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Mehtab Kaur, Maharani ... at Shalimar




For International Women's Week at ... 



A great wife is still an offering

not so different from the dancing ones

I bear his children, I do not sing

and manage repose for lesser sums


I was frightened by his face

This man, a husband, disfigured thus

but stood obediently in place

and cursed my fate as most unjust


I came to know the Maharaja

a warrior, and a reverent soul

the battles for his Kingdom

would exact a princely toll


At a distance, through his laughter

cajoling with his company

or from the wings, his solemn banter,

grand pronouncements and decrees


I grew to love him, from a distance

and gained regard only if I dared

carried his children, voiced resistance

to the women that he shared


but none were quite so swift to sever

as Kaulan, lotus on the wind

her voice as soft as summer petals

as haunting as elemental sin


I saw his eye, the message sent,

her's cast freely like the dew

I am wife and Regent

but my heart was slashed in two


50 rupees for every height,

she was a bargain by any means

a voice to melt the court from sight

but every inch a chasm to me


I am the Queen, First wife to the King

I bear all that my role confides

but every time he hears her sing

the heart of a woman dies



March 13, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Harsimran Kaur  (Agra, India), March 13, 2010, 10:44 AM.

Michele, you are quickly taking on the role of the Great Chronicler of Sikh History, with your exquisite renditions of historical events and personalities. Your use of poetry to do it makes it all the more special ... unique and powerful. We are indebted to you for creating these gems!

2: Jeet Singh (Albany, New York, U.S.A.), March 15, 2010, 4:29 PM.

Found your poem most interesting. Enjoyed it, actually. Thought you took a tough and unsavoury subject and turned it into a beautiful tale, woven around historical facts. Thanks.

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