A selection of poetry written by the
Indian poet VIDYAPATI: "LOVE SONGS"
(14th. Century, India)


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DAWN

Awake, Radha, awake,
Calls the parrot and its love.
For how long must you sleep,
Clasped to the heart of your Dark-Stone?
Listen. The dawn has come
And the red shafts of the sun
Are making us shudder



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RIVER AND SKY

Oh friend, I cannot tell you
Whether he was near or far, real or a dream.
Like a vine of lightning,
As I chained the dark one,
I felt a river flooding in my heart.
Like a shining moon,
I devoured that liquid face.
I felt stars shooting around me.
The sky fell with my dress,
leaving my ravished breasts.
I was rocking like the earth.
In my storming breath
I could hear my ankle-bells,
sounding like bees.
Drowned in the last waters of dissolution,
I knew that this was not the end.

Says Vidyapati:
How can I possibly believe such nonsense?

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SHATTERED DESIRE

Swelling breasts, hard, like golden cups.
Those wanton glances have stolen my heart,
O beautiful one, protest no longer.
I am eager as a bee, let me take your honey.
Darling, I beg you, holding your hands,
Do not be cruel, have pity on me.
I shall say that again and again,
No more can I suffer the agony of love.

Says Vidyapati:
Shattered desire is death.

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BROODING LOVE

Madhava:
Your moon-faced love
Had never guessed
That parting hurts.
Radha is tortured,
Dreading you will leave.
Love has robbed her of all power,
She sinks clasping the ground.

Kokilas call,
Startled, she wakes
Only to brood again.
Tears wash the make-up
From her breasts.
Her arms grow thin,
Her bracelets slide to the ground.
Radha's head droops in grief.
Her fingers scar the earth
Bleeding your name.

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TOMORROW

He left me saying he would be back tomorrow.
I've covered the floor of my home
Writing: Tomorrow.
When dawn came, they all inquired:
Tell us friend,
When will tomorrow come?
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I gave up my hopes,
My beloved never returned.

Says Vidyapati, listen, beautiful one:
Other women held him back.

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TIME AND LOVE

As I guard my honor,
My love in a foreign land
Ravishes beauties
Who belong to others.
Safely he will come,
But he has left me dead.

O traveler, tell him
That my youth wastes away...
If time goes on
Life too will go
And never shall we love again...

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THINNER THAN THE CRESCENT

Her tears carved a river
And she broods on its bank,
Hurt and confused.
You ask her one thing,
She speaks of another.
Her friends believe
That joy may come again.
At times they banish hope
And cease to care.

O Madhava,
I have run to call you.
Radha each day
Grows thinner
Thinner than the crescent in the sky...

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COUNTERFEIT

When you stay before my eyes
You make me feel your love is firm,
But out of sight how different you are!
How long does false gold shine?
Master of sweetness, I know your ways.
Your heart is counterfeit.
Your love is words.
Speech, love and humor
All are smooth
And only meant to tease
When you shed a girl,
Do you laugh?
Are your arrows always
Poisened with honey?




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