Beloved, I’ve immortalized you in sonnet after sonnet; making you a blushing tulip in the soft heat, or a grey pearl that heals disease, but my lines meet oblivion. How I wish you were the thrush that sat on my windowsill and pleased me with its aubade. How I wish you were the Dandelion in my backyard waiting to greet me with its yellow symphony. I’ve shed tears that could fill all the gutters in the village over you, and my anguish could shake the earth.
What does he have, that I don’t? Does he play the flute for you as I do? Does he write music that embodies your essence as I do? Everything I’ve ever done is for you, my precious. I have loved you from the moment I first saw you; walking in the park with his arm around you. It was a moment of bliss and agony. The joy that is you, coupled with the torture of seeing him with you. I followed you, feeling ecstatic and broken at the same time. I then saw a vision of a beast with two heads chasing a maiden wearing a blue gown, and I knew that I needed to save you from him. He is the beast with both the head of a man and a tiger. He plays both roles perfectly, but you, being innocent and wearing blue, only see the perfect man.
I have trailed you across the roads of this busy city. I do not possess the strength to fight him, my daffodil, but I’ll give my life for you if I must. I’m only a poor poet from the village, but you do not know how I yearn for you. I long for you like a withering plant in the wasteland craves for rain; I long for you like a trapped songbird desires freedom; I long for you like a possessed man wants an exorcism; I long for you like a drunkard longs for his vodka. I am inebriated with love, my cherry blossom, and you should know that I’d kneel naked in the snow if you’d love me back.
I’ve spent nights convulsing in love’s throes. I’ve shivered, shook and spoken in tongues. I’ve lost myself to mystical rhapsodies when I’ve thought of your bosom shaped like two fawns. I’ve hummed nocturnes when I’ve thought of your neck which is like the tower of Pembroke Castle. I’ve had visions of mythical creatures made of rubies, diamonds and emeralds sitting at your feet.
I’ve walked past whorehouses and insalubrious bars, but I’ve stayed chaste for you, my snowflake. I’ve spent hours drawing portraits of you and complementing them with haikus. And whenever passion stirs in my loins, I tear my clothes and whip myself, because my love for you is pure, and no other woman can replace you.
You are the Ghazal that cleanses me from all vileness; you are the Lục bát that comes to me like an eagle of light in the darkness. But yet, you are with the beast. I confessed my love for you recently, but you cursed me, and I knew what death felt like at that moment. Vultures of pandemonium tore my flesh apart, as I prostrated myself before you and cried, “Why! Why! Why!” My heart shattered, and rivers of sorrow flooded my being. I spent that night howling like a mongrel when it sees the moon.
The beast came to me the next day and beat me up; spitting his venom on my raw wounds. And even as I lay humiliated, having urinated on myself, I thought of you. I thought about your laughter which makes Autumn swoop down from his throne of sadness, and rejoice with you until he becomes Spring; I thought about your smile which transforms Gargoyles into little Cupids; I thought about your gait which makes pink carnations bend their heads in awe. I knew then what Dickens meant when he said, “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”
If you’d only be my queen, I’d be your humble servant; feeding you sweet grapes and rice wine. Then, intoxicated, we could dance in the moonlight outside our little home, while the locomotives passed us, and the crickets chirped. Or we could live like itinerant gypsies; camping in forests, waiting for the west wind. Or we could hold each other all day, and chuckle for no reason.
I would skin a car tire, and eat it if you wanted me to, and yet, you run to him. Oh! My heart! My heart! I wish you knew how much I love you! But I had another vision yesterday, and it gives me hope. I saw a dwarf with a kitchen knife, fighting off a wild animal with spikes instead of eyes and a vicious tongue. The dwarf lost his arm, but butchered the beast, and feasted on its meat. I now stalk the creature who has deceived you with a scythe in hand. I will stab his heart out, and free you from his dominion. I might lose an arm, but love demands sacrifices.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2020)