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The Lunatic

Surely, my friend, insane am I
Such is my plight.

I visualize sound.
I hear the visible.
And fragrance I taste.
And the ethereal is palpable to me.
Those things I touch--
Whose existence the world denies,
Of whose shape the world is unaware.
I see a flower in the stone--
when wavelet-softened pebbles on the water's edge,
In the moonlight,
While the enchantress of heaven is smiling unto me.
They exfoliating, mollifying,
Glistening and palpitating,
Rise before my eyes like tongueless things insane,
Like flowers,
A variety of moonbirds,
I commune with them as they do with me,
In such a language, friend,
As is never written, nor ever printed, nor ever spoken,
Unintelligible, ineffable all.
Their language laps the moonlit Ganges shore,
Ripple by ripple,
Surely, my friend, am I insane,
Such is my plight.

Clever and eloquent you are!
Your formulas are ever running correct.
But in my calculations one minus one is always one.
You work with your senses five,
With the sixth I operate.
Brains you have, my friend,
But the heart is mine.
To you a rose is but a rose,
It embodies Helen and Padmini for me.
You are strong prose,
But I am liquid poetry.
You freeze, I melt,
You decant when I go muddy.
When I am muddled, you are clear.
And just the other way about.
You have a world of solids,
Mine is one of vapour
Yours is thick and mine is thin.
You take a stone for hard reality,
I seek to catch a dream,
Just as you try to grab that cold sweet, minted coin's round reality.
Mine is a badge of thorns,
But yours is one of gold and adamant.
You call the mountains mute,
But orators do I call them.
Surely, my friend, a vein is loose in my brain.
I am insane,
Such is my plight.

In the frigid winter month,
I basked in the first white heat of the astral light.
They called me crazy.
Back from the burning-ghat,
Blank-eyed I sat for seven days,
They cast their eyes on me and called me one possessed.
Shocked by the first streak of frost on a fair lady’s tresses,
For a length of three days my sockets filled and rolled.
For the Buddha, the enlightened one, touched me in the depths,
And they called me one distraught.
When I danced to the bursting notes of the harbinger of the spring,
They called me one gone crazy.
One moonless night, all dead and still,
Annihilation choked my soul,
And up I jumped upon my feet.
And the fools of the world put me in the stocks.
I sang with the tempest one day,
And the wise-acres of the world dispatched me down to Ranchi.
And once when at full stretch I lay upon my bed,
As one but dead,
A friend of mine pinched me so sharp.
And said, "Oh mad man,
Is thy flesh now dead?"
Year by year such things did occur,
And still, my friend, I am insane,
Such is my plight.

I have called the Nawab’s wine all blood.
And the courtesans all corpses.
And the king a pauper.
I have denounced Alexander the Great.
And I have deprecated the so-called high-souled ones.
And the insignificant individual I have raised,
Up an ascending arch of praises,
Into the seventh heaven.
Your highly learned men are my big fools.
Your heaven is my hell.
Your gold, my iron.
Friend, your piety, my sin.
Where you feel yourself clever,
There, there,
I find you a stupid innocent.
Your progression is regression to me.
Such is the upsetting of values, friend,
Your universe to me is but a hair.
Surely, my friend,
I am absolutely moon-struck,
Moon-struck indeed,
Such is my plight.

I find the blind the people’s pioneers.
The cave-penancer do I find a runaway, the deserter of humanity.
And those who climb the platform of lies do I declare to be but dancers dark.
And I declare the defeated ones the splendid laurelled victors.
Advancement is retreat.
May be I am a squint
Or that I am a crack, friend,
Just but a crack.

Look at the strumpet-tongues adancing of shameless leadership!
At the breaking of the backbones of the people’s rights!
When the sparrow-headed bold prints of black lies on the papers,
Challenge the hero in me called Reason,
With conspiracy false,
Then redden hot my cheeks, my friend,
And their colour is up.
when the unsophisticated folk quaff off black poison with their ears
Taking it for ambrosia,
And that before my eyes, my friend,
Then every hair rises on end,
Like the serpent-tresses of the Gorgons,
Every one so irritated!
When I see the tiger pouncing upon the innocent deer,
Or the big fish after the smaller ones,
Then even into my corroded bones, my friend,
The terrible strength of the soul of Dadhichi--the sage,
Enters and seeks utterance.
Like a clouded day crashing down to earth in the thunderbolt,
When man regards a man as no man,
Then gnash my teeth and grind my jaws, set with the two and thirty teeth,
Like Bhimsen's teeth, the terror-striking hero's,
And then,
Rolling round my fury-reddened eyeballs,
With an inscrutable sweep,
I look at this inhuman human world
Like a tongue of fire.
The machine parts of my frame jump out of their places,
Disordered and disturbed!
My breath swells into a storm,
Distorted is my face,
My brain is in a blaze,
Like a wild conflagration.
I am infuriated like a forest fire,
Frenzied, my friend,
As one who would devour the world immense,
Surely, my friend,
I am the moonbird of the beautiful,
The iconoclast of ugliness!
The tenderly cruel!
The bird that steals the celestial fire!
The child of the tempest!
I am the wild eruption of a volcano insane!
Terror personified!
Surely, my friend,
I am a whirl-brain, whirl-brain,
And such is my plight!

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