Shiv Kumar Batalvi

(23 July 1936 - 7 May 1973 / Punjab / British India)

Pepper Leaves - Poem by Shiv Kumar Batalvi

How can a moonless night
Offer anything to the full moon?
Why would a camel leave the desert,
For the ocean?

Tell me, how can the henna of good fortune
Color a hand,
If fate crushes pepper leaves
Upon ones palm?

Grief, like a cataract
Descended right into my eyes.
It is a terrible journey thru the valley of love
How can I live my life like this?

Who takes care
Of acacia flowers?
Does the gardener prune
A jujube bush?

My songs have turned bitter
From eating berries of pain.
Who can sing tender songs
With a life that feels like death.

How could I cry out
When I saw the blade move across love's neck?
The butcher had thrust
His silver knife into my throat.

The yearning to be with you
Was my destruction.
Such were the arrows of separation,
Shot by the tyranical rulers of love.

I gathered pebbles from your street
And chewed them like boiled grain.
I collected bits of straw
And held them close.

Not one dropp could I drink,
Of the pure water of love.
It became infested with worms
The moment it touched my lips.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 26, 2012



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