...And to New Ones
To have designs on another
The old Greek was right,
Platonic love is the best.
I knew this all along,
Preached this doctrine,
But couldn'd practice it myself.
To love is to give
But what does a beggar,
Himself needy, wandering the streets,
Pan-handling for love,
Know of giving himself to another?
No, he's too self-absorbed:
He ventures in vain
And returns as restless as he went.
So what are my options?
To remain strictly monogamous,
Regard every other woman
As a mother or sister?
To be desireless for ever
Without romance, appreciation, power?
Or else to evade the issue altogether
And play it by the ear?
Though I'm not at all sure
To lay down rules which I must follow,
I think this much I know:
I don't want to settle into
A boring and dull domesticity;
I want the freedom, however illusive,
To make friends, to seek afresh.
I don't think my romance with women
Has yet reached its end.
And yet I detest promiscuity or fornication:
Sex without soul is sordid.
So deception, whether with self,
Spouse or girlfriend, is out.
Then what's left?
Love-which is the other side of Truth-
Noble and fine and spiritual
Without a particle of jealousy or possessiveness,
More or less a dream, difficult to find:
Bhakti of friend to friend
The distillation of _sringara rasa_
Which made Krishna a brahmacharin
Though he had over sixteen thousand wives.
For the girls involved
It must be an experience
To be loved as they have never been
Before or after:
So, O Mother, teach me how to be
Let that be my way of winning hearts
And saving souls.
[From The Serene Flame]
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