O Mādhava, how shall I tell you of my terror?
I could not describe my coming here
If I had a million tongues.
When I left my room and saw the darkness
I could not see the path,
There were snakes that writhed round my ankles!
I was alone, a woman; the might was so dark,
The forest so dense and gloomy,
And I had so far to go.
The rain was pouring down—which path should I take?
My feet were muddy
And burning where thorns had scratched them.
But I had the hope of seeing you, none of it mattered,
And now my terror seems far away…
When the sound of your flute reaches my ears
It compels me to leave my home, my friends,
It draws me into the dark toward you.
(I no longer count the pain of coming here,
–trans. Edward Dimock & Denise Levertov
In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali