Friday, May 18, 2007


A myriad splinters of moonlight
The rain had left the forest
But wet wooden drops
Could be heard over
The rolling gurgle of
A newly formed rivulet.

I watched a drop hurtle down
And pierce the Moon in the centre.
Whipping silver moon-rings
Break the blackness of the lake
And roll back to form a new Moon.
Like platinum Matryoshka dolls.

With every growing ripple
I smile wider
In memory of a

Then there is a silence
Like a pause after this line

And a bird shoots through the Moon
On the lake
While the ripples stretch themselves
To reach the cool, spectral love
Of the White mirror, to me.

I sit on a rock
Cushioned by the moss
And bend forward
To gather the harp tunes
Of reflected reflections.
In ten fingers of drenched music
I saw the silver slivers
Of the distant orb.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


"Mrs. Lowell, please sign on the papers."
I watched the rat faced man in his black coat point to where I was supposed to sign. Wonder why lawyers and bank managers think we cannot read and understand the documents that are handed to us. I would surely ask him what section 598.2 and 598.6 of the Iowa Code Annotated meant, but I definitely know where to sign. It is not that which retards my movements. I still hear the words at the top of the page shouting out at me.

"Ma, where is dad going?"
I had slapped her and told her that she shouldn't talk to me as I was not an interesting person anymore. Mel cried and ran to her room before she turned around and said, "Why are you doing this? I don't want to hate you!"
It was only after a few minutes that I had entered her room, my shadow stretching and bending over her bed and rippling its way over the crumpled sheets till my head rested on her little heart.
"I am sorry, honey. May I come in?"
She had sniffed and sat up on her bed, looking straight down at the Tweety sitting on the farther edge of her bed. She always wanted to see Tweety the first thing in the morning for it meant that her day would be good and cheery. I had smiled before I walked up to Tweety. She would be my shield tonight.
"I am sorry, sweetheart. Mommy was a little upset and I didn't mean to shout at you or hurt you. Will you forgive me?"
Mel answered with a hug. We had stayed like that for quite a while and I couldn't help let images of my husband and Jessica flash through my mind. Do they always do it in her bed, or did they do it in his car too? He liked it that way, didn't he? And then...
"Mom, where did dad go?"
"Dad doesn't want me anymore, sweetie."
I wasn't too old and any woman after childbirth does get a few bags of flesh here and there. I had bought that cream to prevent the sagging but my doctor had recommended that I not use it while feeding the baby. I never got around to using it again. I am what I am. Why should I change myself for him? He was leaving me anyway.
"Because, your dad wants another woman."
"But you are a woman. You said I will be a woman too."
How could I explain to her?
"Love, dad finds me boring. He thinks I do not keep him happy. He also..."
"Then let's make him a cake. I will be careful with the eggs and", she jumped out of the bed before continuing, "then we can all go to Disneyland and have lots of fun. We can go for the Disney on Ice thing and then we could also ride..." She was excitedly jumping up and down.
"Dad won't find them interesting, dear. That is not what he wants. He doesn't want us."
"Oh! But I wasn't a bad girl. You are a wonderful mom."
I had smiled and hugged her.
"Isn't there something we could do to make dad stay?"

Why should I do that something? Wasn't this his marriage too? If he thought he had the easy way out, then I don't need him. I don't need you anymore, Josh. I don't need you. I can handle things on my own. I will be better off than you; without you. Mel doesn't need you.

"A marriage is not about an individual. It is about a singular harmonious perspective of this world."
Mom was always giving me these Zen things. They never made sense and they were never useful in the real world.
"Enough, mom! Dad and you divorced too."
"Hence, I say."
"Hindsight 20/20?"
"And that is supposed to be a cowardly thing to do?"
"I think I will take my life without it and build my own 20/20."
"You can always live your life without anyone else, dear."
"And I will do it."
"Maybe that is why he felt he wasn't needed."

That was absolute bullshit. Mom always tried to defend others. I gave him so much. I watched his favourite games. I cooked him his meals. I cannot understand what he writes nor do I see any point in those sitting-on-a-bench-watching-the-geese thing he likes so much. There are so many things he didn't give me.
"Mrs. Lowell", said my lawyer again, "Over there and there."
I read the title on the page once more: DECREE OF DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE. Amidst the voices that made my life, I signed "Amanda Mary Jenkins" over the dotted line. That is all it takes. 17 letters to make worthless all that one dreamed of and lay bare a world where one would need to create it all again with the struts of "I still have my child", "I still have a job", "I still have my friends" and "I can do it".
Mom's soft piercing voice said, "Life is not about what one can do. It is verily about how easily we can undo."
I choose to be so

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Will you ever know?

What shall he ever know, who has never drunk in the nectar of love!?

Dil Ke Armaan

I can't help it!! I am this excited kid in the shop called YouTube! :-D I am discovering stuff which I was connected to indirectly since my childhood (like this song. Don't remember ever seeing it though I recollect seeing Dil ki ye aarzoo). This song is a very haunting and a beautifully sung one (in that lovely nasal tone of Salma Agha). Man, I would love to know a Pathan woman (I do, but no harm asking for more) in real life.

I am providing the translation herewith:

ch [The yearnings of this heart have become tears that flow.
Though loyal I've been, loneliness is all I shall ever know.]

Life has come to be an unquenchable thirst
The tales of love remain incompletely versed.


Perhaps this might be the final torment he metes me.
Thus I received each [suffering] and bear such a life's lee.


Serendipity - 2

I was disheartened for a while, yesterday. The world looked more business-like than is palatable to me. A friend and I were discussing the state of human affairs and how people have forgotten to award each other the basic modicum of decency (I have a post elsewhere about the Unbearable decency of being, but that is a different facet of the same issue). As in think about it, this friend of mine and her boyfriend have strong disagreements. She is made of the wind and he of this earth. But the earth is soft and powdery at places while retaining its hard bulwark at others. Her guy was not ready to flex himself to work with her and create something where both can enjoy life. His take seemed to be: "This is what I have to give; take it or leave it". Hmmm. Now that she has revealed this need of hers to work with him on creating happiness and excitement and joy, he kinda backed out with those lines and has effectively "broken-up" (sheesh! I hate that term). I felt really sad that my friend had to go through this, she being such a sweet person.
I then recounted this tale of a friend of mine who was very close to me. She got married and then for some strange reason denied me even the basic decent level of friendship that people can maintain. No calls, no return of calls, no emails, ... Well, when we met once at a bookstore, she simply turned away and hurriedly looked inside her bag and was searching for something!! Everyone is entitled to their choice, but my concern is about the basic level of decency that one awards another human being.

All these and several recent incidents made me sit back and think as to whether anyone really respects and loves another person. When I told my friend that "Love is a load of **it" she smacked me and said, "You should be the last person saying that." :-o But seriously, I believe that it is in its present state. People want to be love and are hence, willing to love another. But forget about that. I was lodged securely in my metaphysical closet (and it is fairly roomy) last evening when I thought: "Can I truly love a person without being able to love everyone?" Please do not interpret that as: "Can I truly have sex with a person without being able to have sex with everyone?" Love and sex are highly unrelated. I could love a person but never touch her/him. I might feel sexually attracted towards a female and never get myself to love her. But then, love is a load of **it!!
So here I was staring at the ceiling wondering why spiders prefer building their webs out there (beyond the architectural considerations) and why people when they have the entire world for themselves can't build a single stable thing (all spiders do that; all human beings don't). So I returned to my question: Is it possible to love by selection? In English: Can I pick and choose the person I wish to love?
Then I realised that it has been a long time since I spoke to my dear friend (I have only two dear friends in my metaphysical closet: JK and Lao Tsu), and pulled up my application. What do I have!!? (You might be interested in Serendipity 1 where something similar happened. I so love the comments in there! :-)

Is it possible to love without thinking? What do you mean by thinking? Thinking is a response to memories of pain or pleasure. There is no thinking without the residue which incomplete experience leaves. Love is different from emotion and feeling. Love cannot be brought into the field of thought; whereas feeling and emotion can be brought. Love is a flame without smoke, ever fresh, creative, joyous. Such love is dangerous to society, to relationship. So, thought steps in, modifies, guides it, legalizes it, puts it out of danger; then one can live with it. Do you not know that when you love someone, you love the whole of mankind? Do you not know how dangerous it is to love man? Then, there is no barrier, no nationality; then, there is no craving for power and position, and things assume their values. Such a man is a danger to society.For the being of love, the process of memory must come to an end. Memory comes into being only when experience is not fully, completely understood. Memory is only the residue of experience; it is the result of a challenge which is not fully comprehended. Life is a process of challenge and response. Challenge is always new but the response is ever old. This response, which is conditioning, which is the result of the past, must be understood and not disciplined or condemned away. It means living each day anew, fully and completely. This complete living is possible only when there is love, when your heart is full, not with the words nor with the things made by the mind. Only where there is love, memory ceases; then every movement is a rebirth.

He makes sense to me, but he also seems to connect where sense has lost its stronghold. If I can love someone and not, another, then love becomes a decision (and people hated me for calling love that). Simply because two people decide mutually agreeably doesn't make that decision natural or holistic or spiritual. It is still a decision that one makes. Scientifically, it seems love and falling in love are based on some conscious and unconscious decisions, but the love the talk about is the utile Jiddu Krishnamurthynature of a relationship and what economists and - of late - software engineers call feasibility analysis. So I am not interested in that. What I am interested in is the basic amount of decency (I call it that, to love) that a human being awards another. I think JK calls that love. It isn't anymore about what there is to gain and whether you would be kissing and making babies with this person (yes, I am aware that mere kissing doesn't produce babies. I read my Biology texts well). It is about the soul and how one naturally feels about interacting with the soul. JK and I are approaching the same thing from different ends. I am concerned about the decency we exude towards everyone. If I cannot treat a person decently, can I ever love? Am I capable (bad word) of loving or being loved? Being loved is an extremely difficult thing. As Zarathustra (actually Nietzsche, pronounced Neet-z-shuh, I think) says "What would be thy happiness if thou hadst not those for whom thou shinest" and that best describes the responsibility of he who receives. When one realises the decency of being with another soul (human or otherwise), one isn't vassal to pain and pleasure (though I would say that there is a blissful state which people might call pleasure). A state of joy and fervid vitality which is not obtained in the context of banausic pursuits.

And this brings me to my last bit! Now you will understand why I had her picture up for this post. I have always liked her, but recently I read a story by Arthur Miller called, "Please Don't Kill Anything". It is a beautiful story of the human soul's violation in the presence of the vulgar. A couple are on their walk along the beach where they meet fishermen pulling nets out of the ocean. The fishermen discard some fish which are not sold or are of no use. The lady, (and it seems she was carved out of the heart of Ms. Monroe) is unable to watch those fish die pointlessly on the sand. She starts throwing them back into the ocean and her husband joins her. A very wonderfully told story (Miller has all my respect, though it would be sealed after I read one more story of his and conclude in alignment) and I couldn't help laugh and smile and smack my forehead when the dog entered the scene. When I read that this story was distilled from the life that Miller and Monroe shared, I held her in greater respect. And she also helped me realise that the trueness and purity of the soul is far more essential to the human specie than anything else. It is this trueness and purity that gives rise to the decency I talk about, or the love that JK mentions in his conversation with me.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


She wouldn't allow him to be tired tonight. She lay in the midst of all the old cassettes that they had collected over the past seven years. Small palm sized rectangles with actors and actresses of yesteryears frozen in scenes from the movie, some with more than one movie tracks captured in them. She had them spread out around her. If you sat back, somewhere above the door leading into the dining room and watched her, you might find her to be the culmination of all the 3D cards of tunes that lay all around her. The strongest bond that held them together was that of music. She was an artist and he, an aficionado.
Suraj walked in and tossed his bag on the sofa and crashed into his favourite recliner.
She had worn his favourite red chiffon saree. She slowly got up facing him and turned oh-so-slightly in the most seductive manner before she tilted the remote towards their music system.
"Suraj hua maddham, chand jalne laga..."
He smiled and threw his hands up in mock surrender.
"Aasmaan yeh hai, kyoon pigalne laga. Main teh... Tta se gao."
"Mad or what? You can't stop at the start of the word!"
"Everything is fair in", she kissed him on his lips, "and antakshari."
"Hmmm. Madam is in full throttle today! Ok... let me think."
He ran his hand through his hair and then smiled. He twisted an imaginary guitar into place and started.
"Tu hi meri shabb hai, subah hai..."
"Hello! Tta and not tha."
"I thought someone said everything is fair..." and he winked.
"But it's a new song."
"And Suraj hua maddham is old!?"
She walked up to him and flicked his chin with her finger.
"But it had context, tired hubby!"
He snorted a laugh and tried recollecting a song starting with Tta and something she would like. She had gone back to her scattered array of magnetic tape memories.
"Tum..mmm..mmm pukaar lo, tumhara intezaar hai..."
"Sing it in that Hemant Kumar voice, please."
He lowered his chin to his sternum and rounded his lips into a stiff "O".
"Khwaab chunn rahi hai raat, bekarar hai. Tumhara intezaar hai."
She laughed at his mimicry.
"So many songs have been the hours of our life together."
He smiled at her and beckoned her. She slowly walked up to him and sat on his lap.
"Remember the first song I sang to you?"
"Ha ha ha. The one you murdered or the one that you managed to sing well?"
"Come on, you are the only one who says that I do not sing Mere Mehboob well."
"You were so off-key and all of us kept laughing about it for so many days."
"Not fair", he pushed her off his lap, "What was wrong in what I sang?"
"Ok. Sing that high pitched verse again."
He cleared his voice and Trisha burst out laughing.
"Get lost. I am not singing."
"Ok ok ok. Sorry. Sorryyyyy. Please? Please? I promise. No laughing or even smiling!"
He cleared his voice again and started:
"Yaad hai mujhko meri", his voice broke but he continued, "umr ki pehli woh gadhi..."
"See? See? Totally off-key. Come on Suraj."
"Please. After a day at work, it is not the easiest piece to get without some warming up. As if you could get sing O Duniya Ke Rakhwale as soon as you wake up!"
He started taking off his shoes and tossing them loudly. She was disappointed that this wasn't going as expected. She slowly started humming before she sang:
"Chahe tum kuch na kaho
Maine sunn liya.
Ke saathi pyaar ka
Mujhe chunn liya...
"So this was off key too?"
"Come on Suraj. This was the sweetest song you ever sung to me. And you sang it so well. But how did you know that it was my favourite then?"
"Not anymore?"
"It still is, just that it is my favourite for a different reason now."
"Your friend Saroj told me that you were going to marry Aamir Khan for singing that song. So I thought, if not his good looks, at least I could..."
"Cho Chweet! I love you."
"I love you too, but I am not off-key."
"Get lost!" she said and burst out laughing.
"What was that song you used to like?"
"Which one?"
"That Jagjit Singh number."
They started humming the tune and singing spurts of lines from the song.
"Tere kushboo mein"
"No, not that version. The movie version."
"Starts with some "Ek", right?"
"No... forget it, we'll remember it later."
"I still remember how you and Divya danced to that song from Teesri Manzil", she said and waved the cassette at him.
"Ha ha ha. That was wild."
"Do it!"
"Mad or what!?"
"Come on! Dance your piece."
He got up and rolled his head before he started singing and dancing a Pulp-Fiction-fingers-over-eyes step.
"Dekhiye sahebon woh koi aur thi, aur ye naazneen hai meri."
They laughed together and recounted stories of how Divya fell hard on the stage and how that got the dance the prize out of pity! They started pouring over their collection and sorted them out, first chronologically then according to the ones they would listen to more often than others.
"Hari died, you know."
"What? How? When?"
"Last week. I got a message on my mobile while I was in office today."
"Oh! My god. How?"
"He committed suicide. This", he said, holding the cassette of Pyaasa, "was his favourite and a gift to me."
Trisha leaned on his shoulder and cried in mild shudders.
"How he used to sing Jaaney woh kaise log the!"
"Beautiful. He had it all but no one to share all of himself with. Sad."
"He needn't have rushed into the smoking and drinking circuits. Silly fellow."
"Suraj, please. Let's not."
After a while, they continued ruffling through the collections and assorted recordings too. She picked up one and waved it at him.
"Kitu's party, right?"
"Dil kehta hai, tu hai yahaan to, jaata lamha thamm jaaye."
She closed her eyes and smiled at the scene that ran behind shut eyes.
"And of course, can we forget Abhishek's song that made you stay?"
"Suraj, come on, it would have been rude had I left the party after he started singing that."
"But when I asked you to stay too, you still left."
"Suraj, everyone started pulling me back, and..."
"He still quotes it as his favourite song in all his interviews and even sang it on that music talent show which he judged, which one was that?"
"I don't know."
"Of course you do. "Mere saath gao"... no... what was it?"
"Suraj please drop it."
"Abhi na jao chodd kar, ke dil abhi bhara nahin. You knew that he loved you. Everyone called you guys the best duet in college."
"I didn't love him, Suraj."
"Yeah yeah yeah, that is why you sang Teri Bindiya Re with him on the farewell day?"
"Excuse me, that was the song picked up by Lata Ma'am. Not my choice, nor his. Forget it Suraj. Its been 8 years since that and you still..."
She got up and left for the room to change into her pyjamas. He roughly swept all the cassettes to one side and stared in her direction. Who was she kidding? I still remember how she stood speechless while he sang the song on the stage and melodramatically kept pointing at her. He loved her, yes. She too loved him and would have gone with him had it not been for his greater love for music. I was more reliable with my top scores and sure shot posh lifestyle. Damn!
Dinner was skipped that night and they lay on the bed staring at different pieces of furniture in the room. He went over the past 8 years. Was she still in love with him? She never mentioned him, but still... He had kept track of Abhishek all these years. Whenever he was in Bombay, he had canceled all his trips and stayed with Trisha. He couldn't imagine losing her. Suddenly he remembered. He rolled over slightly and whispered, "Trisha?"
She didn't respond.
"It was Koi ye kaise batayein. Starts with Ka and not Ek."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A meal well done

I couldn't help this. Had my meal been just a stomach-filler, I wouldn't have bothered. Yesterday's lunch (and there remains nothing of it, beside satiation) was divine (come on! you can trust me be to be as critical as I would be of your meal). It was so good that that was all I had throughout the day!! :-) Here is a picture of what once was the sight of it.

The wheel of life...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A wonderful artist

I happened to come across this page and thoroughly enjoyed this artist's work. Do spare some time to go through his galleries. Please click on the artwork below to go to his site.

Pandora's Box


Poetry in flesh
The flesh hung low without being flabby. The soft whiteness of the skin rarely touched by the human hand, and, perhaps never by another, trembled as Isabella's wrist flicked with the movement of the bow, now licking, now moaning and now slamming on the strings of the cello. The muscles on her shoulder were taut - tonight I can give her a good massage, he thought. He was a shadow in the audience and she never strained to catch his dark eyes, well spaced in the umbra of his motionless head. She knew he was there. She knew he was watching. But whom?

He waited for the change in crescendo of Vivaldi's Concerto in G Minor - her upper arm flesh would quiver for his pleasure. He waited for it, and while others drew in breaths of appreciation, he held his while watching her triceps play a different tune. He was done now.

It wasn't before an hour when she came to him. He was sipping on his punch while his eyes drank in the tight form of the Afro-American woman who was talking to the majordomo. He liked her dark graphite green halter and the stretch of the fabric over her derrière. He hoped she would move her left foot a little ahead so that the fabric fell straighter over one cheek while being stretched over the other.
"Stop it Robin. I am tired of your flitting eye."
"Isabella", he smiled and noticed that her upper arm wasn't interesting anymore.
"I have been watching you since then. Who is it now?"
"Well, if you have been watching me, you should know!"
"I don't have time for games, Robin. I am tired of this."
"You were beautiful up there. Really. I loved it when..."
"Shut up, Robin. What did you take me for?"
"My wife and someone who would understand."
"What? That you can't keep your eyes off every single body that passes by?"
"I don't spare well dressed men, too."
"And is that supposed to make me feel better?"
He sighed and shook his head. He loved the vein that protruded along her neck when she was angry and into the strap of her gown. Had that strap not been there, he wondered, would it flow down her shoulder as a long straw of blue blood? The skin must be so lightly clad over it, and...
"Robin, listen to me. I have had enough of this. Tonight is the last time I am going to let you continue with this."
"With what?"
"With what? With what? With your god forsaken roving eye, that's what!"
"Come on Isabella, I have told you a million times before. To me the human body is like what the cello is to you."
"One can't be a desperate flirt with a cello."
He winced visibly. He felt the shudder of her rebuke wobble down his nape. He wondered whether the tiny mole on his spine would actually tremble when he shuddered thus. Wouldn't it be lovely? A tiny mole being shaken off one's back but that being possible only when one is slapped with the greatest shame and slander. He imagined it fall off his body and that one true lover of his - a faceless woman in stilettos, who sat with him along tram stations, parks, leaning over the rails on the bridge, breathing round moth wings of hot air into the glass of the London's Eye, all this while watching how the soft slice of the breast's side peered into the sun from under that woman's orange sleeveless blouse, how the hair on that man's chest (made visible by the three, no four, undone buttons) hummed in the sunset's air, how perforations on the metal seat of the tube had left an impression of dark pink spot on the old lady's calf, how this faceless woman appreciated all that there was in this world and only smiled when he spoke of the slight beer belly that looked so cute as it peeped out from under that teen's shocking green tee - she, and only she would bend down to pick that mole up and press it between her fingers, place it on a thumb's nail and try squishing it with the nail of the index finger - would it burst with black blood?.
"I am sorry. I do not mean anyone harm. I just..."
"Either you stop this tonight, or I am moving out... forever."
"But Isabella, it isn't like I did something wrong. All I enjoy..."
"Stop it. Do you want me or a world-load of flesh?"
He smiled. Isn't flesh the perfect word for something which doesn't have angles? F-L-E-S-H. Always soft and ending in a hiss, the air escaping from between one's teeth and tickling the pink of one's lips. That made him lick the tickle away. She understood that wrong.
She hung her head down and rolled it against her sternum in disbelief. Had he not lost himself in the swirl on the top of her head - isn't it beautiful? The whorl had a symmetric flowering of silky hair with the chandelier glimmering like an oscillating silver "C" forming a striated tiara - had he not enjoyed the shimmering sight, he would have seen it coming.
Isabella slapped him hard and walked, then ran out. His punch spilled on his shirt and while he flicked it away, he couldn't help but admire the way her hair swept from side to side as she ran, and he didn't miss the sheer melody of the metronome of her heels and its ripple up to her tenuous waist.
Why won't she ever understand?

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Another wonderful chance to laugh at my ways! I had recently taken upon myself to clean my blog, and rid it of dead cobwebs unsuitable even for the spindly spider. Many posts grabbed my attention making me wonder Why on earth, did I write this? and still more had me wonder Why on earth, did I write this? But this one (originally date 16th June 2005 and never published) had served as a humble canvas on which I poured my mind's image. I am want to believe that this exercise was part of the preparation for Alvibest's 1st issue. I might be wrong, but a madman's wrong is not always so!
The first part is the version of the poem I wanted to write. I have a different story to tell in this one. Typically I would have wanted to modify and polish this to the final version (I suppose that is what they call drafts). I seem to have gone ahead and prepared an entirely different one altogether. A similar incident happened to me when I was off to Bombay for a conference. I was rehearsing the presentation for a few days and each one of them came out differently. I wanted to record my presentation on my micro-recorder so that I could play it back and then polish it. I forgot it back home!! Believe it or not, I had 10-12 different styles of presenting those 9 slides and ended up rendering a totally different one in front of the audience. I was certain that no one would believe it until I stumbled across this draft!
My Lord, this is the most pinning evidence of this man's unreliable mind!! :-)

A walk like a breeze o'er the lake,How far should I go?
Gathering coolness and a placid dream.

She swayed and sashayed a little,

Every step pressed her deeper into me.

She'd laugh a little and then look

Such a gaze I'd dare not hold

But long after I did turn,
I gripped
Her eyes in my mind's eye's fold

Her hair was the wind's playground
And it tickled her, oh! so well,
Like the pond does tease the passing breeze
With wrinkles and wavelets...

I ran to the highest tower

Which took me not far away

From the blessed road that carried her

Thus longer in my watch she'd stay

Why, sweet Chandralekha, why

Does my heart beat not loud enough?

Or do the tinkle of gold at your feet

Drown my passionate cries?

And as I watch her leave

With a smile, to her man's arm

I pray she'd not find due joy

And yearn for my love's warm.

And this is how the final version (which appeared in Alvibest) turned out!! :-D

Oh Chandralekha! A moon so bright
Do return and heal our ailing king.

His breath is laced with your name,

And dear little life does that bring.

Oh Chandralekha! Oh fairest one!

Does a lover’s heart need such pain?
For little did it know the vile life,

Of once loved and left in disdain.

The hand which lead a myriad spears
And I shall rest thus...
And chariots that shook this very earth

Lies in that bed of thousand nights

Of yours and his and an aching dearth

Listen clear, subjects of Ashoka

‘Tis sad for kingliness to cease

And sadder still that a man’s lust

Does a million men to their knees

I am a woman for powerful men
And Ashoka was once at glory’s brim

He lies in a mire of decadence

What more could I have of him?

Why beseech me to save your ailing king?

I am born to weaken men at best

Myriad spears and thundering chariots,

Lie wasted in the beat of my tender breast

A woman is what they called me

Easy and bought with an ounce of gold

I come decked in flowers and scents

Warm their nights with a heart made cold

And as your king plunged into me

But carried her for his choice queen

I swore to all the gods above

A cry for a woman I’ve ne’er been

But, such irony should you know now.

No queen’s love nor divine egress

Can save him from his abject plight

While his heart desires my caress.

Return home, Oh men of Kalinga!

And remember what I have to say

A man’s world is in a woman’s arms

At birth, in glory and in morbid sway.

I love both of them. The first one is a raw nugget of gold panned from the filthiest waterways, and it is only that which a goldsmith accepts to work his loving turns into. Give him a well made armlet and all he might say is "Well, the thickness isn't uniform, but it's not that bad." :-)