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Shakuntala

Shakuntala

2 mins 178 2 mins 178

Silence engulfs me like a clouded veil

Obscuring my kohl-lined eyes

Which once brimmed with roseate dreams

You offer me gold, Rajan.

Say what gold can ever outshine 

The gilded opulence of the indulgent twilight

Witnessing the rhythm of our racing hearts

Merrier than a peacock on a rainy day?


I see a shadow looming in your eyes

Deeper than the Malini's sprightly waves.

I see not the darkness of the full-moon night

When blessed by the River's sacred prayers

You embraced me with a garland so fair

That even the pariahs in Heaven

Bowed their dainty heads.

The whispering wind played truant that night

As two souls got intertwined 

In dulcet tones of divine fulfillment.


Say Dushyanta,

Do your songbirds in emerald cages

Sing of a long-forsaken evening?

When by the water's crystal mirror

Did we soothe and fed a baby deer?

Do the courtesans in your palace

Speak with the pleasant quip

Of my Sakhis

Anasuya and Priyamvada?


I smile at your folly. My folly.

For what else is the mind of man

Then a treasure trove of silver anklets

Strung together with the frailest jewels

That glitter and shine when the time is not right

Only to break into a billion fragments

Of alluring visions? 'Mother!', I cry.


Is it my voice? Emanating from a hollow in my chest

That rises and falls in despair.

Every breath is a reminder

Of my withered Madhabilata.

Her sighs resonate through the air 

Like the phantom of a long-lost past.

I will stay no more, Dushyanta.

I will say no more.


For a woman has her heart with which she gives

Herself. The Universe. And Herself.

This earth is tainted with a wretched spell

That mistakes Love for a fool's dream

A coward's lullaby

And thus I must return to my Mother's arms.

For I must sleep, Dushyanta.

The Lover must sleep.

The Giver must sleep.

The woman must sleep.


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