A Village Girl

We present this work in honor of the 45th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Sumitranandan Pant
1900 – 1977

Exuberant with youth,
beautiful as an early monsoon cloud,
on languorous feet
the village girl comes walking,
proud, stately, graceful,
along the snaking path.

She trails her scarf behind
and pushes back her hair;
quick to be embarrassed,
she glances down at the twin pitchers of her breasts.
A woman, restless:
her laughter ripples
like a brook spilling over its banks—
her lips—from teeth as bright as foam.

Along the road she stops,
bending a little
to smooth her skirt; turns her face
when she hears her lover’s footsteps—
a village lad draws near,
her ardent suitor;
while steadily he stares at her,
she shuts her eyes.

Beside the well
enchanted man and woman!
When she draws up the heavy jug
filled to the brim,
her breasts, like overflowing pitchers,
are tensed so that they strain
against her tightening blouse.
She spills the water
in a shower of beauty,
then throws her scarf across her breast,
sets the jug upon her head
and starts the zigzag path for home.

Hibiscus at her ears,
she weaves a garland—
shephalika, white lily, oleander,
and trumpet-flower,
braiding blooming stars all through her hair,
and roams the woodland with her cattle,
calling out with lark and cuckoo.
In the deserted forest
she adorns herself through every season
with jasmine, cassia and fragrant herbs,
forest-flame and mango blossom.

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