Part Four: Tender Krishna

 

Radha's friend, to one love-burdened in
the reeds of Yamuna, then came and said:

Eighth Song

 

Confused, she blames the sandal paste and moon,
finds venomed serpents in Malaya winds.
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

She hopes in watery lotus leaves to shield
her vital being from love's raining arrows:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

She'd turn the barbs to flowers, make her bed
in blossom echoing to your embrace:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

Her eyes are trembling and her gentle face
is split as moon is by serrated tears:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

She paints with musk how love has been,
inclines to monsters with a Mango branch:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

Though unapproachable and locked in thought,
aloud she laughs and trembles at her tears:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

Declares each step she takes is to your feet:
what fire the moon is when you've turned away:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

If thought would dance to Jayadeva's words
then study what the friend of Rádha said:
In Mádhava she dreads the love god's arrows:
apart and miserable, she thinks of you.

* * *

Her home's the forest and her friends a snare;
she fans her blazing griefs with sighs.
The absence terrifies: as with a deer,
your play's become the fearsome tiger's sport.

* * *

Ninth Song

 

She wears the bright and slender pearls
upon her breasts as though a burden:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

She feels the soothing sandal cream
as potent venom on her body:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

She sighs the compass of her love
and in that breath the passion burns:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

She scatters everywhere a tear
as lotus from its hollow stem:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

She holds her palm against her cheek
as evening steadies with the moon:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

She sees a bed of tender leaves
ordained for her as fire instead:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

Again she whispers Hari, Hari,
as though your absence brought her death:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

Let Jayadeva's song so chanted
please and lead to Krishna's feet:
Krishna, Rádhá feels deserted.

* * *

With pain she bristles, sighs, she shuts her eyes,
she rises, whirls about and falls in faints:
unless your heavenly healing aid in this
her fever only sends her to her death.

But you, divine physician, by a touch
of your blest body can relieve her pain,
do not abandon Rádhá, lest you'd hurt
her grievously as Indra's thunderbolt.

Against that wantoning and dragging fire
she looks to lotus, sandalpaste and moon,
and thinks of lover in his lonely place,
and of his coolness as she lingers on.

Before she would not even close her eyes
a moment lest you leave her sight; no more
she breathes with you away, nor bears to think
of how the mango trees were full of flowers.

 

one . two . three . four . five . six . seven . eight . nine . ten . eleven . twelve