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Darius Cooper


Darius Cooper



Sunset at Triest. Image credit: Michaelaw at RGBStock.com




Pranaams1 for the Bai2 who dared to loosen her hair

1
For once
she had wanted
to see herself
in the mirrors,
hung all over her palace,
with her hair,
like her daily awakened passions,
loose!

But none of the glasses had obliged.

Vision there
was always calculated.
It was measured by
the unnecessary postures
of pomp, so
carefully arranged,
O so carefully arranged, within
that glass universe.

She wanted to break free
and leap into
her lord's Blue arms
without any kind
of shame
or remorse.

But was her lord
willing to catch her
by her hair,

suddenly loosened
from
the Rana's3 royal knots?


2
To marry her Blue lord,
but only in her dreams,
was such an insult.

So, she became
blue for you,
and yet, O Blue One,
you, who had performed
so many wondrous miracles,
why couldn't you have
even choreographed one
for this noble princess?

Instead of wasting
so many words
on a vacillating prince
about dharma4
at Kurekshetra,
where was your dharma
towards this Bai,
ready to lose everything
with her loose hair?

3
Her Rana
couldn't hold her
within his palace
or even within
his kingdom's walls.
Neither
could you,
O Blue One,
within your entire
Vrindavaan garden.

When she sang and danced
her loosened hair
penetrated
every corner of the world…
except yours.

4
With her body, and
with her mind,
she confessed
herundenying loyalty
to you.

With her songs, and
with her dances,
she composed
her entire sangeet5
for you.
Were you only attuned
to your own flute?
She didn't transform herself
a thousand times
as you did,
to dance and frolic
a thousand times
with your stupid gopees.6

How could you have missed out

on the single intentions
of her love
in the three times
that you bent
to play your hypnotic flute?
Your pearl strings,
like your
self-absorbed ego,
hanging so terribly
askew?

5
Stop being so proud,
O Blue One,
of lifting an entire mountain
with just one finger.
Real lovers
lift their beloved's anguishes
not with just one
but with all
ten fingers.

6
She emptied every colour
During Holi
in order
to enter your Blue One.
Why, even
in the light
of White spring rain,
she darkened herself
for your Blue.

But your Blueness
was merely the poison
of that snake
whose venom
you drank,
unmindful
of her thirst.

Try dancing,
not on the snake's hood,
but within
the Blue coils
of an authentic passion
for a change.
Then you will comprehend
its essence,
its real Blue essence.

7
Her eyes
sought the ends
of your fingers
as they were pressed
on the stops
of your passionate flute.

She had heard your music
long before you composed it.

That is why
this silence of yours
is so brutal,
particularly
these empty notes.

8
In her high notes
she looked
everywhere for you.
Her loose hair
wanted
to tie you up.
But you,
O Blue One,
constantly betrayed her
with your low notes.
You didn't even offer her
your thousand and oneth reflection
as you frolicked
with all those others.

9
Like
most noted gods of mythology
what did you know,
or what did you care
of what
a mortal goes through,
when she loosens her hair
from every one
of her world's
attachments
and runs
with bare feet
to one
whose own feet
so recklessly
committed themselves
to shameful liaisons,
lionized and praised
in Indian tradition
as lore.

10
Even rain
frees itself
from the clouds
and the season
that
creates it.

Were you,
O Blue One,
so lost
in the moistness
of your own love
that you became
so impervious
and so invisible
to a Bai
who was prepared
to face
the wrath
of all seasons

while being constant to you?


11
She heard
the frogs croak.
She saw
the peacocks dance.
She heard
The koel
answer its mate.

And when
she heard your flute,
she stopped
touching
herself.

Couldn't you
have draped her
in Draupadi's

yards and yards
of sari?

12
Whoever
gave her your idol
when she was,
only a little girl

committed a grievous error,
O Blue One!


13
Night
fell like a leaf
in
her forest
of longing.

She searched for you
in every corner
of the cities
she danced in,
since
you had
a reputation
for breaking things
and running away.

She looked for you
up and down
every hill,
since
you were known
for rolling
and gathering
no moss.

At night,
after the day's
futile endeavours,
she waited
again
for
the next single leaf
to fall.

14
She moved in you
a thousand times.
And you never
moved in her
even once.

Of what use,
what use,
O Blue One,
was
your Vrindavan?

***


1 Pranaams – praises
2 Bai – lady
3 Rana – feudal husband 4 Dharma – duty
5 Sangeet – music
6 Gopees – milkmaids

 

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