जेव्हा तिची नि माझी चोरून भेट झाली
झाली फुले कळ्यांची, झाडे भरास आली

दूरातल्या दिव्यांचे मणिहार मांडलेले
पाण्यात चांदण्यांचे आभाळ सांडलेले
कैफात काजव्यांची अन्‌ पालखी निघाली

केसांतल्या जुईचा तिमिरास गंध होता
श्वासातल्या लयीचा आवेग अंध होता
वेड्या समर्पणाची वेडी मिठी मिळाली

नव्हतेच शब्द तेव्हा, मौनात अर्थ सारे
स्पर्शात चंद्र होता, स्पर्शात लाख तारे
ओथंबला फुलांनी अवकाश भोवताली


Literal Translation

When her and mine stealthily meeting happened
Buds became flowers, trees became full [of blossoms]

Of the far lamps gem-neclaces arranged
In the water the sky of stars spilt
In intoxification fireflies’ palanquin goes

To the darkness was the scent of the jasmine in the hair
The momentum of the rhythm in the breathing was blind
Of the mad self-giving a mad embrace received

Then no words were, in muteness all the meanings
In touch was the moon, in touch a hundred thousand stars
Bent over by flowers the interval [space] around


This is a poem of a man’s exhilaration upon meeting his beloved away from the eye of society. The exhilaration is expressed almost entirely through over-the-top symbols from Nature. You can hear it here:

The poetic high point of the original is the reflection of the night sky, described as its spilling. In the last line, flowers are superfluous and need to be replaced by something appropriate to space evoked by the moon and stars.

This poem was particularly resistant to good translation. In this attempt (pentametric sonnet), I have stayed true to the original imagery and also tried to catch the rhythm.


Poetic Translation

When she and I met under the far canopies
Flowers flamed in passion, a prime descended on trees

Ruby-chains of distant lights arranged in perfection
The whole sky of stars spread in a pooled reflection
A palanquin of glowworms swaying in the breeze
When she and I met under the far canopies

Jasmine-scented tresses perfuming the night
Breathlessly the heart-beats racing out of sight
The rapturous embraces in rapture increase
When she and I met under the far canopies

All signals, all meanings were wordless in silence
Our touch held the moon, a million stars held our sense
Space itself was curved in an envelope of ease
When she and I met under the far canopies


9 thoughts on “Jevha

  1. Here’s a different attempt, to catch the exhiliration of the tryst:

    O! When we met
    The flowers bloomed
    The night perfumed
    A starry net
    Spread out above
    Two hearts in love
    With breaths beset
    Beneath the oak
    In silence spoke
    O! When we met

  2. Sorry don’t feel much enthused by the renderings, certainly not the second which lack the necessary mass to give value to it.

  3. I think you meant “stealthy” rather than stealthily in your literal translation?
    Here’s a shot:

    We met. Secretly.
    Buds burst into bloom
    On burdened branches.

    Distant lights. Twilight
    twinkling on shimmering water
    Fireflies of desire.

    Jasmine-scented tresses. Blind
    breathless, intoxicated
    Two bodies entwined.

    A thousand stars. Mute
    Moonlit hearts merge
    Silently, midst the infinite void.

  4. Rajeev! Excellent!

    Re “stealthily”, I was trying to capture the sense of “chorun”, “having stolen” out to meet – stealth applying to the persons and not to the meeting itself. “Furtive” could have been another choice.

  5. I was not pointing out that you chose to use stealthy(-ily) vs. furtive(-ly) etc.; rather: stealthy is an adverb, stealthy an adjective.  A meeting may be stealthy or it may happen stealthily.   “…stealthily meeting happened” seems deliberately ungrammatical; which is fine, if that’s your intent.  But the rest of the text is otherwise grammatically correct, so its stuck out.



  6. Ok, thanks. “Mine meeting” is also ungrammatical. A literally literal translation of the first line will be: “When her and mine having-stolen meeting happened”. How would you reword it to be both literal and grammatical? Perhaps: “When she and I stole away and met”.

  7. Depends upon how literal you want to be.   जेव्हा तिची नि माझी चोरून भेट झाली When she and I had our secret meeting?


  8. When she and I met, the flowers bloomed.
    The fragrance of the jasmine adorning her hair
    Lingered in the twilight of her dark tresses
    And night unfurled a pageantry of stars.
    Our racing hearts could speak no words and yet were one,
    Our touch was the sliver secret of the low crescent moon.

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