I, Lalla - Poems of Lal Ded - Part 2

from I, Lalla - Poems of Lal Ded

translated from the Kashmiri by Ranjit Hoskote

Hermit or householder: same difference.

If you've dissolved your desires in the river of time,

you will see that the Lord is everywhere and is perfect.

As you know, so shall you be.

Some, who have closed their eyes, are wide awake.

Some, who look out at the world, are fast asleep.

Some, who bathe in sacred pools remain dirty.

Some are at home in the world but keep their hands clean.

Don't waste your wisdom on a fool

or your sugar on an ass.

Don't plant seeds in the river's sand

or pour oil on bran cakes kept for the cow.

I can scatter the battalions of southern clouds,

dry the ocean, play physician

to the most lingering fever and cure it.

But I can't knock sense into a fool.

"Perform good deeds and observe spiritual discipline. Fool, listen with gratitude.

Lovers fasten your sandals. The fool's youth slipped away unnoticed."