Devulapalli Krishna Sastri
The Palanquin

When my love sent his palanquin for me
my heart shivered in joy.
My body, withered from our separation,
like a tree in spring.

With shaking hands
I put on my dress.
My garments of cloud.
My ornaments of dawn.

It was a happiness that burnt me.
It was a heaviness that made me light.
Whatever the feeling was
it was beyond me to bear it.

I softly walked to the palanquin and sat.
A garland among flowers in bloom

When the bearers chanted O oho,
village after village lined the streets.

As the bearers chanted O oho,
the path woke up at the edge of the village.

The bearers chanted O oho,
the stream dozed at the end of the garden.

The palanquin
is my song of love,
a vine heavy with flowers.
My palanquin
is the rainbow’s arc,
a tree
of springtime dreams.

Translated from the Telugu by Velcheru Narayana Rao.