(1861 - 1941)
ON THE NATURE OF LOVE (from Chaitali )
The night is black and the forest has no end;
a million people thread it in a million ways.
We have trysts to keep in the darkness, but where
or with whom- of that we are unaware.
But we have this faith- that a lifetime's bliss
will appear any minute, with a smile upon its lips.
Scents, touches, sounds, snatches of songs
brush us, pass us, give us delightful shocks.
Then peradventure there's a flash of lightning:
whomever I see that instant I fall in love with.
I call that person and cry: `This life is blest!
For your sake such miles have I traversed!'
All those others who come close and moved off
in the darkness- I dont know if they exist or not.
ONE DAY IN SPRING
One day in spring, a woman came
In my lonely woods,
In the lovely form of the Beloved.
Came, to give to my songs, melodies,
To give to my dreams, sweetness.
Suddenly a wild wave
Broke over my heart's shores
And drowned all language.
To my lips no name came,
She stood beneath the tree, turned,
Glanced at my face, made sad with pain,
And with quick steps, came and sat by me.
Taking my hands in hers, she said:
'You do not know me, nor I you--
I wonder how this could be?'
'We two shall build, a bridge for ever
Between two beings, each to the other unknown,
This eager wonder is at the heart of things.'
The cry that is in my heart is also the cry of her heart;
The thread with which she binds me binds her too.
Her have I sought everywhere,
Her have I worshipped within me,
Hidden in that worship she has sought me too.
Crossing the wide oceans, she came to steal my heart.
She forgot to return, having lost her own.
Her own charms play traitor to her,
She spreads her net, knowing not
Whether she will catch or be caught.
WAITING (from GITANJALI)
The song that I came to sing remains
unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing
and in unstringing my instrument.
The time has not come true,
words have not been rightly set;
only there is the agony of wishing in my heart.
The blossom has not opened;
only the wind is sighing by.
I have not seen his face, nor have I
listened to his voice; only I have heard
his gentle footsteps from the road before my house.
The livelong day has passed in spreading his seat on the floor;
but the lamp has not been lit and I cannot ask him into my house.
I live in the hope of meeting with him;
but this meeting is not yet.
Lips' language to lips' ears.
Two drinking each other's heart, it seems.
Two roving loves who have left home,
pilgrims to the confluence of lips.
Two waves rise by the law of love
to break and die on two sets of lips.
Two wild desires craving each other
meet at last at the body's limits.
Love's writing a song in dainty letters,
layers of kiss-calligraphy on lips.
Plucking flowers from two sets of lips
perhaps to thread them into a chain later.
This sweet union of lips
is the red marriage-bed of a pair of smiles.
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