Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Spring Fever


ALR Volume 26: Winter 2014


After a painting, ‘Yogini in the forest’, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford




It had something to do with the air,

not the avocado, asparagus, oysters,

figs with almonds and honey, the dark chocolate

he had for lunch, he thought absent-mindedly


admiring a pretty young thing peering

ardently at an ethereal portrait of a female ascetic

in a forest somewhere in India, centuries past –

having renounced the world, its ecstasy, its suffering.


Both women had their hair tied back

in a tight bun on the head; one heart no longer

yearning after earthly pleasures –

the Yogini’s body is bare except for a loincloth,

plain earrings, necklace, and a prayer band.


She sits alone in splendid possession

of her inner soul, framed in a golden

halo of light, hands holding a rosary.


The stream in the foreground, adorned

with lotus flowers, leaves like inverted

emerald thalis worshipping

a pair of ducks, pecking and preening.


The five trees in the background stand

to attention, their rich foliage contained

like her wild senses; her leopard-skin seat

signifying the conquest of her animal self.


As he disrobes her in his mind – she already

clad scantily like the lady in the painting –

her boyfriend arrives. They kiss and hug hungrily.

Absorbed in each other they walk away whispering.


More Poetry

Please Register or Login

Register now for full access to News and Events, Web Exclusives, Blogs and Comments.

If you've already registered, please login.