Loose thy hair in its soft profusion,
Let thy lashes caress thy cheek,—
These are the things that express thy spirit,
What is the need to explain or speak?
Drifting, drifting along the River,
Under the light of a wan low moon,
Steady, the paddles; Boatmen, steady,—
Why should we reach the sea so soon?
See where the low spit cuts the water,
What is that misty wavering light?
Only the pale datura flowers
Blossoming through the silent night.
What is the fragrance in thy tresses?
’T is the scent of the champa’s breath;
The meaning of champa bloom is passion—
And of datura—death!
Sweet are thy ways and thy strange caresses,
That sear as flame, and exult as wine.
But I care only for that wild moment
When my soul arises and reaches thine.
Wistful voices of wild birds calling—
Far, faint lightning towards the West,—
Twinkling lights of a Tyah homestead,—
Ruddy glow on a girl’s bare breast—
Drifting boats on a mournful River,
Shifting thoughts in a dreaming mind,—
We two, seeking the Sea, together,—
When we reach it,—what shall we find?
Shivratri (the Night of Shiva)
(While the procession passed at Ramesram)
Nearer and nearer cometh the car
Where the Golden Goddess towers,
Sweeter and sweeter grows the air
From a thousand trampled flowers.
We two rest in the Temple shade
Safe from the pilgrim flood,
This path of the Gods in olden days
Ran royally red with blood.
Louder and louder and louder yet
Throbs the sorrowful drum—
That is the tortured world’s despair,
Never a moment dumb.
Shriller and shriller shriek the flutes,
Nature’s passionate need—
Paler and paler grow my lips,
And still thou bid’st them bleed.
Deeper and deeper and deeper still,
Never a pause for pain—
Darker and darker falls the night
That golden torches stain.
Closer, ah! closer, and still more close,
Till thy soul reach my soul—
Further, further, out on the tide
From the shores of self-control.
Glowing, glowing, to whitest heat,
Thy feverish passions burn,
Fiercer and fiercer, cruelly fierce,
To thee my senses yearn.
Fainter and fainter runs my blood
With desperate fight for breath—
This, my Beloved, thou sayest is Love,
Or I should have deemed it Death!
The First Wife
Ah, my lord, are the tidings true,
That thy mother’s jewels are shapen anew?
I hear that a bride has chosen been,
The stars consulted, the parents seen.
Had I been childless, had never there smiled
The brilliant eyes from the face of a child,