Part Eight: Abashed Krishna

 

Somehow having spent the night's long watches,
in the morning, and still stung with arrows,
with him in front of her, conciliatory
and bowing even, angrily she said:

Seventeenth Song

 

With eyes still reddened from a wakeful night,
would you in condenscension offer me
tender what you offered someone else?

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

Besmirched by kissing of her lampblack lids,
your morning lips are marked with that deep hue
which is the colour, Krishna, of your shape.

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

How harsh love's battle your scratched body shows:
the nailmarks driven as dark emerald bits
that write your victory in their gleaming strokes.

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

At heart and printed on your belly go
the trail of pale lac feet: the tree of love
displays—how charmingly!— its train of leaves.

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

For me her tooth mark on your lip is pain.
while you would urge your perjured body
merge indissolubly and into mine?

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

Your mind is blacker than your colour, Krishna,
to lead astray the followers brought down
unequally with fevers of the heart.

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

Why would your lordship wander in the woods
to prey on foolish women there, suck out
their life as from the demoness Putana?

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

So Jayadeva of a girl deceived,
and wailing. Sages listen: not in Heaven
even is there sweetness such as this.

I ask you, Hari, speak no lying words,
nor, Madhava, to make those eyes at me.
Be off, the pair of you, Keshava, Krishna:
and if she pleases you, then take her too.

* * *

My love is on the roads: your chest displays
the decoration of her red-lac feet:
my swollen heart is broken by some cheat,
and worse than anguish is the shame I feel.

 

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