For Neera, Suddenly: Sunil Gangopadhyay

Three minutes at the bus-stop, yet for hours in my dream last night
I saw you embedded like a knife across the ocean – compass-less –
One body like the fifty-two holy places, in the wind
I saw you last night in my dream, Neera, in the dire blue times
Of dreams that ripen once and die.

When did you visit the southern sea-door, with whom?
Have you only just returned?
How terrible, how silent the ocean was in the dream, without a wave,
As though it would kill itself three days later, your horizon in the distance
Like a lost ring, your knees immersed in the blue water
Suddenly you seemed to be a gambler’s moll
And yet you were alone, alone in the intense dream.

I shan’t sleep for a year, wiping the sweat off the brow
At dawn after a dream seems so very foolish
I prefer forgetfulness, as free of shame as
The naked body hidden in clothes, I
Shan’t sleep for a year, for a year I’ll be awake, dreamless
And roam your body, like the fifty-two holy places,
To earn my piety.

Your smiling face in the bus window, ‘I have to go,
Come home sometime.’
The shriek of the sunlight drowns all sounds.
‘Stay a little longer,’ or ‘Let’s go to the library garden.’ Someone
In my heart said these things, glancing at my watch with
Remembering eyes I jump up, leapfrogging over the road, buses, trams,
Carts and people
Loping on all four limbs like an orang-utan
I reach the door to the office lift.

Three minutes at the bus-stop, yet for hours in my dream last night.

For these verses there is no one else, there’s just you, Neera: Sunil Gangopadhyay

For these verses there is no one else, there’s just you, Neera
These midnight verses are meant for your private intimate face

Waking suddenly from your sleep, pouring yourself a glass of water
You will wonder for an instant, biting your tongue, who it is
That might be thinking of you at this hour of the night – at that moment
Every line word syllable of my poetry, with every comma dash colon
With every dot on every i, will race towards you, in the
Unruly strands of hair framing your half-asleep
Tender face, on your bed, these words of mine, silent as my breath
Every letter in these verses, like the sorcerer’s arrow, is only meant for you
They know how to pierce only you

Don’t be afraid. Sleep. I am a long way away
My dreadful hand will not touch you, this midnight
My impossible arousal, heat, sharp desire and
Muffled groan will not terrorise you – my feelings
Like the beam of the candle, civilised, cool
On verses of sounds and words
Will visit your brow – if they kiss you
You will not know it, they will lie with you on the same bed
All night – you will not awake. In the morning
They will droop like dead butterflies near your feet. Their soul
Will merge into every pore of your body, forever.

When I meet you after many years you will laugh
Like the waterfall, not knowing any of this. Nira, I will
Gaze at the slanting beauty spot on your lovely face
While I speak of other things I will kiss your radiant face in my mind
Even in a roomful of people I will look at you
My own way. You will never get to know – with your entire body has mingled
The soul of every word in this my completely personal poem