Shiv Kumar Batalvi

(23 July 1936 - 7 May 1973 / Punjab / British India)

Butterflies


I catch butterflies,
I catch butterflies.

From the beautiful
Flower-scented garden
Of life, I catch
Golden-colored, blue,
Shimmering and yellow ones!
I think that if catch them all,
From the entire forest.
I will jab their butterfly wings
To their shoulder.

But whenever I try to catch them,
My heart begins to tremble
Like a branch of henna
That shivers in the breeze.
And the butterfly takes flight.

Flowers of sin, like some black sun ,
Bloom in my dreams
Their perfume-sodden fragrance
Spreading through each heartbeat.

A delicate, queenly butterfly
Comes fluttering by,
Delighted to see the flowers of sin,
She alights, intoxicated.
I, unaware, pluck all the flowers
And put them into my cloth bag.

But when I start to leave
The cloth tears,
And the butterfly takes flight.

How foolish I was to think
That I could catch a butterfly!

The cold winter of grief
Scorched my flowers of happiness.
The green vine of hope
Shed its healthy leaves.

Seeing this darkness,
They slipped back to the valley, they returned,
The red birds that had flown far to seek
Their desires.

It is the evening of life
Lotus-hearts lie asleep.
The dew drops of my life
Have spilled, some sipped
Deliciously, by the butterflies.

As the night goes by,
I think that day will surely dawn,
That once again the sun will not err,
Regarding darkness.

A milky lotus of the evening
Will bloom upon this earth again.
I hope that once again,
In that perfumed garden
I will be able to catch butterflies.

Submitted: Monday, March 26, 2012

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