Mira Bai: a poem


Staff Writer
It is difficult for me to take up the pen—
born as I was
among silver palaces and silk sheets—
but I am driven by bhakti, a devotion
raw and convulsing, like a second heart.
Tell me, how shall I earn your affection
when my entire people kneels at your altars? Selfish love—
gods were meant only to be praised,
never to praise for themselves.
But, flute-fingered love, at the slightest touch
I will still unfold before you,
strike up holy cities and sing paeans in your name.
Sapphire-skinned love,
at a word I will dance for you
until my vision clouds in sweet
delirium, write until the earth is
masked in blooming verses.
Speak to me sooner;
answer me faster, for I have told you:
Life lasts but a few days only.
Can you hear me? Heavenly love,
it is so cruel that you should not speak my tongue.
My lord, my mountain-lifter,
you answer to no one—you are
boundless, higher than I will ever be. But
though I know I will return empty,
for you I will come back again,
again and again.