There you stand in the balcony

By Sunil Gangopadhyay

There you stand in the balcony
Vanity doesn’t become you
Are you just another woman who
From just another balcony
Has lain her brow
Near evening’s head?

For you’re mine alone, seen from afar
Dried hair, moist face, your palm cupping your silken chin
You’re Nira
Vanity simply doesn’t become you
To see you is to make you lovely, to become
Viewer and god in one
Your solitary beauty merges with the mourning wind

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

After a year and a half you finally raised your eyes

By Sunil Gangopadhyay

After a year and a half you finally raised your eyes
How did you make me so bereft of desire, Nira
A rectangular table between footprints of transient light
How did you make me so bereft of desire, Nira
I smell incense in the illusion of your face, like pictures on a Persian carpet
Laughter interrupted on a casual evening, mutually separated by two yards,
How did you make me so bereft of desire, Nira?

Doors closed and windows open, or is it the other way round
People pass, ‘When did you return from your trip abroad, Sunil?’
Your eyebrows meet at my answer, amorous in tiny spectacles,
Or perhaps pictures don’t favour all kinds of glass
Secretly I take back the small gift I brought you
How did you make me so bereft of desire, Nira
Just for those eyes, did I run all this way just for a glimpse
of those eyes?