Rabindranath Tagore (translation by Tony K. Stewart and Chase Twichell)


You innocent,
so careless with your lapful of red flowers,
eyes searching the moonless woods
for his eyes looking back.
Not there tonight. No sound but the bees
rummaging through the twilight, whispering.
You startle like a deer, Radha.

Where will she quench herself,
this flower-burdened girl?
I have no unguent for her burning.
No hands but his can cure her,
no hands but his can catch
her chain of flowers and hold her still.

She grabs my hand, not knowing
it's mine, night bird about to cry out
to the whole forest, since she can't see him
or feel the after-tremor of his touch
subsiding in her body.

Look, the wind's undressing you,
scattered moonbeam, hold still—
it's not his longing that loosens the cloth.
Talk to me, tear-spangled one,
quit looking down the empty path.
It's late, it's dark. Not even his shadow lies there.
Be quiet now. I'll sing for you.

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