the lotus dithers

The smell of smell in participation,
In visitations by moondusk, by
Heat of sun, by heart of heart.

The breath of breath in the cave
Of cave, by heat of sun; lull in
Beat follows, should I ask now?

The cup of cull, rag of torn:
That too follows beat of beat; ask
Who but the full of red and dew?


Would a circling surface vulture
 know such depths of sky
 as the moon would know?
 would a weed on the riverbank
 know such depths of water
 as the lotus would know?

would a fly darting nearby
 know the smell of Bowers
 as the bee would know?

O lord white as jasmine
 only you would know
 the way of your devotees:
 how would these,

these
 mosquitoes
 on the buffalo's hide?

(Mahadeviyakka; translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

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