My Beloved approaches, veiled maiden of night,
tending her lamp until dawn’s chill breeze
ruffles the curtains, gauzy and worn,
that buffer the assault of those noisome streets.
My Beloved is as silent as midnight, as death,
a silence so viscous it muffles heart beats.
She stills all the hubbub of restless reflection;
that market place clamor that disrupts my sleep.
My Beloved’s perfume is made not of flowers
nor musk oil nor sandalwood, citrus or myrrh.
My beloved’s fragrance hangs like a mantle
of dark hair and warm skin and embers and earth.
My Beloved’s footfall measures the seconds
and minutes and hours that mark out my life;
her lightness of step eases my passage
and tempers the brutality of inescapable Death.
My Beloved isn’t woman, though she has Mother’s wisdom,
nor is she girl child, though she’s playful and coy.
My Beloved is ancient and yet blessed with youth’s vigor.
My beloved is India, my wellspring of joy!