Lekhni-Collection: Many Shades Of Love

” Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf ”

-Ravindra Nath Tagore

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses
your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only
love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you
that you cover your nakedness
and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the season-less world where you shall laugh,
but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself
and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say,
“God is in my heart,” but rather,
“I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires,
let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour
and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer
for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise upon your lips.
Kahlil Gibran


will meet you again

I will meet you yet again
How and where
I know not
Perhaps I will become a
figment of your imagination
and maybe spreading myself
in a mysterious line
on your canvas
I will keep gazing at you.

Perhaps I will become a ray
of sunshine to be
embraced by your colours
I will paint myself on your canvas
I know not how and where —
but I will meet you for sure.

Maybe I will turn into a spring
and rub foaming
drops of water on your body
and rest my coolness on
your burning chest
I know nothing
but that this life
will walk along with me.

When the body perishes
all perishes
but the threads of memory
are woven of enduring atoms
I will pick these particles
weave the threads
and I will meet you yet again.
Translated from punjabi by Nirupama Dutta.

Time is remoulding
And erasing me
inside out
And I am scared of
Being unrecognisable
Being driven away
So hold me tight
And breath me in
So we can talk
So we can touch
So we can feel
presence of each other
like a breeze
like a river of
a flowing memory
which lasts
Forever.
Shail Agrawal

Wondrous Moment
The wondrous moment of our meeting . . .
I well remember you appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty’s angel pure and clear.

In hopeless ennui surrounding
The worldly bustle, to my ear
For long your tender voice kept sounding,
For long in dreams came features dear.

Time passed. Unruly storms confounded
Old dreams, and I from year to year
Forgot how tender you had sounded,
Your heavenly features once so dear.

My backwoods days dragged slow and quiet —
Dull fence around, dark vault above —
Devoid of God and uninspired,
Devoid of tears, of fire, of love.

Sleep from my soul began retreating,
And here you once again appear
Before me like a vision fleeting,
A beauty’s angel pure and clear.

In ecstasy the heart is beating,
Old joys for it anew revive;
Inspired and God-filled, it is greeting
The fire, and tears, and love alive.
-Alexander Pushkin

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn’t resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin’s bow,
which draws *one* voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Longing
Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam’st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me.

Or, as thou never cam’st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth.
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say My love! why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.
Matthew Arnold (1822 1888)

Love Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Saddest Poem

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.
Pablo Neruda

When We Two Parted
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever the years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder, thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk, chill on my brow,
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me…
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)


thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well..
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)

Song of the Wave

The strong shore is my beloved
And I am his sweetheart.
We are at last united by love, and
Then the moon draws me from him.
I go to him in haste and depart
Reluctantly, with many
Little farewells.

I steal swiftly from behind the
Blue horizon to cast the silver of
My foam upon the gold of his sand, and
We blend in melted brilliance.

I quench his thirst and submerge his
Heart; he softens my voice and subdues
My temper.
At dawn I recite the rules of love upon
His ears, and he embraces me longingly.

At eventide I sing to him the song of
Hope, and then print smooth hisses upon
His face; I am swift and fearful, but he
Is quiet, patient, and thoughtful. His
Broad bosom soothes my restlessness.

As the tide comes we caress each other,
When it withdraws, I drop to his feet in
Prayer.

Many times have I danced around mermaids
As they rose from the depths and rested
Upon my crest to watch the stars;
Many times have I heard lovers complain
Of their smallness, and I helped them to sigh.

Many times have I teased the great rocks
And fondled them with a smile, but never
Have I received laughter from them;
Many times have I lifted drowning souls
And carried them tenderly to my beloved
Shore. He gives them strength as he
Takes mine.

Many times have I stolen gems from the
Depths and presented them to my beloved
Shore. He takes them in silence, but still
I give fro he welcomes me ever.

In the heaviness of night, when all
Creatures seek the ghost of Slumber, I
Sit up, singing at one time and sighing
At another. I am awake always.

Alas! Sleeplessness has weakened me!
But I am a lover, and the truth of love
Is strong.
I may be weary, but I shall never die.

– Khalil Gibran

A Broken Appointment
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
-I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me.
Thomas Hardy


Lovers all are soldiers, and Cupid has his campaigns:
I tell you, Atticus, lovers all are soldiers.
Youth is fit for war, and also fit for Venus.
Imagine an aged soldier, an elderly lover!
A general looks for spirit in his brave soldiery;
a pretty girl wants spirit in her companions.
Both stay up all night long, and each sleeps on the ground;
one guards his mistress’s doorway, one his general’s.
The soldier’s lot requires far journeys; send his girl,
the zealous lover will follow her anywhere.
He’ll cross the glowering mountains, the rivers swollen with storm;
he’ll tread a pathway through the heaped-up snows;
and never whine of raging Eurus when he sets sail
or wait for stars propitious for his voyage.
Who but lovers and soldiers endure the chill of night,
and blizzards interspersed with driving rain?
The soldier reconnoiters among the dangerous foe;
the lover spies to learn his rival’s plans.
Soldiers besiege strong cities; lovers, a harsh girl’s home;
one storms town gates, the other storms house doors.
It’s clever strategy to raid a sleeping foe
and slay an unarmed host by force of arms.
(That’s how the troops of Thracian Rhesus met their doom,
and you, O captive steeds, forsook your master.)
Well, lovers take advantage of husbands when they sleep,
launching surprise attacks while the enemy snores.
To slip through bands of guards and watchful sentinels
is always the soldier’s mission – and the lover’s.
Mars wavers; Venus flutters: the conquered rise again,
and those you’d think could never fall, lie low.
So those who like to say that love is indolent
should stop: Love is the soul of enterprise.
Sad Achilles burns for Briseis, his lost darling:
Trojans, smash the Greeks’ power while you may!
From Andromache’s embrace Hector went to war;
his own wife set the helmet on his head;
and High King Agamemnon, looking on Priam’s child,
was stunned (they say) by the Maenad’s flowing hair.
And Mars himself was trapped in The Artificer’s bonds:
no tale was more notorious in heaven.
I too was once an idler, born for careless ease;
my shady couch had made my spirit soft.
But care for a lovely girl aroused me from my sloth
and bid me to enlist in her campaign.
So now you see me forceful, in combat all night long.
If you want a life of action, fall in love.
– translated from the Latin by Jon Corelis
Love And War
Ovid

A book of verse, underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness –
Ah, wilderness were paradise now!
The secrets eternal neither you know nor I
And answers to the riddle neither you know nor I
Behind the veil there is much talk about us, why
When the veil falls, neither you remain nor I.

The caravan of life shall always pass
Beware that is fresh as sweet young grass
Let’s not worry about what tomorrow will amass
Fill my cup again, this night will pass, alas.
– Omar Khayyam

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of

spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling!
At night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine. Breathe into me.
Close the language- door and

open the love window. The moon
won’t use the door, only the window.

I was dead, then alive.

I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.

The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.

He said, ‘You’re not mad enough.
You don’t belong in this house.’

I went wild and had to be tied up.
He said, ‘Still not wild enough
to stay with us!’

I broke through another layer
into joyfulness.

He said, ‘Its not enough.’
I died.

He said, ‘You are a clever little man,
full of fantasy and doubting.’

I plucked out my feathers and became a fool.
He said, ‘Now you are the candle
for this assembly.’

But I’m no candle. Look!
I’m scattered smoke

He said, ‘You are the Sheikh, the guide.’
But I’m not a teacher. I have no power.

He said, ‘You already have wings.
I cannot give you wings.’

But I wanted his wings.
I felt like some flightless chicken.

Then new events said to me,
‘Don’t move. A sublime generosity is
coming towards you.’

And old love said, ‘Stay with me.’

I said, ‘I will.’

You are the fountain of the sun’s light.
I am a willow shadow on the ground.
You make my raggedness silky.

The soul at dawn is like darkened water
that slowly begins to say Thank you, thank you.

Then at sunset, again, Venus gradually
Changes into the moon and then the whole night sky.

This comes of smiling back
at your smile.

The chess master says nothing,
other than moving the silent chess piece.

That I am part of the ploys
of this game makes me
amazingly happy.

Rumi: Translator: Christopher Barks