down at you, and in the mirror of your waters he
would mirror his own beauty.’

And the pool answered, ‘But I loved Narcissus because, as he lay on
my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes I saw
ever my own beauty mirrored.’

poem – lotus leaves

I –
There is no peace beneath the moon,-
Ah! in those meadows is there peace
Where, girdled with a silver fleece,
As a bright shepherd, strays the moon? –
Queen of the gardens of the sky,
Where stars like lilies, white and fair,
Shine through the mists of frosty air,
Oh, tarry, for the dawn is nigh! –
Oh, tarry, for the envious day
Stretches long hands to catch thy feet.
Alas! but thou art overfleet,
Alas! I know thou wilt not stay.

II –
Eastward the dawn has broken red,
The circling mists and shadows flee;
Aurora rises from the sea,
And leaves the crocus-flowered bed. –
Eastward the silver arrows fall,
Splintering the veil of holy night:
And a long wave of yellow light
Breaks silently on tower and hall. –
And speeding wide across the wold
Wakes into flight some fluttering bird;
And all the chestnut tops are stirred,
And all the branches streaked with gold.

III –
To outer senses there is peace,
A dream-like peace on either hand,
Deep silence in the shadowy land,
Deep silence where the shadows cease, –
Save for a cry that echoes shrill
From some lone bird disconsolate;
A curlew calling to its mate;
The answer from the distant hill. –
And, herald of my love to Him
Who, waiting for the dawn, doth lie,
The orbed maiden leaves the sky,
And the white firs grow more dim.

IV –
Up sprang the sun to run his race,
The breeze blew fair on meadow and lea,
But in the west I seemed to see
The likeness of a human face. –
A linnet on the hawthorn spray
Sang of the glories of the spring,
And made the flow’ring copses ring
With gladness for the new-born day. –
A lark from out the grass I trod
Flew wildly, and was lost to view
In the great seamless veil of blue
That hangs before the face of God. –
The willow whispered overhead
That death is but a newer life
And that with idle words of strife
We bring dishonour on the dead. –
I took a branch from off the tree,
And hawthorn branches drenched with dew,
I bound them with a sprig of yew,
And made a garland fair to see. –
I laid the flowers where He lies
(Warm leaves and flowers on the stones):
What joy I had to sit alone
Till evening broke on tired eyes: –
Till all the shifting clouds had spun
A robe of gold for God to wear
And into seas of purple air
Sank the bright galley of the sun.

V –
Shall I be gladdened for the day,
And let my inner heart be stirred
By murmuring tree or song of bird,
And sorrow at the wild winds’ play? –
Not so, such idle dreams belong
To souls of lesser depth than mine;
I feel that I am half divine;
I that I am great and strong. –
I know that every forest tree
By labour rises from the root
I know that none shall gather fruit
By sailing on the barren sea.

poem – the bangle sellers

Bangle sellers are we who bear
Our shining loads to the temple fair…
Who will buy these delicate, bright
Rainbow-tinted circles of light?
Lustrous tokens of radiant lives,
For happy daughters and happy wives.

Some are meet for a maiden’s wrist,
Silver and blue as the mountain mist,
Some are flushed like the buds that dream
On the tranquil brow of a woodland stream,
Some are aglow wth the bloom that cleaves
To the limpid glory of new born leaves

Some are like fields of sunlit corn,
Meet for a bride on her bridal morn,
Some, like the flame of her marriage fire,
Or, rich with the hue of her heart’s desire,
Tinkling, luminous, tender, and clear,
Like her bridal laughter and bridal tear.

Some are purple and gold flecked grey
For she who has journeyed through life midway,
Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest,
And cradled fair sons on her faithful breast,
And serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband’s side.

poem – the soul’s prayer

In childhood’s pride I said to Thee:
‘O Thou, who mad’st me of Thy breath,
Speak, Master, and reveal to me
Thine inmost laws of life and death.

‘Give me to drink each joy and pain
Which Thine eternal hand can mete,
For my insatiate soul can drain
Earth’s utmost bitter, utmost sweet.

‘Spare me no bliss, no pang of strife,
Withhold no gift or grief I crave,
The intricate lore of love and life
And mystic knowledge of the grave.’

Lord, Thou didst answer stern and low:
‘Child, I will hearken to thy prayer,
And thy unconquered soul shall know
All passionate rapture and despair.

‘Thou shalt drink deep of joy and fame,
And love shall burn thee like a fire,
And pain shall cleanse thee like a flame,
To purge the dross from thy desire.

‘So shall thy chastened spirit yearn
To seek from its blind prayer release,
And spent and pardoned, sue to learn
The simple secret of My peace.

I, bending from my sevenfold height,
Will teach thee of My quickening grace,
Life is a prism of My light,
And Death the shadow of My face.’

poem – alabaster

LIKE this alabaster box whose art
Is frail as a cassia-flower, is my heart,
Carven with delicate dreams and wrought
With many a subtle and exquisite thought.

Therein I treasure the spice and scent
Of rich and passionate memories blent
Like odours of cinnamon, sandal and clove,
Of song and sorrow and life and love.

poem – in the forest

HERE, O my heart, let us burn the dear dreams that are dead,
Here in this wood let us fashion a funeral pyre
Of fallen white petals and leaves that are mellow and red,
Here let us burn them in noon’s flaming torches of fire.

We are weary, my heart, we are weary, so long we have borne
The heavy loved burden of dreams that are dead, let us rest,
Let us scatter their ashes away, for a while let us mourn;
We will rest, O my heart, till the shadows are gray in the west.

But soon we must rise, O my heart, we must wander again
Into the war of the world and the strife of the throng;
Let us rise, O my heart, let us gather the dreams that remain,
We will conquer the sorrow of life with the sorrow of song.

poem – the master

Now when the darkness came over the earth Joseph of Arimathea,
having lighted a torch of pinewood, passed down from the hill into
the valley. For he had business in his own home.

And kneeling on the flint stones of the Valley of Desolation he saw
a young man who was naked and weeping. His hair was the colour of
honey, and his body was as a white flower, but he had wounded his
body with thorns and on his hair had he set ashes as a crown.

And he who had great possessions said to the young man who was
naked and weeping, ‘I do not wonder that your sorrow is so great,
for surely He was a just man.’

And the young man answered, ‘It is not for Him that I am weeping,
but for myself. I too have changed water into wine, and I have
healed the leper and given sight to the blind. I have walked upon
the waters, and from the dwellers in the tombs I have cast out
devils. I have fed the hungry in the desert where there was no
food, and I have raised the dead from their narrow houses, and at
my bidding, and before a great multitude, of people, a barren fig-
tree withered away. All things that this man has done I have done
also. And yet they have not crucified me.’

Poem – The Artist

One evening there came into his soul the desire to fashion an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment. And he went forth into the world to look for bronze. For he could only think in bronze.

But all the bronze of the whole world had disappeared, nor anywhere in the whole world was there any bronze to be found, save only the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth for Ever.

Now this image he had himself, and with his own hands, fashioned, and had set it on the tomb of the one thing he had loved in life. On the tomb of the dead thing he had most loved had he set this image of his own fashioning, that it might serve as a sign of the love of man that dieth not, and a symbol of the sorrow of man that endureth for ever. And in the whole world there was no other bronze save the bronze of this image.

And he took the image he had fashioned, and set it in a great furnace, and gave it to the fire.

And out of the bronze of the image of The Sorrow that endureth for Ever he fashioned an image of The Pleasure that abideth for a Moment.

Poem – To My Wife

I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.

Poem – A Vision

Two crowned Kings, and One that stood alone
With no green weight of laurels round his head,
But with sad eyes as one uncomforted,
And wearied with man’s never-ceasing moan
For sins no bleating victim can atone,
And sweet long lips with tears and kisses fed.
Girt was he in a garment black and red,
And at his feet I marked a broken stone
Which sent up lilies, dove-like, to his knees.
Now at their sight, my heart being lit with flame,
I cried to Beatrice, ‘Who are these? ‘
And she made answer, knowing well each name,
‘AEschylos first, the second Sophokles,
And last (wide stream of tears!) Euripides.’

Poem – Her Voice

THE wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing.
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
I made that vow,

Swore that two lives should be like one
As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun,–
It shall be, I said, for eternity
‘Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done,
Love’s web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
Sway and sway in the summer air,
Here in the valley never a breeze
Scatters the thistledown, but there
Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
On some outward voyaging argosy,–
Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbour in some bay,
And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
I have my beauty,–you your Art,
Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you.

Poem – Flower of Love

Sweet, I blame you not, for mine the fault was, had I not been made of common
clay
I had climbed the higher heights unclimbed yet, seen the fuller air, the
larger day.

From the wildness of my wasted passion I had struck a better, clearer song,
Lit some lighter light of freer freedom, battled with some Hydra-headed wrong.

Had my lips been smitten into music by the kisses that but made them bleed,
You had walked with Bice and the angels on that verdant and enamelled meed.

I had trod the road which Dante treading saw the suns of seven circles shine,
Ay! perchance had seen the heavens opening, as they opened to the Florentine.

And the mighty nations would have crowned me, who am crownless now and without
name,
And some orient dawn had found me kneeling on the threshold of the House of
Fame.

I had sat within that marble circle where the oldest bard is as the young,
And the pipe is ever dropping honey, and the lyre’s strings are ever strung.

Keats had lifted up his hymeneal curls from out the poppy-seeded wine,
With ambrosial mouth had kissed my forehead, clasped the hand of noble love in
mine.

And at springtide, when the apple-blossoms brush the burnished bosom of the
dove,
Two young lovers lying in an orchard would have read the story of our love;

Would have read the legend of my passion, known the bitter secret of my heart,
Kissed as we have kissed, but never parted as we two are fated now to part.

For the crimson flower of our life is eaten by the cankerworm of truth,
And no hand can gather up the fallen withered petals of the rose of youth.

Yet I am not sorry that I loved you -ah! what else had I a boy to do? –
For the hungry teeth of time devour, and the silent-footed years pursue.

Rudderless, we drift athwart a tempest, and when once the storm of youth is
past,
Without lyre, without lute or chorus, Death the silent pilot comes at last.

And within the grave there is no pleasure, for the blindworm battens on the
root,
And Desire shudders into ashes, and the tree of Passion bears no fruit.

Ah! what else had I to do but love you? God’s own mother was less dear to me,
And less dear the Cytheraean rising like an argent lily from the sea.

I have made my choice, have lived my poems, and, though youth is gone in
wasted days,
I have found the lover’s crown of myrtle better than the poet’s crown of bays.

Poem – The Wedding

Good Yudhishthir heard the tidings and he gave his free assent,
Unto distant chiefs and monarchs kindly invitations sent,

In the town of Upa-plavya, of fair Matsya’s towns the best,
Made their home the pious brothers to receive each royal guest.

Came unto them Kasi’s monarch and his arméd troopers came,
And the king of fair Panchala with his sons of warlike fame,

Came the sons of fair Draupadi early trained in art of war,
Other chiefs and sacrifices came from regions near and far.

Krishna decked in floral garlands with his elder brother came,
And his sister fair Subhadra, Arjun’s loved and longing dame,

Arjun’s son brave Abhimanyu came upon his flowery car,
With his elephants and chargers, troopers trained in art of war.

Vrishnis from the sea-girt Dwarka, bravo Andhakas known to fame,
Bhojas from the mighty Chumbal with the righteous Krishna came,

He to gallant sons of Pandu made his presents rich and rare,
Gems and gold and costly garments, slaves and damsels passing fair.

With its quaint and festive greetings came at last the bridal day,
Matsya maids were merry-hearted, Pandu’s sons were bright and gay,

Conch and cymbal, horn and trumpet spake forth music soft and sweet
In Virata’s royal palace, in the peopled mart and street!

And they slay the jungle red-deer, and they spread the ample board,
And prepare the cooling palm-drink with the richest viands stored,

Mimes and actors please the people, bards recite the ancient song,
Glories of heroic houses minstrels by their lays prolong!

And deep-bosomed dames of Matsya, jasmine-form and lotus-face,
With their pearls and golden garlands joyously the bridal grace,

Circled by those royal ladies, though they all are bright and fair,
Brightest shines the fair Draupadi with a beauty rich and rare,

Stately dames and merry maidens lead the young and soft-eyed bride,
As the queens of gods encircle INDRA’S daughter in her pride!

Arjun from the Matsya monarch takes the princess passing fair,
For his son by fair Subhadra, nursed by Krishna’s loving care,

With a godlike grace Yudhishthir stands by faithful Arjun’s side,
As a father takes a daughter, takes the young and beauteous bride,

Joins her hands to Abhimanyu’s, and with cake and parchéd rice,
On the altar brightly blazing doth the holy sacrifice.

Matsya’s monarch on the bridegroom rich and costly presents pressed,
Elephants he gave two hundred, steeds seven thousand of the best,

Poured libations on the altar, on the priests bestowed his gold,
Offered to the sons of Pandu rich domain and wealth untold.

With a pious hand Yudhishthir, true in heart and pure in mind,
Made his gifts, in gold and garments, kine and wealth of every kind,

Costly chariots, beds of splendour, robes with thread of gold belaced.
Viands rich and sweet confection, drinks the richest and the best,

Lands he gave unto the Brahman, bullocks to the labouring swain,
Steeds he gave unto the warrior, to the people gifts and grain.

And the city of the Matsyas, teeming with a wealth untold.
Shone with festive joy and gladness and with flags and cloth of gold.w

Poem – Gifts

Unto Brahmans gave Yudhishthir countless nishkas of bright gold,
Unto sage and saintly Vyasa all his realm and wealth untold,

But the bard and ancient rishi who the holy Vedas spake,
Rendered back the monarch’s present, earthly gift he might not take!

‘Thine is Kuru’s ancient empire, rule the nations of the earth,
Gods have destined thee as monarch from the moment of thy birth,

Gold and wealth and costly present let the priests and Brahmans hoard,
Be it thine to rule thy subjects as their father and their lord!

Krishna too in gentle accents to the doubting monarch said:
‘Vyasa. speaketh word of wisdom and his mandate be obeyed! ‘

From the rishi good Yudhishthir then received the Kuru-land,
With a threefold gift of riches gladdened all the priestly band,

Pious priests and grateful nations to their distant regions went,
And his share of presents Vyasa to the ancient Pritha sent.

Fame and virtue Kuru’s monarch by the aswa-medha wins,
And the rite of pure ablution cleanses all Yudhishthir’s sins,

And be stands amid his brothers, brightly beaming, pure and high,
Even as INDRA stands encircled by the dwellers of the sky,

And the concourse of the monarchs grace Yudhishthir’s regal might,
As the stars and radiant planets grace the stillness of the night!

Gems and jewels in his bounty, gold and garnients rich and rare,
Gave Yudhishthir to each monarch, slaves and damsels passing fair,

Loving gifts to dear relations gave the king of righteous fame,
And the grateful parting monarchs blessed Yudhishthir’s hallowed name.

Last of all with many tear-drops Krishna mounts his lofty car,
Faithful still in joy or sorrow, faithful still in peace or war,

Arjun’s comrade. Bhima’s helper, good Yudhishthir’s friend of yore,
Krishna leaves Hastina’s mansions for the sea-girt Dwarka’s shore!

Poem – Sacrifice of Animals

Victor of a hundred battles, Arjun came with conquering steed,
Vyasa herald of the Vedas bade the holy rite proceed:

‘For the day is come, Yudhishthir, let the sacrifice be done,
Let the priests repeat the mantra golden as the morning sun!

Threefold bounteous be thy presents and a threefold merit gain,
For thy wealth of gold is ample, be thy gifts like summer’s rain,

May the threefold rich performance purify the darkening stain,
Blood of warriors and of kinsmen slaughtered on the gory plain,

May the yajna’s pure ablution wash thee of the cruel sin,
And the meed of sacrificers may the good Yudhishthir win!

Vyasa spake; and good Yudhishthir took the diksha of the rite,
And commenced the aswa-medha gladdening every living wight,

Round the altar’s holy lustre moved the priests with sacred awe,
Swerved not from the rule of duty, failed not in the sacred law.

Done the rite of pure pravargya with the pious hymn and lay,
To the task of abhishava priests and Brahmans led the way,

And the holy Soma-drinkers pressed the sacred Soma plant,
And performed the pure savana with the solemn saman chant.

Bounty waits on squalid hunger, gifts dispel the suppliant’s fear,
Gold revives the poor and lowly, mercy wipes the mourner’s tear,

Tender care relieves the stricken by the gracious king’s command,
Charity with loving sweetness spreads her smile o’er all the land!

Day by day the aswa-medha doth with sacred rites proceed,
Day by day on royal bounty poor and grateful myriads feed,

And adept in six Vedangas, strict in vow and rich in lore,
Sage preceptors, holy teachers, grew in virtue ever more!

Six good stakes of vilwa timber, six of hard khadira wood,
Six of seasoned sarvavarnin, on the place of yajna stood,

Two were made of devadaru, pine that on Himalay grows,
One was made of wood of slesha, which the sacrificer knows,

Other stakes of golden lustre quaint with curious carving done,
Draped in silk and gold-brocaded like the constellations shone!

And the consecrated altar built and raised of bricks of gold,
Shone in splendour like the altar Daksha built in days of old,

Eighteen cubits square the structure, four deep layers of brick in height,
With a spacious winged triangle like an eagle in its flight!

Beasts whose flesh is pure and wholesome, dwellers of the lake or sky,
Priests assigned each varied offering to each heavenly power on high,

Bulls of various breed and colour, steeds of mettle true and tried,
Other creatures, full three hundred, to the many stakes were tied.

Deva-rishis viewed the feasting, sweet Gandharvas woke the song,
Apsaras like gleams of sunlight on the greensward tripped along,

Kinnaras and Kim-purushas mingled in the holy rite,
Siddhas of austerest penance stood around the sacred site,

Vyasa’s great and gifted pupils who the holy hymns compiled,
Helped the royal aswa-medha, on the royal yajna smiled!

From the bright ethereal mansions heavenly minstrel Narad came,
Chitra-sena woke the music, singer of celestial fame,

Cheered by more than mortal music priests their holy task begun,
And Yudhishthir’s fame and virtue with a brighter lustre shone!

Poem – Funeral Rite

Victor of a deathful battle, sad Yudhishthir viewed the plain,
Friends and kinsmen, kings and chieftains, countless troops untimely slain,

And he spake to wise Sudharman pious priest of Kuru’s race,
Unto Sanjay, unto Dhaumya, to Vidura full of grace,

Spake unto the brave Yuyutsu, Kuru’s last surviving chief,
Spake to faithful Indrasena, and to warriors sunk in grief:

‘Pious rites are due to foemen and to friends and kinsmen slain,
None shall lack a fitting funeral, none shall perish on the plain.’

Wise Vidura and his comrades sped on sacred duty bound,
Sandalwood and scented aloes, fragrant oil and perfumes found,

Silken robes of costly splendour, fabrics by the artist wove,
Dry wood from the thorny jungle, perfume from the scented grove,

Shattered cars and splintered lances, hewed and ready for the fire,
Piled and ranged in perfect order into many a funeral pyre.

Kings and princes, noble warriors, were in rank and order laid,
And with streams of fragrant ghrita were the rich libations made,

Blazed the fire with wondrous radiance by the rich libations fed,
Sanctifying and consuming mortal remnants of the dead.

Brave Duryodhan and his brothers, Salya of the mighty car,
Bhurisravas king of nations, Jayadratha famed in war,

Abhimanyu son of Arjun, Lakshman proud Duryodhan’s son,
Somadatta and the Srinjays famed for deeds of valour done,

Matsya’s monarch proud Virata, Drupad fair Panchala’s king,
And his sons, Panchala’s princes, whose great deeds the minstrels sing,

Cultured monarch of Kosala and Gandhara’s wily lord,
Karna, proud and peerless archer, matchless with his flaming sword,

Bhagadatta eastern monarch all resistless in his car,
Ghatotkacha son of Bhima, Alambusha famed in war,

And a hundred other monarchs all received the pious rite,
Till the radiance of the fire-light chased the shadows of the night!

Pitri-medha; due to fathers was performed with pious care,
Hymns and wails and lamentations mingled in the midnight air,

Sacred songs of rik and saman rose with women’s piercing wail,
And the creatures of the wide earth heard the sound subdued and pale,

Smokeless and with radiant lustre shone each red and lighted pyre,
Like the planets of the bright sky throbbing with celestial fire!

Men in nations, countless, nameless, from each court and camp afar,
From the east and west collected, fell in Kuru-Kshetra’s war,

Thousand fires for them were lighted, they received the pious rite,
Such was good Yudhishthir’s mandate, such was wise Vidura’s might,

All the dead were burned to ashes and the sacred rite was o’er,
Dhrita-rashtra and Yudhishthir slowly walked to Ganga’s shore!

Poem – Trial of Skill

Uprose one by one the suitors, marking still the distant aim,
Alighty monarchs, gallant princes, chiefs of proud and warlike fame,

Decked in golden crown and necklace, and inflamed by pride and love,
Stoutly strove the eager suitors viewing well the target above,

Strove to string the weapon vainly, tough unbending was the bow,
Slightly bent, rebounding quickly, laid the gallant princes low!

Strove the handsome suitors vainly, decked in gem and burnished gold,
Reft of diadem and necklace, fell each chief and warrior bold,

Reft of golden crown and garland, shamed and humbled in their pride,
Groaned the suitors in their anguish, sought no more Panchala’s bride!

Uprose Karna, peerless archer, proudest of the archers he,
And he went and strung the weapon, fixed the arrows gallantly,

Stood like SURYA in his splendour and like AGNI in his flame,-
Pandu’s sons in terror whispered, Karna sure must hit the aim!

But in proud and queenly accents Drupad’s queenly daughter said:
‘Monarch’s daughter, born a Kshatra, Suta’s son I will not wed,’

Karna heard with crimsoned forehead, left the emprise almost done,
Left the bow already circled, silent gazed upon the Sun!

Uprose Chedi’s haughty monarch, mightiest of the monarchs he,
Other kings had failed inglorious, Sisupala stood forth free,

Firm in heart and fixed in purpose, bent the tough unbending bow,
Vainly! for the bow rebounding laid the haughty monarch low!

Uprose sturdy Jarasandha, far Magadha’s mighty chief,
Held the bow and stood undaunted, tall and stately as a cliff,

But once more the bow rebounded, fell the monarch in his shame,
Left in haste Panchala’s mansions for the region whence he came!

Uprose Salya, king of Madra, with his wondrous skill and might,
Faltering, on his knees descending, fell in sad inglorious plight,

Thus each monarch fell and faltered, merry whispers went around,
And the sound of stifled laughter circled round the festive ground!

Poem – The Bride

Sound the drum and voice the sankha! Brightly dawns; the bridal day,
Fresh from morning s pure ablutions comes the bride in garments gay,

And her golden bridal garland, carrying on her graceful arm.
Softly, sweetly, steps Draupadi, queen of every winning charm!

Then a Brahman versed in mantra, ancient priest of lunar race,
Lights the Fire, with pious offerings seek its blessings and its grace,

Whispered words of benediction saints and holy men repeat,
Conch and trumpet’s voice is silent, hushed the lofty war-drum’s beat.

And there reigns a solemn silence, and in stately pomp and pride,
Drupad’s son leads forth his sister, fair Panchala’ s beauteous bride!

In his loud and lofty accents like the distant thunder’s sound.
Drupad’s son his father’s wishes thus proclaims to all around:

‘Mark this bow, assembled monarchs, and the target hung an high,
Through yon whirling piercéd discus let five glist’ning arrows fly,

Whoso, barn of noble lineage, hits the far suspended aim,
Let him stand and as his guerdon Drupad’s beauteous maiden claim!’

Then he turns unto Draupadi, tells each prince and suitor’s name,
Tells his race and lofty lineage, and his warlike deeds of fame.

Poem – Dirty Game

Blaring voice and strong signal came
Message from boy aging 9 for playing game
What game early in the morning dear son?
My uncle/auntie has wished you chase and run

You are so small and playing on somebody’s behalf, I said
“Not thinking of even your better half
You are supporting your poems on other’s name
For getting good name and earn the fame” he said

Is it not good to have many members in family?
Who has suggested you to ask the questions silly? I questioned
He was tutored to speak the language of mature
We can think at the age of nine what he has the future

This is how people are let loose and make messages
Is it the only way to find the top passage?
Why not they choose creative path and best usage?
Whole life will be wasted with the advancement of age

I have faced the bitter test of language
Unusual methods worth throwing in garbage
Still they claim the custodian of heritage?
Have they not gone berserk and mentally enraged?

Let this poem hunter be only hunting ground
New talents with innovative ideas should be found
Scrap or throw them who have nothing to offer
Let there be thousands of ideas and thoughts to differ

They have easy access to bio dates and inlet
It will be their Endeavour not anybody to let
What is here to gain and loose?
Path is open for them to go or choose?

Nothing will emerge except dirt and mud
It is utter nonsense and not at all good
Let there be discontinuance of grading system
Only entry with poems and wait for response esteem

Poem – Good Bye

It is time to say good bye,
amidst small gathering and cry,
Soul to depart from body and fly,
No one knows where and why?

Always stayed among kith and kin
Struggled hard though not very keen
So much load on solder as it had always been
So many odds against but clear path seen

Kept all flocks under shed and together
Waging a struggle and not thought to bother
Continued to strive very hard and survived
Explored all possible means and revived

Lived life to the extent possible,
Made it easy though looked impossible,
Discharged obligations to the last end,
Sensed eternal signals which were send,

Many things were done and remained undone,
Received acclaim from friends as well done,
Considered life as meaningful and good mission,
No doubts ever occurred as matter of question

Will my work remain not to be in time finished?
Chances are not bright and seems to be diminished
though life remained fulfilled and has no regret,
it’s time to sleep peacefully and rest to forget,

Will my living not be exemplary and remembered?
Ideas may soon be forgotten and pushed in corner
This may take place or happen later or sooner,
It is a lesson for the learner or beginner

I may have not lived up to the expectations,
May have many emissions and omissions,
Might have not yielded to the submissions,
But always have resisted the temptations

Ambition and desire may remain always a concern
Attempt to disassociate will be a lesson to learn
Sun always shined and brought ray of hope,
Descending was easy even in high slopes

it gives enough joy And contentment
Life seems to be a mission for fulfillment
Might have faced rough weather sometimes
Everybody in life faces good or bad times

Eyes are filled with joy and unhappiness
When you became familiar with closeness
It was happy union but soon to come to an end
You had to leave everybody including friends

It is not easy to forget log association
Either in service, circle or with family
Sometimes we might have acted silly
But it would have been atmosphere homely

It is tearful and sad departure
You may feel end in near future
It is simple law of nature
Just get top of it and be sure

Final journey to bid farewell and bye,
Not enough time to say even lie,
Permanent position to find and go,
Leaving behind memories and forgo

Poem – Dark Horse

I I have proved and stayed as dark horse
Nobody would come to know without code Morse
People disregard me and pass the curse
Always non starter and unavailable force

I have earned disrepute and considered as unreliable
Still try to garner support and prove capable
Never waste a time for second or minute
Keep watch on all and observe it minutely

Play game safe and advance self interest
Try to extract more and achieve the best
Everything at command without passing test
Achievement of the goal without any rest

All for self betterment and not for social cause
No let up in work and continue without pause
This all becomes necessary in changing world
I know naked truth then why people turn cold?

This is selfish world and you should stay supreme
Play safe and never go to the end extreme
I may prove incompetence if not seize the opportunity
Life comes to a halt if not keep continuity,

People have a soft corner and very short memory
Go for bright glitter and never feel sorry
Worship rising sun and look not at sunset
Life should be at height and ambition preset

All eyes are on achievement and conceding defeat
Success story should emerge even making repeat
People fall in line and not mind treachery
Offer all the help even they feel jittery

Neither I am claiming nor proving hollow
System so prevalent I piously follow
Not offer chance or slight mistake to allow
People know better what is lying below

I want to achieve and rise above average
Glory and name should have wide coverage
All might say what is there in name
It doesn’t follow without playing game

I continuously strive after hard bargain
Doesn’t matter more whether loss or gain
Nothing comes in life without taking pain
Simple truth should be followed as it is plain

Poem – Marriage

Age old saying about marriage,
Sacred bonding and not carriage,
It is not freedom from cage,
Necessarily arising with completion of age,

No one thought of its sanity,
What are marriage and its utility?
Does that stand for population continuity?
Permanent bond and relation in amity,

New relations with two families union,
End of sour relation and exit form oblivion,
Finding perfect match as true companion,
With gala dance and lavish dishes in pavilion,

So long confined within limits, can be perfect,
Enhancing prestige and image with great impact,
Adding to civility with understanding and respect,
Surely it is an arrangement and not a pact,

Lavish spending is not necessarily,
Simple marriage with blessings happily,
Out of reach expenditure will be simply silly,
Not a wise steps but committing folly,

Parent may suffer on account of marriage,
Colossal waste of money can’t manage,
Adding to worry with heavy burden,
Pressure may be high to tackle it sudden,

With over of ceremony no more worry,
Calm all over and nothing to hurry,
Simple way of parting beloved one,
Sharing of joy but pain by none

Poem – Dead Nights

Dark clouds run to cover sun’s face,
With sparkling lights to join the race,
Descending on earth with malign intent,
Fear, destruction all with dreaded content,

Pin dropp silence in midst of night,
Not a ray of hope or slight light,
Little scuffle or fierce fight,
All noticed with powerful sight,

Dead night represent people pessimist,
No hope of revival as done by optimist,
Passim is t wait for ship to be sunk,
Optimist tries to drag even if drunk,

One remains always awake
Even nothing is at stake,
Person with controlled wishes,
Even water is disturbed with movement of fishes,

Holy soul departs at mid night,
Path is set with precision and right,
Evil doer’s absence may not be missed,
Good and light will always be noticed,

Nights represent bleak future and gloom,
Even flowers feel shame and not boom,
All wrong doings done at night,
People may thin it is path right,

Night is not all that bad,
Proper time to remain calm and sad,
All energy to cool and find some rest,
Preparation for next day’s fight for best,

Poem – Humble project

You are no exception
It is relation
That makes high with elevation
It is family tradition

More you grow
Less you show
As females are always exemplary
And we need to make them no sorry

Still we are in primitive stage
And not acting as per an age
We still bring their pride down
And always keep eyes frown

Why not we realize?
And size
Their participation
In activities of nation

Give them full active part
And let us start
One humble project
Accept this fact

प्रतीक्षा – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

मधुर प्रतीक्षा ही जब इतनी, प्रिय तुम आते तब क्या होता?

मौन रात इस भांति कि जैसे, कोई गत वीण पर बज कर,
अभी-अभी सोई खोई-सी, सपनों में तारों पर सिर धर
और दिशाओं से प्रतिध्वनियाँ, जाग्रत सुधियों-सी आती हैं,
कान तुम्हारे तान कहीं से यदि सुन पाते, तब क्या होता?

तुमने कब दी बात रात के सूने में तुम आने वाले,
पर ऐसे ही वक्त प्राण मन, मेरे हो उठते मतवाले,
साँसें घूमघूम फिरफिर से, असमंजस के क्षण गिनती हैं,
मिलने की घड़ियाँ तुम निश्चित, यदि कर जाते तब क्या होता?

उत्सुकता की अकुलाहट में, मैंने पलक पाँवड़े डाले,
अम्बर तो मशहूर कि सब दिन, रहता अपने होश सम्हाले,
तारों की महफिल ने अपनी आँख बिछा दी किस आशा से,
मेरे मौन कुटी को आते तुम दिख जाते तब क्या होता?

बैठ कल्पना करता हूँ, पगचाप तुम्हारी मग से आती,
रगरग में चेतनता घुलकर, आँसू के कणसी झर जाती,
नमक डलीसा गल अपनापन, सागर में घुलमिलसा जाता,
अपनी बाँहों में भरकर प्रिय, कण्ठ लगाते तब क्या होता?

साथी, सब कुछ सहना होगा – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

मानव पर जगती का शासन,
जगती पर संसृति का बंधन,
संसृति को भी और किसी के प्रतिबंधों में रहना होगा!
साथी, सब कुछ सहना होगा!

हम क्या हैं जगती के सर में!
जगती क्या, संसृति सागर में!
एक प्रबल धारा में हमको लघु तिनके-सा बहना होगा!
साथी, सब कुछ सहना होगा!

आओ, अपनी लघुता जानें,
अपनी निर्बलता पहचानें,
जैसे जग रहता आया है उसी तरह से रहना होगा!
साथी, सब कुछ सहना होगा!

था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

हा, तुम्हारी मृदुल इच्छा!
हाय, मेरी कटु अनिच्छा!
था बहुत माँगा ना तुमने किन्तु वह भी दे ना पाया!
था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया!

स्नेह का वह कण तरल था,
मधु न था, न सुधा-गरल था,
एक क्षण को भी, सरलते, क्यों समझ तुमको न पाया!
था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया!

बूँद कल की आज सागर,
सोचता हूँ बैठ तट पर –
क्यों अभी तक डूब इसमें कर न अपना अंत पाया!
था तुम्हें मैंने रुलाया!

Yatra Aur Yatri – Harivansh Rai Bachchan

साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
चल रहा है तारकों का

दल गगन में गीत गाता

चल रहा आकाश भी है

शून्य में भ्रमता-भ्रमाता
पाँव के नीचे पड़ी

अचला नहीं, यह चंचला है
एक कण भी, एक क्षण भी

एक थल पर टिक न पाता
शक्तियाँ गति की तुझे

सब ओर से घेरे हुए है

स्थान से अपने तुझे

टलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर!
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
थे जहाँ पर गर्त पैरों

को ज़माना ही पड़ा था

पत्थरों से पाँव के

छाले छिलाना ही पड़ा था
घास मखमल-सी जहाँ थी

मन गया था लोट सहसा
थी घनी छाया जहाँ पर

तन जुड़ाना ही पड़ा था
पग परीक्षा, पग प्रलोभन

ज़ोर-कमज़ोरी भरा तू

इस तरफ डटना उधर

ढलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
शूल कुछ ऐसे, पगो में

चेतना की स्फूर्ति भरते

तेज़ चलने को विवश

करते, हमेशा जबकि गड़ते
शुक्रिया उनका कि वे

पथ को रहे प्रेरक बनाए
किन्तु कुछ ऐसे कि रुकने

के लिए मजबूर करते
और जो उत्साह का

देते कलेजा चीर, ऐसे

कंटकों का दल तुझे

दलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
सूर्य ने हँसना भुलाया,

चंद्रमा ने मुस्कुराना

और भूली यामिनी भी

तारिकाओं को जगाना
एक झोंके ने बुझाया

हाथ का भी दीप लेकिन
मत बना इसको पथिक तू

बैठ जाने का बहाना
एक कोने में हृदय के

आग तेरे जग रही है,

देखने को मग तुझे

जलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर!
वह कठिन पथ और कब

उसकी मुसीबत भूलती है

साँस उसकी याद करके

भी अभी तक फूलती है
यह मनुज की वीरता है

या कि उसकी बेहयाई
साथ ही आशा सुखों का

स्वप्न लेकर झूलती है
सत्य सुधियाँ, झूठ शायद

स्वप्न, पर चलना अगर है

झूठ से सच को तुझे

छलना पड़ेगा ही, मुसाफिर
साँस चलती है तुझे

चलना पड़ेगा ही मुसाफिर! 

Poem – The Chariot Driver

Dewed with drops of toil and languor, lo,! a chariot-driver came,
Loosely hung his scanty garments, and a staff upheld his frame,

Karna, now a crownéd monarch, to the humble Suta sped,
As a son unto a father, reverently bent his head!

With his scanty cloth the driver sought his dusty feet to hide,
And he hailed him as a father hails his offspring in his pride,

And he clasped unto his bosom crownéd Karna’s noble head,
And on Karna’s dripping forehead, fresh and loving tear-drops shed!

Is he soil of chariot-driver? Doubts arose in Bhima’s mind,
And he sought to humble Karna with reproachful words unkind

‘Wilt thou, high-descended hero, with a Kuru cross thy brand?
But the goad of cattle-drivers better suits, my friend, thy hand!

Wilt thou as a crownéd monarch rule a mighty nation’s weal?
As the jackals of the jungle sacrificial offerings steal!’

Quivered Karna’s lips in anger, word of answer spake he none,
But a deep sigh shook his bosom, and he gazed upon the sun!

Poem – The Anointment of Karna

Crested Karna, helméd Arjun, proudly trod the spacious green,
Kripa, skilled in herald’s duties, spake upon the dreadful scene:

‘This is helmet-wearing Arjun, sprung of Kuru’s mighty race,
Pandu’s son and borne by Pritha, prince of worth and warlike grace,

Long-armed Chief! declare thy lineage, and the race thou dost adorn,
Name thy mother and thy father, and the house that saw thee born,

By the rules of war Prince Arjun claims his rival chief to know,
Princes may not draw their weapon ‘gainst a base and nameless foe!’

Karna silent heard this mandate, rank nor lineage could he claim,
Like a raindrop-pelted lotus bent his humble head in shame!

‘Prince we reckon,’ cried Duryodhan, ‘not the man of birth alone
Warlike leader of his forces as a prince and chief we own,

Karna by his warlike valour is of crownéd kings the peer,
Karna shall be crownéd monarch, nations shall his mandate hear!’

Forth they brought the corn and treasure, golden coin and water jar,
On the throne they seated Karna famed in many a deathful war,

Brahmans chanted sacred mantra which the holy books ordain,
And anointed crownéd Karna king of Anga’s fair domain,

And they raised the red umbrella, and they waved the chowri fan,
‘Blessings on the crownéd monarch! honour to the bravest man!’

‘Now the holy rites accomplished, in his kingly robes arrayed
Karna unto prince Duryodhan thus in grateful accents prayed:

‘Gift of kingdom, good Duryodhan, speaketh well thy noble heart,
What return can grateful Karna humbly render on his part?’

‘Grant thy friendship,’ cried Duryodhan, ‘for no other boon crave,
Be Duryodhan’s dearest comrade, be his helper true and brave,’

‘Be it so!’ responded Karna, with a proud and noble grace,
And he sealed his loyal friendship in a loving fond embrace!

Poem – The Advent of Karna

Now the feats of arm are ended, and the closing hour draws nigh,
Music’s voice is hushed in silence, and dispersing crowds pass by,

Hark! Like welkin-shaking thunder wakes a deep and deadly sound,
Clank and din of warlike weapons burst upon the tented ground!

Are the solid mountains splitting, is it bursting of the earth.
Is it tempest’s pealing accent whence the lightning takes its birth?

Thoughts like these alarm the people for the sound is dread and high,
To the gaze of the arena turns the crowd with anxious eye!

Gathered round preceptor Drona, Pandu’s sons in armour bright,
Like the five-starred constellation round the radiant Queen of Night,

Gathered round the proud Duryodhan, dreaded for his exploits done,
All his brave and warlike brothers and preceptor Drona’s son,

So the gods encircled INDRA, thunder-wielding, fierce and bold,
When he scattered Danu’s children in the misty days of old!

Pale, before the unknown warrior, gathered nations part in twain,
Conqueror of hostile cities, lofty Karna treads the plain,

In his golden mail accoutred. and his rings of yellow gold,
Like a moving cliff in stature, arméd comes the chieftain bold,

Pritha, yet unwedded, bore him, peerless archer on the earth,
Portion of the solar radiance, for the Sun inspired his birth!

Like a tusker in his fury, like a lion in his ire,
Like the sun in noontide radiance, like the all-consuming fire,

Lion-like in build and muscle, stately as a golden palm,
Blessed with every very manly virtue, peerless, dauntless, proud and calm!

With his looks serene and lofty field of war the chief surveyed,
Scarce to Kripa or to Drona honour and obeisance made,

Still the panic-stricken people viewed him with unmoving gaze,
Who maybe this unknown warrior, questioned theyin hushed amaze!

Then in voice of pealing thunder spake fair Pritha’s eldest son
Unto Arjun, Pritha’s youngest, each, alas! to each unknown:

‘All thy feats of weapons, Arjun, done with vain and needless boast,
These and greater I accomplish-witness be this mighty host!’

Thus spake proud and peerless Karna in his accents deep and loud,
And as moved by sudden impulse joyous rose the listening crowd,

And a gleam of mighty transport glows in proud Duryodhan’s heart,
Flames of wrath and jealous anger from the eyes of Arjun start,

Drona gave the word, and Karna, Pritha’s war-beloving son,
With his sword and with his arrows did the feats by Arjun done!

Poem – The Advent of Arjun

Gauntleted and jewel-girdled, with his bow of ample height,
Archer Arjun pious-hearted to the gods performed a rite,

Then he stepped forth proud and stately in his golden mail encased,
Like the sunlit cloud of evening with the golden rainbow graced,

And a gladness stirred the people all around the listed plain,
Voice of drum and blare of trumpet rose with sankha’s festive strain!

‘Mark! the gallant son of Pandu, whom the happy Pritha bore,
Mark! the heir of INDRA’S valour, matchless in his arms and lore,

Mark! the warrior young and valiant, peerless in his skill of arms,
Mark! the prince of stainless virtue, decked with grace and varied charms!’

Pritha heard such grateful voices borne aloft unto the sky,
Milk of love suffused her bosom, tear of joy was in her eye!

And where rested Kuru’s monarch, joyous accents struck his ear,
And he turned to wise Vidura seeking for the cause to hear:

‘Wherefore like the voice of ocean, when the tempest winds prevail,
Rise the voices of the people and the spacious skies assail?’

Answered him the wise Vidura, ‘It is Pritha’s gallant boy,
Godlike moves in golden armour, and the people shout for joy!’

‘Pleased am I.’ so spake the monarch,’ and I bless my happy fate,
Pritha’s sons like fires of yajna sanctify this mighty State!’

Now the voices of the people died away and all was still,
Arjun to his proud preceptor showed his might and matchless skill.

Towering high or lowly bending, on the turf or on his car,
With his bow and glist’ning arrows. Arjun waged the mimic war,

Targets on the wide arena, mighty tough or wondrous small,
With his arrows still unfailing, Arjun pierced them one and all!

Wild-boar shaped in plates of iron coursed the wide-extending field,
In its jaws five glist’ning arrows sent the archer wondrous -skilled,

Cow-horn by a thread suspended was by winds unceasing swayed,
One and twenty well-aimed arrows on this moving mark he laid,

And with equal skill his rapier did the godlike Arjun wield,
Whirling round the mace of battle ranged the spacious tourney field!

Poem – Close of the Day

Like a lordly tusker rising from a beauteous lotus lake,
Rose Duryodhan from his brothers, proudly thus to Bhima spake:

‘With such insults seek not, Bhima, thus to cause a warrior grief,
Bitter taunts but ill befit thee, warlike tiger-waisted chief,

Proudest chief may fight the humblest, for like river’s noble course,
Noble deeds proclaim the warrior, and we question not their source!

Teacher Drona, priest and warrior, owns a poor and humble birth,
Kripa, noblest of Gautamas, springeth from the lowly earth,

Known to me thy lineage Bhima, thine and of thy brothers four,
Amorous gods your birth imparted, so they say, in days of yore!

Mark the great and gallant Karna decked in rings and weapons fair
She-deer breeds not lordly tigers in her poor and lowly lair,

Karna comes to rule the wide earth, not fair Anga’s realms alone,
By his valour and his virtue, by the homage which I own,

And if prince or arméd chieftain doth my word or deed gainsay,
Let him take his bow and quiver, meet me in a deadly fray!’

Loud applauses greet the challenge and the people’s joyful cry,
But the thickening shades of darkness fill the earth and evening sky

And the red lamp’s fitful lustre shone upon the field around,
Slowly with the peerless Karna proud Duryodhan left the ground.

Pandu’s sons with warlike Drona marked the darksome close of day
And with Kripa and with Bhishma homeward silent bent their way

‘Arjun is the gallant victor!’ ‘Valiant Karna’s won the day!’
‘Prince Duryodhan is the winner!’ Various thus the people say

By some secret sign appriséd Pritha knew her gallant boy,
Saw him crownéd king of Anga, with a mother’s secret joy,

And with greater joy Duryodhan fastened Karna to his side,
Feared no longer Arjun’s prowess, Arjun’s skill of arms and pride

E’en Yudhishthir reckoned Karna mightiest warrior on the earth,
Half misdoubted Arjun’s prowess, Arjun’s, skill and warlike worth!

Poem – Bhima and Duryodhan

Bhima came and proud Duryodhan with their maces lifted high,
Like two cliffs with lofty turrets cleaving through the azure sky,

In their warlike arms accoutred with their girded loins they stood,
Like two untamed jungle tuskers in the deep and echoing wood!

And as tuskers range the forest, so they range the spacious field,
Right to left and back they wander and their ponderous maces wield,

Unto Kuru’s sightless monarch wise Vidura drew the scene,
Pritha proudly of the princes spake unto the Kuru queen.

While the stalwart Bhima battled with Duryodhan brave and strong,
Fierce in wrath, for one or other, shouted forth the maddened throng,

‘Hail to Kuru prince Duryodhan!’ ‘Hail to Bhima hero proud!’
Sounds like these from surging myriads rose in tumult deep and loud,

And with troubled vision Drona marked the heaving restless plain,
Marked the crowd by anger shaken, like the tempest-shaken main,

To his son he softly whispered quick the tumult to appease,
Part the armed and angry wrestlers, bid the deadly combat cease,

With their lifted clubs the princes slow retired on signal given,
Like the parting of the billows, mighty-heaving, tempest-driven!

Came forth then the ancient Drona on the open battle-ground,
Stopped the drum and lofty trumpet, spake in voice like thunder’s sound:

‘Bid him come, the gallant Arjun! pious prince and warrior skilled,
Arjun, born of mighty INDRA, and with VISHNU’S prowess filled.’

Poem – Conclusion

‘This is She the fair Immortal! Her no human mother bore,
Sprung from altar as Draupadi human shape for thee she wore,

By the Wielder of the Trident she was waked to form and life,
Bom in royal Drupad’s mansion, righteous man, to be thy wife,

These are bright aérial beings, went for thee to lower earth,
Borne by Drupad’s stainless daughter as thy children took their birth!

This is monarch Dhrita-rashtra who doth o’er Gandharvas reign,
This is peerless archer Karna, erst on earth by Arjun slain,

Like the Sun in ruddy splendour, for the Sun inspired his birth,
As the son of chariot-driver he was known upon the earth!

Mdst the Sadhyas and the Maruts, ‘midst Immortals pure and bright,
Seek thy friends the faithful Vrishnis matchless in their warlike might.

Seek and find the brave Satyaki who upheld thy cause so well,
Seek the Bhojas and Andhakas who in Kuru-kshetra fell!

This is gallant Abhimanyu whom the fair Subhadra bore,
Still unconquered in the battle, slain by fraud in yonder shore,

Abhimanyu son of Arjun, wielding Arjun’s peerless might,
With the Lord of Night he ranges, beauteous as the Lord of Night!

This, Yudhishthir, is thy father, by thy mother joined in heaven,
Oft he comes into my mansions in his flowery chariot driven.

This is Bhishma stainless warrior, by the Vasus is his place,
By the god of heavenly wisdom teacher Drona sits in grace!

These and other mighty warriors in the earthly battle slain,
By their valour and their virtue walk the bright ethereal plain,

They have cast their mortal bodies, crossed the radiant gate of heaven,
For to win celestial mansions unto mortals it is given,

Let them strive by kindly action, gentle speech, endurance long,
Brighter life and holier future into sons of men belong! ‘

Poem – Kosmos

WHO includes diversity, and is Nature,
Who is the amplitude of the earth, and the coarseness and sexuality
of the earth, and the great charity of the earth, and the
equilibrium also,
Who has not look’d forth from the windows, the eyes, for nothing, or
whose brain held audience with messengers for nothing;
Who contains believers and disbelievers–Who is the most majestic
lover;
Who holds duly his or her triune proportion of realism, spiritualism,
and of the aesthetic, or intellectual,
Who, having consider’d the Body, finds all its organs and parts good;
Who, out of the theory of the earth, and of his or her body,
understands by subtle analogies all other theories,
The theory of a city, a poem, and of the large politics of These
States;
Who believes not only in our globe, with its sun and moon, but in
other globes, with their suns and moons;
Who, constructing the house of himself or herself, not for a day, but
for all time, sees races, eras, dates, generations, 10
The past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable
together.

Poem – Behavior

BEHAVIOR–fresh, native, copious, each one for himself or herself,
Nature and the Soul expressed–America and freedom expressed–In it
the finest art,
In it pride, cleanliness, sympathy, to have their chance,
In it physique, intellect, faith–in it just as much as to manage an
army or a city, or to write a book–perhaps more,
The youth, the laboring person, the poor person, rivalling all the
rest–perhaps outdoing the rest,
The effects of the universe no greater than its;
For there is nothing in the whole universe that can be more effective
than a man’s or woman’s daily behavior can be,
In any position, in any one of These States.

Poem – Faces

SAUNTERING the pavement, or riding the country by-road–lo! such
faces!
Faces of friendship, precision, caution, suavity, ideality;
The spiritual, prescient face–the always welcome, common, benevolent
face,
The face of the singing of music–the grand faces of natural lawyers
and judges, broad at the back-top;
The faces of hunters and fishers, bulged at the brows–the shaved
blanch’d faces of orthodox citizens;
The pure, extravagant, yearning, questioning artist’s face;
The ugly face of some beautiful Soul, the handsome detested or
despised face;
The sacred faces of infants, the illuminated face of the mother of
many children;
The face of an amour, the face of veneration;
The face as of a dream, the face of an immobile rock; 10
The face withdrawn of its good and bad, a castrated face;
A wild hawk, his wings clipp’d by the clipper;
A stallion that yielded at last to the thongs and knife of the
gelder.

Sauntering the pavement, thus, or crossing the ceaseless ferry,
faces, and faces, and faces:
I see them, and complain not, and am content with all.

Do you suppose I could be content with all, if I thought them their
own finale?

This now is too lamentable a face for a man;
Some abject louse, asking leave to be–cringing for it;
Some milk-nosed maggot, blessing what lets it wrig to its hole.

This face is a dog’s snout, sniffing for garbage; 20
Snakes nest in that mouth–I hear the sibilant threat.

This face is a haze more chill than the arctic sea;
Its sleepy and wobbling icebergs crunch as they go.

This is a face of bitter herbs–this an emetic–they need no label;
And more of the drug-shelf, laudanum, caoutchouc, or hog’s-lard.

This face is an epilepsy, its wordless tongue gives out the unearthly
cry,
Its veins down the neck distended, its eyes roll till they show
nothing but their whites,
Its teeth grit, the palms of the hands are cut by the turn’d-in
nails,
The man falls struggling and foaming to the ground while he
speculates well.

This face is bitten by vermin and worms, 30
And this is some murderer’s knife, with a half-pull’d scabbard.

This face owes to the sexton his dismalest fee;
An unceasing death-bell tolls there.

Those then are really men–the bosses and tufts of the great round
globe!

Features of my equals, would you trick me with your creas’d and
cadaverous march?
Well, you cannot trick me.

I see your rounded, never-erased flow;
I see neath the rims of your haggard and mean disguises.

Splay and twist as you like–poke with the tangling fores of fishes
or rats;
You’ll be unmuzzled, you certainly will. 40

I saw the face of the most smear’d and slobbering idiot they had at
the asylum;
And I knew for my consolation what they knew not;
I knew of the agents that emptied and broke my brother,
The same wait to clear the rubbish from the fallen tenement;
And I shall look again in a score or two of ages,
And I shall meet the real landlord, perfect and unharm’d, every inch
as good as myself.

The Lord advances, and yet advances;
Always the shadow in front–always the reach’d hand bringing up the
laggards.

Out of this face emerge banners and horses–O superb! I see what is
coming;
I see the high pioneer-caps–I see the staves of runners clearing the
way, 50
I hear victorious drums.

This face is a life-boat;
This is the face commanding and bearded, it asks no odds of the rest;
This face is flavor’d fruit, ready for eating;
This face of a healthy honest boy is the programme of all good.

These faces bear testimony, slumbering or awake;
They show their descent from the Master himself.

Off the word I have spoken, I except not one–red, white, black, are
all deific;
In each house is the ovum–it comes forth after a thousand years.

Spots or cracks at the windows do not disturb me; 60
Tall and sufficient stand behind, and make signs to me;
I read the promise, and patiently wait.

This is a full-grown lily’s face,
She speaks to the limber-hipp’d man near the garden pickets,
Come here, she blushingly cries–Come nigh to me, limber-hipp’d man,
Stand at my side till I lean as high as I can upon you,
Fill me with albescent honey, bend down to me,
Rub to me with your chafing beard, rub to my breast and shoulders.

The old face of the mother of many children!
Whist! I am fully content. 70

Lull’d and late is the smoke of the First-day morning,
It hangs low over the rows of trees by the fences,
It hangs thin by the sassafras, the wild-cherry, and the cat-brier
under them.

I saw the rich ladies in full dress at the soiree,
I heard what the singers were singing so long,
Heard who sprang in crimson youth from the white froth and the water-
blue,

Behold a woman!
She looks out from her quaker cap–her face is clearer and more
beautiful than the sky.

She sits in an arm-chair, under the shaded porch of the farmhouse,
The sun just shines on her old white head. 80

Her ample gown is of cream-hued linen,
Her grandsons raised the flax, and her granddaughters spun it with
the distaff and the wheel.

The melodious character of the earth,
The finish beyond which philosophy cannot go, and does not wish to
go,
The justified mother of men.

Poem – Several Questions Answered

What is it men in women do require?
The lineaments of Gratified Desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of Gratified Desire.

The look of love alarms
Because ’tis fill’d with fire;
But the look of soft deceit
Shall Win the lover’s hire.

Soft Deceit & Idleness,
These are Beauty’s sweetest dress.

He who binds to himself a joy
Dot the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise

Poem – Samson

Samson, the strongest of the children of men, I sing; how he was foiled by woman’s arts, by a false wife brought to the gates of death! O Truth! that shinest with propitious beams, turning our earthly night to heavenly day, from presence of the Almighty Father, thou visitest our darkling world with blessed feet, bringing good news of Sin and Death destroyed! O whiterobed Angel, guide my timorous hand to write as on a lofty rock with iron pen the words of truth, that all who pass may read. — Now Night, noontide of damned spirits, over the silent earth spreads her pavilion, while in dark council sat Philista’s lords; and, where strength failed, black thoughts in ambush lay. Their helmed youth and aged warriors in dust together lie, and Desolation spreads his wings over the land of Palestine: from side to side the land groans, her prowess lost, and seeks to hide her bruised head under the mists of night, breeding dark plots. For Dalila’s fair arts have long been tried in vain; in vain she wept in many a treacherous tear. Go on, fair traitress; do thy guileful work; ere once again the changing moon her circuit hath performed, thou shalt overcome, and conquer him by force unconquerable, and wrest his secret from him. Call thine alluring arts and honest-seeming brow, the holy kiss of love, and the transparent tear; put on fair linen that with the lily vies, purple and silver; neglect thy hair, to seem more lovely in thy loose attire; put on thy country's pride, deceit, and eyes of love decked in mild sorrow; and sell thy lord for gold.' For now, upon her sumptuous couch reclined in gorgeous pride, she still entreats, and still she grasps his vigorous knees with her fair arms.Thou lov’st me not! thou’rt war, thou art not love! O foolish Dalila! O weak woman! it is death clothed in flesh thou lovest, and thou hast been encircled in his arms! Alas, my lord, what am I calling thee? Thou art my God! To thee I pour my tears for sacrifice morning and evening. My days are covered with sorrow, shut up, darkened! By night I am deceived! Who says that thou wast born of mortal kind? Destruction was thy father, a lioness suckled thee, thy young hands tore human limbs, and gorged human flesh. Come hither, Death; art thou not Samson’s servant? ‘Tis Dalila that calls, thy master’s wife; no, stay, and let thy master do the deed: one blow of that strong arm would ease my pain; then should I lay at quiet and have rest. Pity forsook thee at thy birth! O Dagon furious, and all ye gods of Palestine, withdraw your hand! I am but a weak woman. Alas, I am wedded to your enemy! I will go mad, and tear my crisped hair; 1000 I’ll run about, and pierce the ears o’ th’ gods! O Samson, hold me not; thou lovest me not! Look not upon me with those deathful eyes! Thou wouldst my death, and death approaches fast.’ Thus, in false tears, she bath’d his feet, and thus she day by day oppressed his soul: he seemed a mountain; his brow among the clouds; she seemed a silver stream, his feet embracing. Dark thoughts rolled to and fro in his mind, like thunder clouds troubling the sky; his visage was troubled; his soul was distressed. Though I should tell her all my heart, what can I fear? Though I should tell this secret of my birth, the utmost may be warded off as well when told as now.' She saw him moved, and thus resumes her wiles.Samson, I’m thine; do with me what thou wilt: my friends are enemies; my life is death; I am a traitor to my nation, and despised; my joy is given into the hands of him who hates me, using deceit to the wife of his bosom. Thrice hast thou mocked me and grieved my soul. Didst thou not tell me with green withs to bind thy nervous arms; and, after that, when I had found thy falsehood, with new ropes to bind thee fast? I knew thou didst but mock me. Alas, when in thy sleep I bound thee with them to try thy truth, I cried, “The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!” Then did suspicion wake thee; how didst thou rend the feeble ties! Thou fearest nought, what shouldst thou fear? Thy power is more than mortal, none can hurt thee; thy bones are brass, thy sinews are iron. Ten thousand spears are like the summer grass; an army of mighty men are as flocks in the valleys; what canst thou fear? I drink my tears like water; I live upon sorrow! O worse than wolves and tigers, what canst thou give when such a trifle is denied me? But O! at last thou mockest me, to shame my over-fond inquiry. Thou toldest me to weave thee to the beam by thy strong hair; I did even that to try thy truth; but, when I cried “The Philistines be upon thee!” then didst thou leave me to bewail that Samson loved me not.’ He sat, and inward griev’d; he saw and lov’d the beauteous suppliant, nor could conceal aught that might appease her; then, leaning on her bosom, thus he spoke: `Hear, O Dalila! doubt no more of Samson’s love; for that fair breast was made the ivory palace of my inmost heart, where it shall lie at rest: for sorrow is the lot of all of woman born: for care was I brought forth, and labour is my lot: nor matchless might, nor wisdom, nor every gift enjoyed, can from the heart of man hide sorrow. Twice was my birth foretold from heaven, and twice a sacred vow enjoined me that I should drink no wine, nor eat of any unclean thing; for holy unto Israel’s God I am, a Nazarite even from my mother’s womb. Twice was it told, that it might not be broken. “Grant me a son, kind Heaven,” Manoa cried; but Heaven refused. Childless he mourned, but thought his God knew best. In solitude, though not obscure, in Israel he lived, till venerable age came on: his flocks increased, and plenty crowned his board, beloved, revered of man. But God hath other joys in store. Is burdened Israel his grief? The son of his old age shall set it free! The venerable sweetener of his life receives the promise first from Heaven. She saw the maidens play, and blessed their innocent mirth; she blessed each new-joined pair; but from her the long-wished deliverer shall spring. Pensive, alone she sat within the house, when busy day was fading, and calm evening, time for contemplation, rose from the forsaken east, and drew the curtains of heaven: pensive she sat, and thought on Israel’s grief, and silent prayed to Israel’s God; when lo! an angel from the fields of light entered the house. His form was manhood in the prime, and from his spacious brow shot terrors through the evening shade. But mild he hailed her, “Hail, highly favoured!” said he; “for lo! thou shalt conceive, and bear a son, and Israel’s strength shall be upon his shoulders, and he shall be called Israel’s Deliverer. Now, therefore, drink no wine, and eat not any unclean thing, for he shall be a Nazarite to God.” Then, as a nei 727 ghbour, when his evening tale is told, departs, his blessing leaving, so seemed he to depart: she wondered with exceeding joy, nor knew he was an angel. Manoa left his fields to sit in the house, and take his evening’s rest from labour — the sweetest time that God has allotted mortal man. He sat, and heard with joy, and praised God, who Israel still doth keep. The time rolled on, and Israel groaned oppressed. The sword was bright, while the ploughshare rusted, till hope grew feeble, and was ready to give place to doubting. Then prayed Manoa: “O Lord, thy flock is scattered on the hills! The wolf teareth them, Oppression stretches his rod over our land, our country is ploughed with swords, and reaped in blood. The echoes of slaughter reach from hill to hill. Instead of peaceful pipe the shepherd bears a sword, the ox-goad is turned into a spear. O when shall our Deliverer come? The Philistine riots on our flocks, our vintage is gathered by bands of enemies. Stretch forth thy hand, and save!” Thus prayed Manoa. The aged woman walked into the field, and lo! again the angel came, clad as a traveller fresh risen on his journey. She ran and called her husband, who came and talked with him. “O man of God,” said he, “thou comest from far! Let us detain thee while I make ready a kid, that thou mayest sit and eat, and tell us of thy name and warfare; that, when thy sayings come to pass, we may honour thee.” The Angel answered, “My name is Wonderful; inquire not after it, seeing it is a secret; but, if thou wilt, offer an offering unto the Lord.”‘

Poem – Love’s Secret

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she did depart!

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveler came by,
Silently, invisibly
He took her with a sigh.

Poem – The Garden of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And ‘Thou shalt not,’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

कविता – मन्दिर

पुजारी ! भजन, पूजन, साधन, प्रार्थना यमि
सबैलाई एकातिर राखिदेऊ ।
ढोका बन्द गरेर मन्दिरको कुनामा किन बसिरहेछौ ?
आङ्खनो मनको अन्धकारलाई लुकाएर बसिरहेछौ, तिमी कस्तो
पूजामा एकचित छौ ?
आँखा खोलेर एकपल्ट हेर, तिम्रो मन्दिरमा देवता छैन !

जुन रुखा जमीनलाई नरम पारेर कृषकहरुले खेतीपाती गरिरहेछन्,
जुन ठाउँमा रोजगरीहरुले पत्थर फोरेर बाटा बनाइरहेछन्,
तिम्रो देवता त्यहीं गएको छ !

उ घाम–पानीमा सधैँ एकै रहन्छ,
उसका दुव हात माटोले पूर्ण छन्,
उसको नगीचमा जानुछ भने सुन्दर वस्त्र त्यागेर माटोले भरिएका
बाटाबाट जाऊ !
तिम्रो देवता मन्दिरमा छैन, भजन, पूजन, साधन एकातिर
राखिदेऊ !

कविता – सीमामा असीम

हे असीम ! सीमामा पनि तिम्रो स्वर ध्वनित भइरहे छ ! मेरो
अन्तःकरणमा पनि तिम्रो मायाले प्रकाश छ !
हे रपरहित ! मति रङ्ग, गन्ध, संगीत, छन्दहरुमा तिम्रो रुप,र तिम्रो
लीलाका बयान मेरो ह्दयमा भरिएको छ !
यसकारण मेरो अन्तःकरणमा तिम्रो शोभा यति आकर्षक छ !
जब तिम्रो–मेरो मिलन होला त्यस वेला सबै समस्याहरु हराउनेछन् ।
संसार–सागरका तरंगका ज्वार उठ्नेछन् अनि पृथ्वी हल्लिनेछ !
तिम्रो उज्वलतामा छाया छैन : मेरो अन्तःकरणमा नै उसले
काया पाउँछ !
मेरा आँसुहरुमा नै उ संतप्त, र सुन्दर हुन्छ,
मेरो ह्दयले गर्दा यसकारण तिम्रो शोभा यस्तो आकर्षक छ !

कविता – घाटमा

ए सखी !
दिन बितिसक्यो :
सन्ध्या धरतीमा आइसकी,
अब आङ्खनो गाग्री भर्न घाटमा हिँड !
जलधाराका कल–कल स्वरले सन्ध्याकालको आकाशमा विरक्त
परिदियो ।
त्यो स्वरले मलाई लगातार भनिरहेछ :
आङ्खनो गाग्री भर्न घाटमा हिँड !

यो एकान्त बाटोमा कोही पनि आज छैन,
हावा चंचल भएको छ,
प्रेमको नदीमा गरंग नाचिरहेछन्,
‘म फर्केर आउँछु कि आउँदिनँ, केही पत्तो छैन
कोसँग मेरो भेटघाट होला, कसले जान्दछ र ?
घाटमा भएको सानो डुंगामा बसेर अपरिचित बाँसुरी बजाइरहेछ :
अब आङ्खनो गाग्री भर्न घाटमा हिँड !

Poem – Upon a Dying Lady

I
Her Courtesy

WITH the old kindness, the old distinguished grace,
She lies, her lovely piteous head amid dull red hair
propped upon pillows, rouge on the pallor of her face.
She would not have us sad because she is lying there,
And when she meets our gaze her eyes are laughter-lit,
Her speech a wicked tale that we may vie with her,
Matching our broken-hearted wit against her wit,
Thinking of saints and of petronius Arbiter.

II
Curtain Artist bring her Dolls and Drawings
Bring where our Beauty lies
A new modelled doll, or drawing,
With a friend’s or an enemy’s
Features, or maybe showing
Her features when a tress
Of dull red hair was flowing
Over some silken dress
Cut in the Turkish fashion,
Or, it may be, like a boy’s.
We have given the world our passion,
We have naught for death but toys.

III
She turns the Dolls’ Faces to the Wall
Because to-day is some religious festival
They had a priest say Mass, and even the Japanese,
Heel up and weight on toe, must face the wall
— Pedant in passion, learned in old courtesies,
Vehement and witty she had seemed — ; the Venetian lady
Who had seemed to glide to some intrigue in her red shoes,
Her domino, her panniered skirt copied from Longhi;
The meditative critic; all are on their toes,
Even our Beauty with her Turkish trousers on.
Because the priest must have like every dog his day
Or keep us all awake with baying at the moon,
We and our dolls being but the world were best away.

IV
The End of Day
She is playing like a child
And penance is the play,
Fantastical and wild
Because the end of day
Shows her that some one soon
Will come from the house, and say —
Though play is but half done —
‘Come in and leave the play.’

V
Her Race
She has not grown uncivil
As narrow natures would
And called the pleasures evil
Happier days thought good;
She knows herself a woman,
No red and white of a face,
Or rank, raised from a common
Vnreckonable race;
And how should her heart fail her
Or sickness break her will
With her dead brother’s valour
For an example still?

VI
Her Courage
When her soul flies to the predestined dancing-place
(I have no speech but symbol, the pagan speech I made
Amid the dreams of youth) let her come face to face,
Amid that first astonishment, with Grania’s shade,
All but the terrors of the woodland flight forgot
That made her Diatmuid dear, and some old cardinal
Pacing with half-closed eyelids in a sunny spot
Who had murmured of Giorgione at his latest breath —
Aye, and Achilles, Timor, Babar, Barhaim, all
Who have lived in joy and laughed into the face of Death.

VII
Her Friends bring her a Christmas Tree
pardon, great enemy,
Without an angry thought
We’ve carried in our tree,
And here and there have bought
Till all the boughs are gay,
And she may look from the bed
On pretty things that may
please a fantastic head.
Give her a little grace,
What if a laughing eye
Have looked into your face?
It is about to die.

Poem – The Indian to His Love

THE island dreams under the dawn
And great boughs drop tranquillity;
The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
A parrot sways upon a tree,
Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.
Here we will moor our lonely ship
And wander ever with woven hands,
Murmuring softly lip to lip,
Along the grass, along the sands,
Murmuring how far away are the unquiet lands:
How we alone of mortals are
Hid under quiet boughs apart,
While our love grows an Indian star,
A meteor of the burning heart,
One with the tide that gleams, the wings that gleam
and dart,
The heavy boughs, the burnished dove
That moans and sighs a hundred days:
How when we die our shades will rove,
When eve has hushed the feathered ways,
With vapoury footsole by the water’s drowsy blaze.

Poem – Under the Round Tower

ALTHOUGH I’d lie lapped up in linen
A deal I’d sweat and little earn
If I should live as live the neighbours,’
Cried the beggar, Billy Byrne;
‘Stretch bones till the daylight come
On great-grandfather’s battered tomb.’
Upon a grey old battered tombstone
In Glendalough beside the stream
Where the O’Byrnes and Byrnes are buried,
He stretched his bones and fell in a dream
Of sun and moon that a good hour
Bellowed and pranced in the round tower;
Of golden king and Silver lady,
Bellowing up and bellowing round,
Till toes mastered a sweet measure,
Mouth mastered a sweet sound,
Prancing round and prancing up
Until they pranced upon the top.
That golden king and that wild lady
Sang till stars began to fade,
Hands gripped in hands, toes close together,
Hair spread on the wind they made;
That lady and that golden king
Could like a brace of blackbirds sing.
‘It’s certain that my luck is broken,’
That rambling jailbird Billy said;
‘Before nightfall I’ll pick a pocket
And snug it in a feather bed.
I cannot find the peace of home
On great-grandfather’s battered tomb.’

Poem – The Seven Sages

The First. My great-grandfather spoke to Edmund Burke
In Grattan’s house.
The Second. My great-grandfather shared
A pot-house bench with Oliver Goldsmith once.
The Third. My great-grandfather’s father talked of music,
Drank tar-water with the Bishop of Cloyne.
The Fourth. But mine saw Stella once.
The Fifth. Whence came our thought?
The Sixth. From four great minds that hated Whiggery.
The Fifth. Burke was a Whig.
The Sixth. Whether they knew or not,
Goldsmith and Burke, Swift and the Bishop of Cloyne
All hated Whiggery; but what is Whiggery?
A levelling, rancorous, rational sort of mind
That never looked out of the eye of a saint
Or out of drunkard’s eye.
The Seventh. All’s Whiggery now,
But we old men are massed against the world.
The First. American colonies, Ireland, France and India
Harried, and Burke’s great melody against it.
The Second. Oliver Goldsmith sang what he had seen,
Roads full of beggars, cattle in the fields,
But never saw the trefoil stained with blood,
The avenging leaf those fields raised up against it.
The Fourth. The tomb of Swift wears it away.
The Third. A voice
Soft as the rustle of a reed from Cloyne
That gathers volume; now a thunder-clap.
The Sixtb. What schooling had these four?
The Seventh. They walked the roads
Mimicking what they heard, as children mimic;
They understood that wisdom comes of beggary.

Poem – The Three Monuments

THEY hold their public meetings where
Our most renowned patriots stand,
One among the birds of the air,
A stumpier on either hand;
And all the popular statesmen say
That purity built up the State
And after kept it from decay;
And let all base ambition be,
For intellect would make us proud
And pride bring in impurity:
The three old rascals laugh aloud.

Poem – A Prayer for Old Age

GOD guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;
From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?
I pray — for word is out
And prayer comes round again —
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

कविता – रात्रि प्रतिक्षा

बादलहरुमा बादल छायो, अन्धकार भयो :
यस्तो समयमा पनि मलाई तिम्रो ढोकाको बाहिर, प्रतीक्षामा किन
बसायौ, मेरा प्रियतम !
दिन बितेपछि, बेलुकीपख, म दिनहुँ विविध काम अनि विविध
मानिसहरुसँग व्यस्त रहन्छु !
आज यो अँध्यारो बेलुकी यहाँ एक्ले केवल तिम्रै दर्शन गर्ने आशामा
म बसिरहेछु ।

तिमीले यदि आज पनि तिम्रो दर्शन दिएनौ भने, अनि मेरो आशाको
उपेक्षा गरिदियो भने, यो वर्षाको लामो रात कसरी बिताउनु ?

अति टाढाको नीलो आकाशलाई म निर्निमेष देखिरहेछु :
मेरो मन हावामा उड्दै बाखलहरुसित आकाशमा विहार गरिरहेछ,
मलाई एक्लै ढोकाको बाहिर किन बसायौ, मेरा प्रियतम !

कविता – सुनसान स्वर

ईश्वर ! तिम्रो अनन्त मौन पनि म स्वीकार गर्छु
तिम्रो नीरवतालाई नै म ह्दयमा राख्छु !
तिम्रो प्रतीक्षामा निहुरिरहेको यो नीरव रात ताराहरुका बत्ती
बालेर अनिमेष आँखाले तिम्रो बाटो हेरिरहेछ ।
म पनि त्यही स्तब्ध प्रतिक्षा आङ्खनो ह्दयमा राख्छु !
जब बिहान हुन्छ, अन्धकार टाढा हुन्छ :
तिम्रो वीणाको सुनौला तारहरुबाट प्रस्फुटित स्वर धारा आकाशमा
पुगेर पृथ्वीमा छाउँछ :
त्यस वेला मेरो मन–पक्षीको घर पनि तिम्रो गीतले, तिम्रो स्वरले
मुखरित हुन्छ ।
तिम्रो स्वर–कलिका उपवनमा भएका झार–पातमा फूल झैँ
भएर हाँस्छ, होइन र ?

कविता – नौलो पथ रेखा

एक दिन मेरो मनमा विचार उठयो :
जो हुनु थियो सबै भइसके, मेरो यात्राको आखिरी निर्दिष्ट स्थान
आइपुग्यो ।
मलाई ज्ञात भयो, अब अघि बाटो छैन, म मेरो भ¥याङमा आइपुगें ।व
अब कोशिशको केही आवश्यकता छैन, पाथेय पनि शेष भयो ।
थाकेको, हारेको जीवनलाई विश्रान्ति लिने वेला आयो ।
यमि फाटेका पुराना वस्त्र लिएर म अघाडि कसरी जान सकुँला ?
तर आज देख्दछु :
तिम्रो लीलाको अन्त नै छैन, नजीनताको कुनै घेरा छैन ?
आङ्खनो नयाँ मनोकामना पूर्ण गर्नाको लागि तिमलिे मलाई फेरि
नयाँ जीवन दियौ ?
मेरा गीतका पुराना स्वरले आङ्खनो माधुर्य हराए पनि नयाँ संगीतको
स्वरमा ह्दयको स्रोतबाट उत्पति भए !
जब पुराना पथरेखा अदृष्य भए अनि नयाँ नयाँ मार्गका दृष्यहरु
आँखामा नाच्न थाले !

कविता – उआइरहेको छ

उआइरहेको छ, आइरहेको छ, आइरहेको छ !
उसको पदध्वनि तिमीले सुनेका छैनौ ?
युग, पल–पल, दिनोदिन रातरात :
उ आइरहेको छ, आइरहेको छ, आइरहेको छ !
ह्दयको तरंगमा उसको कति गीत गाइसकेँ,
ती सब गीतको स्वरमा यही आवाज निस्कन्छ :
उ आइरहेको छ : आइरहेको छ : आइरहेको छ !
बसन्तको रमाइलो दिन, उ वनको बाटो भएर आउँछ,
साउनको अँध्यारो रातमा मेघको गर्जिरहेका रथमाथि चढेर
उ आउँदछ ।
जब दुःखमाथि दुःख आउँछ, सो दुःख होइन उसको चरण,
मनलाई छुन्छ ,
नब सुखको भान हुन्छ, त्यसैका चरणको स्पर्शले मन आनन्दित पार्छ,
त्यही चरण–ध्वनि नै मनको स्पन्दन हो !
उ आइरहेको छ, आइरहेको छ, आइरहेको छ !

कविता – प्रहार गर

मेरो यही भावना छ : ईश्वर ! प्रहार गर, प्रहार गर, मेरो दिनताको
मुलमाथि मेरो ह्दय प्रहार गर !
शक्ति देऊ, म सुख–दुःखका चोट समानरुपले सहन सकूँ !
शक्ति देऊ, म मेरो प्रेम सेवामा पुष्पित पार्न सकूँ !
शक्ति देऊ, म दुवैलाई स्वीकार गरुँ अति निष्ठुर अस्तित्वको अगाडि
कहिले शिर ननिहुराउँ !
शक्ति देऊ, म सधैंका सानातिना संघर्षले आफ्नो मनलाई कोमल नपारुँ !
शक्ति देऊ, म तिम्रा आज्ञाको अघि आफ्नो अस्तित्वलाई प्रेमपूर्वक
समर्पित गर्न सकूँ !

कविता – जीवन पोखरी

जब जीवनको पोखरी सूखा हुन्छ, ह्दय कमलका पखेटाहरु
खुम्चिन्छन्, त्यस वेल तिमी करुणाका बादलहरुसँग उड्दै–घुम्दै
आउनू !
जब जीवनको सम्पूर्ण मिठास भएको कटुताको सुक्खा मरुस्थलमा
बदलियोस्, त्यस वेला तिमी गीतहरुको सरस गंगा बनेर आकाशबाट
झर्नु !
जब सांसारिक कामको कोलाहल दश दिशाहरुबाट उठेर गर्जिरहेको
होला अनि मलाई आङ्खनो सीमामा ने बन्दी बनाउला, त्यसैले हे
प्रशान्त
नाथ ! मेरोमा शान्ति र विश्राम–दूत बनेर आउनू !

जब मेरो दीन–हीन ह्दय आफैँ समातेर कुनामा बसिरहेको हुँला,
त्यस वेला हे उदार नाथ ! मेरो ढोका खोलेर राजसी–उत्सवसँग,
मेरो घरमा प्रवेश गर्नु !

जब प्रलोभनहरु आङ्खना उग्र धूलि तथा चम्किला वंचनाहरुले
विवेकलाई अन्धो पारिदिन्छन्, त्यसवेला तिमी हे नाथ ! आङ्खनो
तेज र आजस्वी ज्याति लिएर आउनू !
भाग्यहीन
उ मेरो छेउमा आएर बस्या, तथापि म बिउँझिनँ
भाग्यहीन ! तिमीलाई यस्तो निद्रा कसरी आयो ?
उ आउँदा प्रशान्त रातको वेला थियो, उसको हातमा वीणा थियो,
मेरो स्वप्न उसको झङ्कारको स्वरमा रुमयिल्लएको थियो !
जागा भएपछि मैले देखेँ, दक्षिण दिशाका हावा चारैतिर अन्धकारमा
आङ्खना गन्ध प्रसारित गर्दै चलिरहेका थिए ।
मेरो सम्पूर्ण रात यसरी नै बित्यो ?
किन हो, उसको सासको स्पर्श त भयो तर दर्शनचाहिँ भएन ?
भाग्यहीन ! उसको कण्ठ–मालाले छाति स्पर्श गर्यो तर अङ्कमाल हुन
सकेन !

Kavita – Prem Sanket

प्रियतम ! म जान्दछु, यो तिम्रो प्रेम हो जो पात–पातमा स्वर्णाभा
बनेर चम्किरहेछ !
जसले लोसे मेघ आकाशमा जम्मा भइरहेछन्, सुवासित पवनले मेरो
मस्तिष्कमा जलकण छर्छ :
यमि सबै, हे मनमोहन ईश्वर ! तिम्रो प्रेम नै हो ।

आज प्रभातका आकाश–धाराले मेरा नयन भरिए :
यो तिम्रो प्रेम–संकेत हो जो जीवनका कण–कणमा व्याप्त छ ।
तिम्रो चेहरा निहुरियो,
तिम्रो नेत्र मेरा नेत्रसँग मिले :
मेरो ह्दयले तिम्रो चरणमा स्पर्श गरिसक्यो !
प्रियतम ! म जान्दछु, यो तिम्रो प्रेम–संकेत हो ।

Kavita – Meghonmaad

आज जलपूर्ण मेघहरबाट पानी झर–झर गर्दै तल भरिरहेछ ।
आकाशलाई अस्वीकृत गरेर जलधारा धरतीमा आएको छ,
आज यसको कहीँ पनि अन्त देखिँदैन ।

बन, पर्वतमाथि उग्र आवाज गर्दै, बादलले योग दिइरहेछ ।
मैदानहरुमा पानीको खोला स्वतन्त्र रुपले बगिरहेछन् ।
आज मेघको केशराशि छरपुष्ट भएर कति सुन्दर नृत्य गरिरहेछ !

यो वर्षाले मेरो मन फेरी स्वतन्त्र भयो, अनि बादलसँग आकर्षित हुन लागेँ :

अन्तः करणमा आज कस्तो कोलाहल हुन लाग्यो !
ढोका–ढोकाका अवरोध चकनाचूर भइसके !

आज साउनका बादलहरुमा उन्माद भरिएको छ :
आज घरदेदि बाहिर को जान्छ र ?

Kavita – Prabhu Griha

जुन दिन ती वीर सिपाहीहरु आङ्खना प्रभुका घरबाट आए !
त्यस दिनदेखि तिनीहरुका गहकिला शक्ति स्वतः कहाँ विलीन भए !
तिनीहरुका हात–हतियार कहाँ छन् ?
तिनीहरुका शौय कता हराए ?
तिनीहरु क्षीण अनि असहाय झैँ भए ।
त्यही दिनदेखि तिनीहरुमाथि
चारैतिरबाट प्रहार हुनथाले ।
तिनीहरुका गहकिला शक्ति स्वतः कहाँ
विलीन भए ?
धनुष, बाण, तरवार कहाँ हराए ?

पुनः, जब तिन सिपाहीहरु प्रभुगृहबाट फर्केर गए, त्यस वेला
तिनीहरुको चेहरामा अति आनन्द झल्किरहेको थियो ।
आङ्खना सांसारिक जीवनका फलाफललाई
त्याग गरेर तिनीहरु
प्रभुगृहमा फर्किरहेका थिए ।

Poem – Dropping The Euphemism

He has five children, I’m papa
to a hundred pencils.
I bought the chair he sat in

from a book of chairs,
staplers and spikes
that let me play Vlad the Impaler

with invading memos. When I said
I have to lay you off
a parallel universe was born

in his face, one where flesh
is a loose shirt
taken to the river and beaten

against rocks. Just
by opening my mouth I destroyed
his faith he’s a man

who can think honey-glazed ham
and act out the thought
with plastic or bills. We sat.

I stared at my hands, he stared
at the wall staring at my hands.
I said other things

about the excellent work he’d done
and the cycles of business
which are like

the roller-coaster thoughts
of an oscilloscope. All this time
I saw the eyes of his wife

which had always been brown
like almonds but were now brown
like the crust of bread. We walked

to the door, I shook his hand,
felt the bones pretending
to be strong. On his way home

there was a happy song
because de Sade invented radio,
the window was open, he saw

delphinium but couldn’t remember
the name. I can only guess.
Maybe at each exit

that could have led his body
to Tempe, to Mars, he was tempted
to forget his basketball team

of sons, or that he ever liked
helping his wife clean carrots,
the silver sink turning orange.

Running’s natural to most animals
who aren’t part
of a lecture series on Nature’s

Dead Ends. When I told him,
I saw he was looking for a place
in his brain to hide

his brain. I tried that later
with beer, it worked until I stood
at the toilet to make my little

waterfall, and thought of him
pushing back from a bar
to go make the same noise.

Poem – A Shopkeeper’s Story

I sell one bristle brushes. People
seeking two bristle brushes I send
to the guy on Amsterdam, who’s in a rush.

I may have one customer a year
for my one bristle brushes, a one-eyed
lover of tanagers, she may have

one dollar to spend in the moment
light’s neither day’s or night’s,
but one’s where infinity begins. Whoever

she is, she’s always painting barbules,
I’m always thinking, no one will notice
that they notice this, that her tanagers

move, that everything’s alive. We talk
care and feeding of the one
bristle brush. Care exists. I thrive.

Poem – Toward Accuracy

We’re high enough that what I call fog might be cloud.
Not Everest high, or Chomuolungma, “Mother Goddess
of the World.” If we named things what they are,
our sentences would be monsoons, long rains of sound.
Morning is “the time I suspect I am a horse,” dusk
“the light which treats our shadows like taffy.”
The number of times my name changes in a day,
from “looking at the world with eyes of wood rasps”
to “feathers have replaced my bones,” rules out
the wearing of name tags: I wear a chalk board,
thesaurus, that book of whispers, of meaning sex.
“There’s a woman who smokes a cigarette
now and then, who picks tobacco off her tongue
as something moves along the fault line
of the horizon, knees pulled to her chest,
her breath wearing a dress of smoke”
is one way I think of you when I think of you.
And when I think of you, “wants to be a candle”
isn’t romantic but accurate, wicked light
leans in, away, writhes to get out of, to leap harder
into what it is.

Poem – Unmediated Experience

She does this thing. Our seventeen-
year-old dog. Our mostly deaf dog.
Our mostly dead dog, statistically
speaking. When I crouch.
When I put my mouth to her ear
and shout her name. She walks away.
Walks toward the nothing of speech.
She even trots down the drive, ears up,
as if my voice is coming home.
It’s like watching a child
believe in Christmas, right
before you burn the tree down.
Every time I do it, I think, this time
she’ll turn to me. This time
she’ll put voice to face. This time,
I’ll be absolved of decay.
Which is like being a child
who believes in Christmas
as the tree burns, as the drapes catch,
as Santa lights a smoke
with his blowtorch and asks, want one?

Poem – A Private Public Space

You can’t trust lesbians. You invite them

to your party and they don’t come,
they’re too busy tending vaginal
flowers, hating football, walking their golden
and chocolate labs. X gave me a poem

in which she was in love with a woman
and the church but the church
couldn’t accept four breasts in one bed.
When I asked if our coworkers knew,

she dropped her head and I said nothing
for years until this morning I realized
no one reads poems: my secrets and hers
are safe in verse. I knew she’d have enjoyed

the Beaujolais and I want to meet Dianne,
Mona Lisa, Betty, Alice,
the name’s been changed
to protect women who can’t stand in a room
holding hands because you can’t trust
heterosexuals to love love, however
it comes. So I recorded

the party for her, for them, the mic
a bit away from the action
to catch the feel of waves touching shore
and letting go, the wash of moods
across the hours of drink and yes, some grapes
were thrown and I breathed
the quickening revelation
of a cigarette, someone said “I gave up
underwear for Lent” and I hope

they play the tape while making love.
As if finally the world’s made happy
by who they are, laughing with, not at
the nipple lick clit kiss hug
in bed and after, the on and on
of meals and moons and bills
and burning days of pretending
they don’t exist. “Who’s she? Just

a friend.” And oceans are merely dew
upon the land.

Kavita – Madhyanna Din Ra 

अखबारको ‘वान्टेड कालम’ –मा
म आफ्m्ना आउने दिनहरुको अनुहार खोजिरहेछु,

प्रत्येक जुलूस, सभा, भाषण

र नयाँ योजनाका फाइलहरुमा

पाइला टेक्ने आधार खोजिरहेछु—

नयाँ बजेटको ओठमा

खोजिरहेछु आश्वासन

रेडियो–घोषणासँग मागिरहेछु

सान्त्वनाका दुई शब्द

नयाँ पे–स्केलले नापिरहेछु

म आफ्नो परिवारको आयु;

प्रत्येक खाली सिटको सूचनाले

मलाई जवान बनाउँछ

प्रत्येक इन्टरभ्यूको परिणाम सुनेर

जीवन, काखीको पसीनाझैं गन्हाउँछ,

आमाको ममतामा पनि

कसैले नैराश्य घोल्दछ,

बाबुको प्रोत्साहनमा पनि

चिसो सुस्केरा बोल्दछ

कुमारी बहिनीको स्यूँदोसँग, सिन्दूर झस्के झैं लाग्छ

पत्नीले थालमा सधै–सधै

व्यङ्ग्य पस्कभे mै ं लाग्छ

एक युग बित्यो

म आफ्नो बिन्तीपत्रजस्तो अनुहार बोकेर

भट्किरहेछु दर–दर

पुगिरहेछु घर–घर

एक चिसो निद्राले मलाई

छोपिरहेछ निरन्तर,

मलाई थाहा छ

यसपल्ट म निदाएँ भने

फेरि कहिल्यै पनि म बिउँझन सक्तिनँ

त्यसैले

ए झुसिल्कीराझं लाम लागेकाहरु !

ए नाराका अक्षरहरु !

अरु जोर–जोरसित नारा लगाऊ

उफ् ! म निदाउन चाहन्नँ यो दिउँसै

मलाई जगाऊ, मलाई जगाऊ ।

Kavita – Mainbatti Ko Sikha

स्नान गरेर
शारदीय घाममा

आफ्नो कौमार्य छरेर

थकित–थकित झैं

चकित–चकित झैं

एक्लै–एक्लै मुस्काइरहेको

अनुहार हो यो कुनै

सुन्दरी नवयुवतीको ।

शुभ्र, शान्त, स्निग्ध

शिखा मैनबत्तीको ।

आँखाभरि वेदनाको पानी

तर, हर्षले हाँसिरहेछ आँखाको नानी

मानौं, अप्रेशनपछि

होशमा आएर

घोर पीडामा पनि

शिर अलिक उठाएर

नवजात शिशुलाई नियालिरहेको

सन्तुष्ट आँखा हो यो

कुनै पुत्रवतीको ।

शुभ्र, शान्त र स्निग्ध

शिखा मैनबत्तीको ।

एकातिर धप्प–धप्प

बलिरहेछ अनुहार

अर्कातिर तप्प–तप्प

ढलिरहेछ अश्रुधार ।

मानौं यो कुनै विधवाको

त्यो क्षणको अनुहार हो

जब कि उसलाई आएछ याद

एकसाथ

सुहागरात र स्वर्गीय पतिको ।

शुभ्र, शान्त र स्निग्ध

शिखा मैनबतीको ।

Kavita – Hinda Hindai

हिंड्दा–हिंड्दै केही सम्झेर
बटुवा बाटोमा हाँसेझैं

किसानको हृदय अन्न बनेर

खेतको माटोमा हाँसेझैं

तिमी हाँस्ता यस्तो लाग्छ प्रिय !

तिमी मेरो साटोमा हाँसेझैं ।

Kavita – Mera Bigata Sapanaharu

भारी ट्रकमुनि थिचिएर
मर्यो एउटा कलिलो ठिटो

हत्केला खोलेर

उसको आयुरेखा लामो थियो

लामो थियो

मेरा विगत असफल सपनाहरु जस्तै ।

Kavita – Jiwan Ko Andhyaro Sadakma

जीवनको अँध्यारो सडकमा
जीवनको अँध्यारो सडकमा

सफलता

साइकलको डाइनमोबाट बल्ने बत्तीझैं लाग्छ

कि जबसम्म

गतिको पैडिलमाथि

मेरो खुट्टा चलिरहन्छ

मेरो पथमा यो बत्ती बलिरहन्छ

तर जसरी नै म थाक्छु

र मेरो खुट्टा रूक्छ

अन्धकार मेरो अगाडि आएर भुक्छ।

Kavita – Kathai Bichara

केही लेख्छन्

यसो हेर्छन्

चित्त बुझ्दैन

अनि केर्छन्

पुन: लेख्छन्

पुन: हेर्छन्

लामो सास फेर्छन्

कठैबरा, बिचरा

‘भूपि’ शेरचन !

Kavita – Ghainto Bhitra 

साँघुरो घैटोभित्र माटो जमाएर
उमारिएको वटवृक्षझै

मैले आफ्ना दुइटा हाँगाहरु फैलाएँ

र म ओइलाएँ

आफ्नो वरिपरि निसािस्सदो पर्खाल पाएर

अनि मैले मुक्त वायुमा सास फेर्न ठिङ्ग उभिएका

आफ्ना पाँच ओटा औंलाहरु पट्याएँ

प्रकाशनको खोजीमा दगुरेका

आफ्ना हस्तरेखाहरुलाई पछाडि फर्काएँ

र आज म आफ्नै मुट्ठीभित्र बन्द छु

आफ्नै कठोरताभित्र कैद छु

तर कुनै दिन

तिमीले चिन्न सके आफुभित्रको बतासलाई

र प्रकाशलाई तिमीले

जान्नेछौ कि बाहिरबाट जतिसुकै

कठोर भए पनि भित्र–भित्रै

म कोमल छु

यो बन्द मुट्ठीभित्र हत्केलाझैं !

Kavita – Sandhai Sandhai 

सधै–सधै मेरो सपनामा
असङ्ख्य युवती आमाहरु

मेरो अगाडि आउँछन्

र बहुलाई झैं

‘अब मेरो दूधको कुनै मूल्य छैन

अब मेरो मातृत्वको कुनै अर्थ छैन—’

भन्ने गीत गाउँछन्

र मलाई देखाई–देखाईकन

सुँगुरका भद्दा गन्दा बन्चाहरुलाई झैं

आफ्नो अतिशय दुधले गानिएको

स्तन चुसाउँछन्

अनि एक्कासि

छाती पिट्तै

कपाल लुछ्तै मसँग आफ्ना हराएका छोराहरु माग्न थाल्छन्

सधै–सधै मेरो सपनामा

असङ्ख्य जीवनद्वारा लत्याइएका

र मृत्युद्वारा नपत्याइएका

जीर्ण तन वृद्धहरु

र बिदीर्ण मन बृद्धाहरु

मेरो अगाडि आएर लम्पसार पर्छन्

र मसँग

आफ्m्नो अथाह भविष्यको सूत्र माग्छन्

आफ्m्नो हराएको एकमात्र पुत्र माग्छन्

सधै–सधै मेरो सपनामा

असङख्य युवती विधवाहरु मेरो अगाडि आएर

आफुलाई सम्पूर्ण रुपमा नङ्ग्याउँछन्

र आफ्नो हिउँजस्तो कोमल तनमा

दुनियाँको कामुक आँखाले पोलेका

काला–काला डामहरु देखाउँछन्

र मसँग आफ्नो जीवनको सहारा माग्दछन्

मसँग आफ्नो यात्राको किनारा माग्दछन्

सधै–सधै मेरो सपनामा

क्षयका कीटाणु बोकेका

असङ्ख्य टुहुरा केटा–केटीहरु

मेरो अगाडि आउँछन्

र मसँग स्कूलको फीस

पुस्तक किन्ने पैसा

क्रिकेटको बैट

र पिताको चुम्बन माग्छन्

र माग्छन् सुरक्षा

र मिठो निद्राले भरिएको रात

यसरी नै सधै–सधै मेरो सपनामा

मलायाका असङख्य–असङख्य मानिसहरुको

आँसुको एक ठूलो सागर बन्छ

जसको प्रत्येक लहरमा

एक लाश माथि उठछ

एक लाश तल डुब्छ

तर डुब्नुभन्दा अगाडि मलाई

प्रत्येक लासले घृणाले हेर्छ

आह, मेरो सपनामा मलाई

मेरो विपनाको इतिहासले घृणा गर्छ ।