Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
May 2021
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Wednesday, 26. July 2006

Barsaat Mahal - 1

Last night sitting under
a photo of a Ladhak Monastery
in bleak high mountain country,
you asked me about Barsaat Mahal.
You were eager to know its lines,
the levels on which it was built,
how the sun, rising over Ganga, paints it gold.
You wanted to know if it was real.

It rains in Barsaat Mahal all the while.
This is fiction of course, but then
I see Saeeda Bai in the garden
singing a raga: comparing these rain clouds
to a dark bodied god. She is weeping there
and I am weeping here. It rains in Barsaat Mahal
even as I am drinking tea. My legs on this bench
remember much younger legs dancing in Barsaat Mahal.

You want to know everything
and I want to forget everything.
The prison holding the past is Barsaat Mahal:
a roadside tea stall, four crude benches
and two of us, both alike, plotting escape.
Now I drink wine to I celebrate my seeming
escape from Barsaat Mahal, but tell me
how does one escape this sky fringed with clouds?

I too am Barsaat Mahal. Believe me when I say
it used to rain there all the while
till you interrupted the rain (or were they tears?)
when you knocked on the door of Barsaat Mahal.
You hand is calmly patting my head as I,
very attentively, fold the plans of Barsaat Mahal
into an armada of boats
and set them drifting
across the river to your shore.

2002:12:23 10:30 Atlanta
for T.F.C

Barsaat: Rain
Mahal: Palace
Saeeda Bai: a character in Vikram Seth's novel "A Suitable Boy"

Revised: 2006:07:26

My Poems

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Lovely poem! I was searching with Google a photo of Barsaat Mahal, because I'm reading "A Suitable Boy"... and I found this poem.
I guess you loved VIKRAM SETH novel. I'm enjoying it very much, but I'm still at the beginning.
Ciao from Italy!

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