The dry bed of a lake

The dry bed of a lake
    steers the course of the
    ragged feet of the river

The stone in dregs of 
    stone of river; where it
    sinks a heart bent & dry

Where it deepens heat
    of a baked rasp of heart
    of a tender deliverance.

It was like a stream
    running into the dry bed
    of a lake,
             like rain
pouring on plants
parched to sticks.

It was like this world's pleasure
    and the way to the other,
                            both
    walking towards me.

Seeing the feet of the master,
O lord white as jasmine,
   I was made
   worthwhile.
(Mahadeviyakka; translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

When I didn’t know myself – two takes on Akka Mahadevi

When I didn't know myself
where were you?
Like the colour in the gold,
you were in me.
I saw in you,
lord white as jasmine,
the paradox of your being
in me
without showing a limb.
(Mahadeviyakka; translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

i.
Whence the limb of lost
arbitrage of love?

There dwells the price
of gold in me.

I saw you I think,
lord white as jasmine,
negotiating, settling debts
for me,
otherwise you weren’t there.

ii.
Lost in visible 
Gold present in a salient
Me, a ferocious
              mime, mine, lost.

Seeing through
Gold not being not yet
The blueprint of
              gold, dust, lost.

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)

creature of the silk noose

Like a silkworm weaving
her house with love
from her marrow,
               and dying
in her body's threads
winding tight, round
and round,
         I burn
desiring what the heart desires.

Cut through, O lord,
my heart's greed,
and show me
your way out,

O lord white as jasmine.
(Mahadeviyakka; translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

Creature of light waits on the shore of laughable possibility, mocked
Revilement of tender song that wails on as if crushed atoms and
Vaporized verse particles could pull off a less than majestic feat, a sonorous
Dissenting dis-chord that fundamentally alters silhouettes and phantasms
While soothing the wail, soothing the loss of traction nurturing a liquid hollow,
Filling the blank, restive space where creature meets creature.