Jasmine Blossom

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 125th birthday.

Suryakant Tripathi Nirala
Indian
1896 – 1961

 

On a vine in a lonely grove
Slept a fortune-filled Jasmine Blossom—
A pure, tender-bodied lass
Lost in dreams of love,
Eye closed, lax—in a leaf-bed
On a spring night;
In some far off land
Was the wind called Malaya
Who left this pining lover.
With grieving came the memory of sweet touch,
A memory of a moonlight-laved midnight,
A memory of his beloved’s trembling, tender form—
What then? The wind
Crossed lakes, rivers, groves,
Bush-creeper masses, deep mountain-woods,
Arrived where he had played
With the budding bloom.

She was sleeping,
How could she know of her lover’s coming?
The Nayak kissed her cheeks,
Cradel-like the vine-strand began to swing.
Even then she didn’t awaken,
Asked no pardon,
Wide slumber-curved eyes stayed shut,
Perhaps drunk with youth’s wine—
Who can say?

Brutal, the Nayak
Worked sheer barbarity—
With gusty blasts
Jerked the lovely, tender body around,
Crushed the round white cheeks;
The damsel started—
Turned a startled glance all around,
Spied her lover by her bed,
Smiled shyly—blossomed—
Having played the game of love
With the wooer.

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