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  Monsoon  
by: Sofiul Azam   

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Monsoon, thatís Kalidasaís elixir of life,
that cloud-messenger for sad hearts Ė
living apart in dry-hard lands off the coast;
yes, in this tropical heartlandís North
where at last after sunshineís steel-
hard glazes like pristine spears thrown out
into exhausted eyes with summerís heat-
waves lashing at desperate retinas,
it comes with the winds of change,
(O, isnít it that Kalidasaís clouds again?)
with cloaks of coolness on their shoulders,
ruffling sun-paled boughs of arjunas,
ketakis and kadambas, electrified
flashes of lightning and the high-pitched
rumble of raging clouds, then raindrops
sprinkling like bliss on thirsty lips,
ankle-deep dust turning into thick mud,
later the newly-wedsí hastening to bed-
chambers as in old Kalidasaís rain-soaked
days when even the season united
the separated in love-making. Then
everything you touch starts bristling
up with gleams of a new life; smoothly
comes the fragrance of monsoon
flowers that remind wayfaring husbands
of their wives back home and smells
arising out of their bodies; nicely
glitter the rain-washed trees at Northís
historical sites where people's rush was
less in midsummer though now rotten
leftovers and thick mud float into the streets,
sewage in every cityís clogged drains.
Boys & girls, letís celebrate the season,
take off what you let go dry in heartsí
chambers, forget that itís our carrot hearts
hard boiled in summerís big cauldrons:
O come and go bathe in diamonds Ė
raindrops falling soft on naked faces, arms
see your womenís lusty second skins
getting wet in rainís bliss. Come straight
away and watch flashes of thunderlight Ė
these fine tapestries done on darkening skies,
the sap of freshness rising into this life:
ah, itís the end of desertís dryness.
Wayfarers, as I watch in the lovely rains
sprouts of green grass everywhere,
maalatis creeping over rusted iron-gates,
and the rainbow dyed in heartsí hues,
the rain-trees green against clouds
Ďdangling down with the weight of waterí
like ladiesí earrings and waist-strings,
I see in my mindís eye Kalidasaís
calligraphy of clouds on the wide blue,
and hear the rainsí guttural music,
and O yes, ĎHeart, indulge your desireí
like the King in love with Sakuntala.
Oh, even if solicitorsí etiquette is fine,
their papers full of wit and cunning,
and senatorsí lapidary speeches great,
itís awful not to go out in the rain,
not wetting heartsí inveterate dryness;
my heart is on a go-slow campaign:
those sizzling hot days being at last over,
let all hearts be spiced with romance.

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