It was not the terrible descent of Shankara
Nor the burning, wandering wildfire in the forest
Forceful, sweeping, dislocatingly powerful,
It was the vast-blowing, circling storm-wind.
She wasn’t stopping, but she was happy
She wasn’t ornamented, but she was splendid
She wasn’t a woman, but a beautiful
Flowing, meandering river on her way.
It was not the gesture of a dance
Nor the ring of the sweet ankle-bells:
Wave, wave, breaking, breaking,
The willful play of the sea at peace.
Please read the comments below for an organic discussion of this translation, or read the “finished” version of these translations here: (pdf).