Part Seven: Cunning Krishna

 

To light the mazy paths that unchaste women
take across the wood of Brindavan,
there swells the eastern moon: a saffron mark
like spot disfiguring some beauty's face.

Mádhava is lonely. She laments.
A hare-marked disk of light hangs low.

Thirteenth Song

 

She says: no meeting Hari in the wood:
in vain the radiant figure of my youth.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

In dark frequenting of that wood was where
unequally love's arrow caught my heart.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

Shamed and useless, it is better death
than burn continually as one apart.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

I am alone this ardent, sweet spring night
while she, more merited, with Hari sports.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

My jewelled ornaments in glints convey
too well the fires of Hari fled from me.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

Though delicate my body, as a flower,
barbed, the flowers hung there hurt the heart.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

I linger in the innumerable thick reeds,
that he for all his thinking never sees.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

May words of Jayadeva fall at Krishna's feet
as skilful woman will enchant the heart.
What refuge is there when a friend deceives?

* * *

My love is somewhere wantoning or held
by relatives or lost his way, his mind
confused, the forest dark, to nowhere find
the pleasing arbour of that thicket place?

Returned without her Mádhava, the friend
so tongue-tied and dejected, Rádhá knew
he sported fecklessly with someone else.
As though there seeing him, now Radha said:

Fourteenth Song

 

Bedecked as courtesan, the hair is shaken
in love's long tournament where stems are broken.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

In shimmering necklaces above each breast,
by Hari stirred and changed in each embrace.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

Around her moon-like face waves clouded hair
as there, exhausted, of his lips she drinks.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

To and fro his earrings strike her cheeks,
and then the stirrings of her girdle zone.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

She laughs, is bashful at lover's looks,
and then what murmuring and long she makes.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

Broken, bristling, trembling sighs she sheds
who has the love god under shuttered lids.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

The body fortunate and dewed in sweat,
that chest in joy she rests on after fight.
Krishna's garland is some other girl.

May, pleasing Hari, Jayadeva's words
destroy the darkness of the Kali age.

* * *

The moon-pale splendour of the lotus face
of Mura's enemy may stop my pain.
To one left solitary, the moon, alas,
must light for lovers what they too must miss.

Fifteenth Song

 

The face in rapture for a kiss he marks
with musk as antelope attend the moon.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

A flower he places in the tumbling hair,
is fast as deer or lightning to her mouth.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

He hangs a pendant on her musky breasts
that shine resplendent as the deer-marked moon.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

Her arm he subdues with an emerald clasp
as bees cool-clustered on a lotus shoot.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

Around the golden house of love, the hips,
he hangs a laughing girdle arch of gems.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

The feet that touch his heart he paints with lac
as garment covering love's inner house.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

He's mesmerized by beauty's eyes, while I—
say why, my friend—reside in sapless shoots.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

Jayadeva echoes Hari's best
that age's discords end at Krishna's feet.
On sandy Yamuná's thick-wooded shore
triumphantly is Krishna revelling now.

* * *

He's false and hurts my messenger. He has
too many loves, my friend: he will not come.
Yet I am drawn to think on him and burst
with longing that my soul would go with him.

Sixteenth Song

 

His eyes are round her like the wind-tossed lotus:
a palliasse of leaves will never scorch her
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

His mouth voluptuous as open lotus,
her blossoms will not break with love-god's arrows
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

With words so ever-living, sweet and soft
she will not blaze up in Malaya breezes

when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

Like the land-borne lotus on her are his hands
and feet: the cool of moonbeams will not hurt
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

Coalescing, radiant as the clouds,
no separation there can cleave the heart
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

His clothing leaves the touchstone gold:
she pays no heed to how her servants sigh
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

This youth is better than a world of people,
despite the pain and pity and the sorrow
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

May Jayadeva's singing words so give
my friend, this Hari entrance to your heart
when she is pleasuring one forest-wreathed.

* * *

The Sandal winds delight and fill my mind,
but move so variously in love or spite:
The life-breath of the world you bring me for
a moment, then as Mádhava you're gone.

My friends deceive me, the chill wind is fire,
the sweet light venom, and a scourge my mind:
though forcibly the heart is drawn to hardness,
auspicious looks and I am loving mad.

Afflict me, Sandal wind, with love's five arrows,
take my life-breath back, I have no home.
My sister-death, the Yamuná, relieve
this conflagration in your cooling waves.

 

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