Loving a Woman

To love a woman is

to resurrect her from stone,

to fondle her from head to toe

until her blood, frozen by curse

is warmed by a dream.

To love a woman is

to turn her soot-laden day

into a skylark that breathes

the flower-dust of paradise;

to turn oneself into a tree in bloom

for her tired wings to roost at night.

To love a woman is

to set sail on a stormy sea

under a cloudy sky

in search of a new continent;

to carry a red balsam

from your courtyard to an unseen shore

and plant it there.

To love a woman is

to exchange the harshness of your muscles

for the tenderness of a flower.

to free yourself of the armour and the crown,

bare, cross another sky

and leave your flesh to the winds of

another planet, to another water.

To love a woman is

to help her unearth a ray-sharp sword

from her ancient scars

and lie pressing your heart on its blade

until you are drained of all your blood.

I have never loved a woman.

THE PANTHER IN THE CITY

The panther strayed into the city

vainly hides behind the leafless

electric posts.

Thirsty, she confronts

the streams of crowds.

She is too wild still

to be whipped into squatting

on a circus chair

to stare at visitors

from a cage in a zoo

or to hang meekly as a meatless skin

from drawing-room walls.

The city’s busy, bright midnights

scare her; breeze and birds

bring silent tears into her eyes.

A moon rises in the lake of her

tears, a bird bathes in it

and a woman sees her own image.

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SATCHIDANANDAN

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