On the Bank of the Ravi
|Raft in its music, in evening’s hush, the Ravi;|
But how it is with this heart, do not ask—
|Hearing in these soft cadences a prayer-call,|
Seeing all earth God’s precinct, here beside
|The margins of the onward-flowing waters|
Standing I scarcely know where I am standing.
|With palsied hand the taverner of heaven|
Has brought the cup: red wine stains evening’s skirt;
|Day’s heading caravan has made haste towards - Extinction: twilight smoulders like hot ash|
Of the sun’s funeral pyre. In solitude
|Far off, magnificent, those towers stand, where|
The flower of Mughal chivalry lies asleep;
|A legend of Time’s tyranny is that palace;|
A book, the register of days gone by;
|No mansion, but a melody of silence—|
No trees, but an unspeaking parliament.
|Swiftly across the river’s bosom glides|
A boat, the oarsman wrestling with the waves,
|A skiff light-motioned as a darting glance,|
Soon far beyond the eye’s carved boundary.
|So glides the bark of mortal life, in the ocean|
Of eternity so born, so vanishing,
|Yet never knowing what is death; for it|
May disappear from sight, but cannot perish.
Translated by: V.G. Kiernan