Hymn to Her

Fully twenty-one but having never

really known a man, you were uncertain

of your response to my attentions.

Inexperienced, yet so wise,


you held my hand and said

looking straight into my eyes:

I'm fond of you, you know that, and

would like to give myself to a man...


But I don't think I'm ready yet for that.

In the ensuing stillness,

the purr of the car itself

seemed like an offence.


Your unswerving clarity took me

to a world more elemental

where a man who wants a woman

simply says so and she


either has him or no.

Now, a year later,

again it's your birthday in spring

amidst the melting snows of another continent.


I reach out to you mentally

with questions I shall never ask:

Will you have me now?

Or will you turn me down?


I get the unexpected answer

after two friendly letters:

"Don't ever try to write or get in touch.

Your letters will be returned unopened."


Still hurting from the sudden rupture

I wonder whom you're more cruel to--

the past you've so harshly denied

or the future you wish to shape anew--


are you most unfair to me or you?

As I write these lines I know that

it must be to yourself you're most unkind;

as for me, thank God (or the Muse of Love),


whether in acceptance or rejection,

the poems keep coming somehow.


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  Copyright © 2005 - Makarand Paranjape