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from the June 2017 issue

The jewels of my eyes I’ll lay at your feet

 

1

The jewels of my eyes I’ll lay at your feet
Come, beloved mine, my childhood friend.
Like a kukil you flew to rivers and shallows
my heart, deceived by calls not really yours,
tore in two.
Come beloved mine, my childhood friend.

Yellow blossoms festoon the banks,
I know you’ll fulfill your promise today.
If you come, I’ll lay my head at your feet.
Come beloved mine, my childhood friend.

 

2

Garlands of flowers I weave for him,
Won’t he revel in the jasmine, for my sake?
Desire fills these goblets with wine,
Oh for his place in this heart of mine
One glimpse of his face will restore me
Won’t he revel in the jasmine, for my sake?

 

3

My garden awaits your footfall,
Place your feet upon my head
And I’ll wear the mark like a crown.
In the pain of separation, I sundered my veil,
Won’t you ever return to me?
A wreath of jasmine I once was,
Now withered to a blade of grass.
O let me wear your footprint like a crown.

 

4

Hum not with pain, my spinning wheel,
I’II soothe your aches with scented oils
Hyacinth! Lift your head your head from within the mud
The narcissus waits with her brimming cup.
A jasmine bush am I, and I will not bloom again.
Hum not with pain, my spinning wheel, 
I’ll soothe your aches with scented oils.

 

Translation © 2017 by Neerja Mattoo. All rights reserved.

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