June 13th, 2004

Poems from the Sanskrit

is a book of translations by John Brough. It contains an enlightening introduction as well, including most questions you were afraid to ask about Sanskirt verse forms. I was looking over it tonight, because I wanted to pick a classical Indian poem for my poetry reading July 6 at The Objectivist Center's Summer Seminar.

Brough was a professor of Sanskrit, and he has a gift for English verse as well. Surely this must be a rare combination. He was born 1917, and died 1984. You can read about him here:

http://www.oriental.cam.ac.uk/archive/brough.html

Here are a few poems from the book:

A poet who has never tasted grief
Can mourn in fiction, and obtain belief.
A man who mourns in truth has no such art
To find words for a broken heart.

(poem 112, p 81)


Lying together in the bed
They kept a sullen silence grim,
And not a word to her he said,
And she refused to speak to him.
But glances chance to interlace:
A moment's pause, and both thereafter
Forget resentment, and embrace
Dissolving in a gale of laughter.

(poem 234, p 130)


"No don't!" she says at first, while she despises
The very thought of love; then she reveals
A small desire, and passion soon arises,
Shyly at first, but in the end she yields.
With confidence then playing without measure
Love's secret game, at last no more afraid
She spreads her legs wide in her boundless pleasure.
Ah! love is lovely with a lovely maid!

(poem 168, p 114)

The book is still available. Just go to Amazon.com and look for "Sanskrit Brough." It should pop up as the second choice.

Rhyme of the day refuses to show itself, afraid that it will be outshone by the translations quoted above.