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I thought I should ask of thee–but I dared not–the rose wreath

thou hadst on thy neck.  Thus I waited for the morning, when thou

didst depart, to find a few fragments on the bed.  And like a

beggar I searched in the dawn only for a stray petal or two.

Ah me, what is it I find?  What token left of thy love?  It is no

flower, no spices, no vase of perfumed water.  It is thy mighty

sword, flashing as a flame, heavy as a bolt of thunder.  The

young light of morning comes through the window and spreads itself

upon thy bed.  The morning bird twitters and asks, ‘Woman, what

hast thou got?’ No, it is no flower, nor spices, nor vase of

perfumed water–it is thy dreadful sword.

I sit and muse in wonder, what gift is this of thine.  I can find

no place to hide it.  I am ashamed to wear it, frail as I am, and

it hurts me when  I press it to my bosom.  Yet shall I bear in my

heart this honour of the burden of pain, this gift of thine.

From now there shall be no fear left for me in this world, and

thou shalt be victorious in all my strife.  Thou hast left death

for my companion and I shall crown him with my life.  Thy sword

is with me to cut asunder my bonds, and there shall be no fear

left for me in the world.

From now I leave off all petty decorations.  Lord of my heart, no

more shall there be for me waiting and weeping in corners, no

more coyness and sweetness of demeanour.  Thou hast given me thy

sword for adornment.  No more doll’s decorations for me!

Beautiful is thy wristlet, decked with stars and cunningly

wrought in myriad-coloured jewels.  But more beautiful to me thy

sword with its curve of lightning like the outspread wings of the

divine bird of Vishnu, perfectly poised in the angry red light of

the sunset.

It quivers like the one last response of life in ecstasy of pain

at the final stroke of death; it shines like the pure flame of

being burning up earthly sense with one fierce flash.

Beautiful is thy wristlet, decked with starry gems; but thy

sword, O lord of thunder, is wrought with uttermost beauty,

terrible to behold or think of.

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From: GITANJALI – ‘Song Offerings’



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