...And to New Ones


To have designs on another

Degrades oneself;

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:

Post-experience innocence.

So, O Mother, teach me how to be

Your boyfriend:

Let that be my way of winning hearts

And saving souls.

Back to Selected Poems from The Serene Flame

  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape