Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Water-ways on the Dal Lake

Dal. July.2010.

WATER-WAYS ON THE DAL LAKE

Alone I love to dream along

The Dal lake's willowy water-ways

And tune my heart to hear her song,
A song which varies with the days.


My boat pursues reflections clear
And 'twixt a tracery of leaves

Mountains of amethyst appear
Through filmy veils the 'Soft air weaves.


All nature glows and throbs delight!

I lie entranced: the atmosphere
Bathed in this shining, radiant light

Is steeped in colour soft yet clear.


When suddenly with flashing flight
A brilliant streak of purest gold

Darts swift across my waking sight,
A glimpse of living joy untold !

The golden oriole, its note

Of mellow music I can hear,
As 'neath the willow boughs I float

To catch its cadence low and clear.

Still onward ever yet we glide

Through tangled brakes of whisp'ring reed
Which their shy secrets thus confide

If only we will harkening heed.

And now my mangies* moor the boat
To this green islet's peaceful shore

An island made of weeds to float,
On which is grown a plenteous store

Of golden melons which I see
A Kashmir beldame pluck and throw

In her shikara** floating free,
Then seat herself and paddling go.

With this her trophy piled on high,
In picturesque confusion bright

Of sun-kissed, glowing fruits which lie
Reflected in the ripples light.


These little isles which like a dream
Float baseless on the Dal lake's breast

How like our human lives they seem
Mere dreams which here but fleeting rest.

I must return: the setting sun
Extends the purple shadows deep

Soft drifts of smoke, the day now done
From many homesteads circling creep.

Our paddle's splash the only sound
As stealing 'neath the shade we cling

To Takht-i-Suliman's dark mound
While silent birds swift nest-ward wing.

* Mangies=:Kashmiri boatmen,
** Shikara=Kashmiri country boat.

 ~ Muriel A.E. Brown
Chenar Leaves: Poems of Kashmir (1921)

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