YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

January 1999

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken
Production Editor: Pedro Sena
European Editor: Moshe Benarroch
Contributing Editors: Martin Zurla; Rita Stilli; Milan Georges Djordjevitch; Michael Collings

ISSN 1480-6401



                         IN LOVE CONDEMNED


                            FARZANA MOON


   Dear Klaus Gerken,
   Thank you so much for your kind response to post my play on your web site. 
   Truly appreciate your time and kindness.  Now, will try the introduction:
   In love Condemned is adapted from a folktale written in epic (masnavi)
   form.  This folktale was originally written by a Punjabi poet who titled
   it, Hir Ranjha.  Waris Shah was the name of this poet, between 1800-1900,
   who made this story famous in the entire continent of India.  It was
   recited by the poets and sung by the troubadours.  Later made into a movie
   in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi languages.  It is still popular, an
   unforgettable classic recorded in many languages, and viewed by millions to
   catch the essence of time and tragedy.  Hir and Ranjha are the ill-fated
   lovers of the Punjab (nascent Pakistan)  still floating on the waters of
   river Chenab to recount their tragedy.
   Later, an anonymous poet wrote:
   Saqi!  fill the oceans of Chenab with the sweet wine of Masnawi, for my
   heart yearns to embrace the Truth and Beauty of Hir, where the waters of
   grief purge my own Love.
   Thank you,
   Farzana Moon     sfdatta@cfanet.com       http://www.cfanet.com/sfdatta
   PS:  Hope, this introduction is adequate.  Doing some more research as to
   the exact date of this masnavi.  As soon as I find out, will let you know. 
   Thank you again and best wishes.
   Dear Klaus Gerken,
   Hope, you received the introduction to my play.
   Just found more information about Waris Shah (the Punjabi Poet)  who wrote
   The Romance of Hir Ranjha.  Waris Shah wrote his major works between 1736
   to 1790.  He wrote The Romance of Hir Ranjha based on 'the true account of
   two star-crossed lovers', who lived during the time when the Moghul empire
   had crumbled, paving way for the British Raj.
   If you need more information, please let me know.
   Thank you again and best wishes,
   Farzana Moon           sfdatta@cfanet.com

   FARZANA MOON        
   Ranjha:       a prince from Hazara
   Hir:          a princess from Jhang
   Malki:        Hir's mother
   Chochuk:      Hir's father
   Kaidu:        Hir's uncle
   Rajni:        Hir's maid
   Mulla Abdul:  Maulana (Muslim priest)
   ACT 1
   SCENE 1
   A spring garden in the town of Jhang.  The palace of King Chochuk
   looms large in the distance.  The garden is large, furnished with 
   streams and walkways.  Purple hyacinths, flanked by daffodils are 
   a colorful medley by the path leading toward the palace.  Under 
   one tamarind tree is suspended a small hammock.  When the curtain
   open, Ranjha is seen sleeping on the hammock.  Hir and Rajni are
   emerging out of the palace, and strolling toward the spot where 
   Ranjha lays sleeping.
   Who dares sleep on my hammock, Rajni?
   Some strange intruder, Mistress Hir. In this whole town of Jhang, I
   have never seen anyone like him!
   Then jolt him out of his rudeness, Rajni!  And hurl him down the
   stream yonder, where he can wallow in his own shame for tainting my 
   hammock with his foul presence.
   Mistress Hir?
   {Ranjha sits up, wide awake.  Rajni approaches closer toward the 
   hammock.  But Hir stands there suspended, as if stricken with shock 
   and bewilderment by the very warmth in Ranjha's eyes.  Their eyes
   are locked together.  They appear stunned and speechless, unable to 
   pluck the arrows of cupid plunged deep into their hearts.  Rajni
   takes a step back, touching her mistress on the sleeve.  Ranjha
   bounces down from his hammock in one abrupt leap.
   Pardon me.  Poverty and hunger I have suffered for long, but they
   are nothing as compared to this fire of love, which is burning my 
   very tongue to smoldering coals. 
   {Hir's lips part in a mute tremor, but no sound issues forth from there.}
   You, sir, are rude, as I just told my mistress.
               (Heedlessly, to Hir)
   This paradise is a dream...or this dream, my paradise?  You may
   banish me forever, but misery will be my hopeless exile till
   eternity.  Forever and forever, I will carry the portrait of your 
   beauty in my eyes, and the volcano of love in my heart.  Sighing like a 
   furnace, and blowing out anguished pleas to be admitted to this
   paradise once again.
   A rude stranger, indeed!  Nay, a prophet sent by the very gods in 
   heaven.  Perchance, have you seen my heart smoldering inside the 
   furnace of your sighs?
   Mistress Hir!  I promise Malki Begum we won't tarry long.
   {Hir stands there oblivious to all, but Ranjha.  Rajni watches both,
   wringing her hands under the spell of mute helplessness.}
   No, fair Eve, or is it Mistress Hir?  Even the fires of hell, I have
   the power to blow out, if your heart was in danger of smoldering.
               (Murmuring again)
   And your name, gallant stranger?
   Your slave, fair Hir, has forgotten all, even his name.
               (Her eyes flashing suddenly)
   Inconstant youth, then you will forget this too...this day and our 
   strange meeting. Begone.
   How can one ever forget the unforgettable?  Your beauty has
   splintered my memory to	wounded throbs.  And yet, the fear of
   offending you has succeeded in wrenching out my	unfortunate name.  
   Ranjha...in everlasting torment, is the name of this lowly servant of 
   Unfortunate?  Torment?  Lowly servant?  Why, Ranjha?  What
   misfortunes have brought you to Jhang?
   A great fortune, mistress Hir!  The heavenly grace itself, now that
   I stand before your	loveliness as a suppliant.
   Keep the flattering deceit to yourself, Ranjha.  And tell me of your
   misfortunes, so that I may acquaint myself with your honesty.
               (In great consternation)
   Mistress Hir.  Your parents, they will be worried if you don't get back?
               (Her eyes flashing again)
   Occupy yourself with a better task than annoying me, Rajni.  Take a
   walk, or sit by the	stream.  Don't provoke my anger, lest I banish
   you from my sight.  Speak to me only when I summon you.  Now, begone.
   {Rajni retreats slowly, her eyes pleading.  She saunters toward the
   yonder stream.}
   No flattery can win you love, fair Hir. And my misfortunes will
   invoke your mockery, if	not pity.
   Ranjha, mockery has no place in the violence of my heart.  And pity
   swims not in the ocean of curiosity.  Tell me all, so that the
   violence in my heart may be appeased.
   In obedience to your wishes then, fair Eve. My misfortunes weigh
   heavy, though.  May I sit down to unburden such a load before my
   fair audience?
   {Hir and Ranjha drift toward a bench by the flowerbed, as if 
   sleepwalking.  Ranjha lowers himself on one edge of the bench, his
   eyes pleading with Hir. Hir seats herself at the other end, mutely
   and thoughtfully.  Both are silent.  Rajni stops in her act of
   pacing.  Her glance is wild and apprehensive as she steals a look at
   both the lovers.
               (Gazes searchingly into the eyes of Ranjha)
   Where do you live?
   Inside the paradise of my dreams.
   Where do they take you?
   Into my soul, where your beauty lights the way.
   Where do you stand in there?
   Inside my very soul, where the light of your beauty annihilates me.
   Then I am lost! 
   You are twice renewed and twice blessed in the humble abode of yours
   where you are lost.
   Where is your home, Ranjha, I must know?
   If you must, sweet Hir, then the trail of my misfortunes will hurl
   me back to the town of Hazara.
   Hazara!  So far?  How long have you journeyed?  Why, Ranjha?
   The fame of your beauty summoned me to this paradise, Hir.
   My beauty will rain arrows of rage, Ranjha, if you don't tell me the truth.
   The truth is, fair Hir, I have no home.
   No home!  Where are your parents?
   My mother died when I was a child of two.  And now my father, after
   twenty years of	loving and caring, chose to join my mother.
   Abandoning me to my own fate in grief and loneliness.
   Don't you have any brothers or sisters?
   Eight brothers!  All drunk with the wine of greed and arrogance.
   Then you do have a home?
   They all drove me to exile.
   To despair, then.  And into the very pit of misery and wretchedness.
   My father had great	riches and great lands.  After my father's
   death, my brothers divided the lands, bestowing	all the riches on
   their wives.  A barren patch of land was my only share.  I was too
   grief-stricken to notice this injustice at that time.  Didn't know, 
   more misfortunes were in store for me.  My sisters-in-law were quick
   to sow the seeds of hatred against me to my brothers.  They were the
   ones who forced me to leave Hazara, telling me to earn my living 
   somewhere else.  So, I left.
               (With a tender solicitude)
   Where did you go?
               (Reminiscing profoundly)
   Me and my flute wandered aimlessly on the deserted alleyways for a while.
               (Takes the flute out of his pocket, and watches it wistfully)
                   RANJHA (continued)
   In my wanderings, I discovered a mosque, and abandoned myself on its
   staircase.  I thought I was all alone, but then the people started 
   gathering around me.  I was playing my flute and they were moved by 
   its sweet notes.  All of a sudden one maulvi appeared with daggers
   of rage shining in his eyes.  I begged him for a place to stay, but
   he wouldn't	listen.  He flew into an unkind and violent tirade, 
   commanding me to leave and not ever to set foot in that village
   again.  So, me and my flute went wandering again.
   Why was he unkind?
   He told me that making music is evil, and that my music has
   bewitched the villagers.
   Where did you go?
   Toward the sea and the storm, wherever my feet would take me.  There
   was a boat moored on the shore.  I begged for a ride, but they
   wouldn't let me board, for I couldn't pay.  Overwhelmed with
   despair, not knowing where I was, or what I was doing, I flung
   myself on the sand and began playing my flute.  Didn't know, my 
   gaze was riveted to the boat, though misery and longing were in my 
   heart.  Something inside me was snapping and twisting.  I could feel
   a volcano of grief right inside the pit of my stomach.  I wanted
   to end my life.  Without a care or a thought I jumped into the sea, 
   clutching my flute to my breast.  A couple of boatmen dived after me
   with the speed of lightning, got hold of me, and tossed me into the 
   boat.  They were upbraiding me for my folly, and asking me why I
   wanted to kill myself.  The rest of the journey was uneventful.
   They turned to be kind hosts, urging me to play on my flute, and
   feeding me dates and dried mutton, which they had plenty to spare 
   and waste.  When the boat docked at the shore, they all went 
   home jauntily.  I went wandering again, and came upon this garden.  
   This hammock...very tempting, I must be sleep-walking, and fell
   asleep, dreaming dreams.  Another dream, I am sitting with a houri
   of the paradise?
               (Lamenting aloud, as if to herself)
   And no home, no home!
               (Gazing ardently into her eyes)
   Jhang is my home now.  I will find work here.  I will work here all
   my life, to stay close to you...to hear your voice, to look into
   your beautiful eyes.  This will be my home...it's my heaven.
   Where will you find work?  How will you...how can I endure?
               (In her confusion and bewilderment she doesn't notice
               warmth and ardor in Ranjha's eyes.)
                   HIR (Continued)
   My father is a king, and rich beyond measure.  He will give you
   work.  Then you can be near...
               (A sudden flush washes over her cheeks)
   My poverty does not dare, or even hope to share the wealth of your
   beauty.  My desire alone are my riches.  Without food I can live.  
   Without you, I will perish.
   Oh, Ranjha, say no more.  My own heart is smitten.  What's wrong
   with me...I hear thunder?  The bolts of lightning, in my very head?
   Play your flute, Ranjha, let me catch the sweet notes of living in 
   this dream.  I want to know...could I be more bewitched than 
   this?  Will this feeling of misery and sadness go away?
   The only witchcraft I see is in your beautiful eyes, sweet Hir. I
   hear it too, in your voice,	my sweet, if I may be as bold as to
   utter such heresies.  We are destined to be together, love!  Sweet 
   fate robbed me of my home and riches, so that it could show me the 
   reward of a precious treasure which would never be purchased, but 
   conquered with love.  And to be cherished, of course, inside the
   holy of holies, inside my very heart.  Your heart is longing for
   songs, I know, and my own is dying to sing?  To sing the paeans of
   love, beauty, surrender.
               (Begins to play the flute)
   {A sudden hush pervades the garden.  The air itself holding its
   breath, as if drunk by the dulcet notes from Ranjha's flute.  Hir
   sits there mute and rapt.  Rajni in her act of getting up, slumps 
   down again, stricken with awe and rapture.  Kaidu is seen lumbering 
   along in the distance.  He halts briefly, scratching his left stump 
   of a leg with his walking stick, and balancing his weight on the
   good one.  His gaze sweeping over the entire garden espies the
   lovers, and he hobbles toward them, not in the least affected by the
   hush and the enchantment all around.}
               (Gouging the earth with his walking stick before he
               could reach	any closer.)
   So, here is that evil troubadour again!  That sorcerer.  That's how
   you enchant innocent people with your music and sorcery?  You, you, 
   demented lout!  Begging alms.  Bewitching the poor, honest folks
   with your diabolical flute.  With your heathen music, you enchant 
   everyone with such skill that feed your furnace belly with all the 
   victuals they have, not even caring if their children go hungry.
               (Leaping to her feet, her eyes flashing)
   Uncle Kaidu!
               (Softly, to Kaidu)
   Never in my entire life have I begged alms from others.  Eating
   only, what is given to me voluntarily.  Returning the rest to the 
   kind hosts, what I couldn't eat.
               (Unheeding Ranjha, and venting his rage on Hir)
   And you, my pretty niece, how dare you sit with this beggar?  Alone 
   and uncheperoned?
               (Incensed beyond reason)
   I am not alone, uncle Kaidu, not alone!  The birds and the trees are
   with me, to protect me from your evil eye and from the wickedness in
   your heart.  And I am not unchaperoned. Where is...
               (Her flashing eyes turn toward the stream)
                   HIR  (Continued)
   Rajni, come here.  Why didn't you tell me, that my prying bully of
   an uncle was coming?
               (Walking toward her mistress in a daze)
   Mistress Hir.  Your yourself told me...
               (Wild and raving)
   Wait, young rebel, wait.  Wait till your parents hear about it!
   What rudeness?  Your impudence will win you no husbands.  Get you 
   gone into the house.  I myself will deal with this deceiving lout.
               (Choked with rage and tears)
   You have no right to treat a noble, young man with insults.
               (In pleading tone, to Kaidu)
   The fault is mine, sir.  Please spare the innocent maiden.  I will leave.
               (Weeping with tears of shame and bitterness)
   Leave!  You cannot leave, Ranjha, you cannot.  I will atone for
   these insults, I will!
               (Turning to her uncle, her eyes flashing)
                   HIR  (Continued)
   You have no shame, uncle, no shame.  Why do you live with us?  Why
   don't you go away somewhere?  Why do you torment all who have never
   been unkind to you?  My parents are kind, loving...you can't repay 
   their kindness'.
   Oh, what a scandal?  You will taint the good name of your family, of
   your great ancestors.  Our family is proud and honorable.  Virtuous 
   and unapproachable.  And look at you, raving and weeping like...
   {Malki and Chochuk arrayed in colorful fineries are seen approaching
   this maudlin scene.  Kaidu is the first one to notice, his speech 
   truncated, his face flushed.  Ranjha sits there in wretched misery.
   Rajni touches Hir's sleeve bashfully, trying to draw her attention
   toward her parents.
   What is this, Kaidu?  Tormenting my daughter again?  How many times
   I have to warn you?
               (Falls sobbingly into her mother's arms)
   Hush, my princess, hush.
   She will bring disgrace to your family, Chouchuk, I warn you.
   Sitting here with a stranger, whispering and...
               (Interrupting with an impatient wave of his arm)
   Mend your speech, Kaidu, or I will make you swallow your tongue.
   Malign not virtue with your evil thoughts.  Go, efface yourself, or 
   sit down on that bench.  I will deal with the stranger myself.
               (Discomfited and muttering)
   I will not sit close to that lowly beggar.
               (Easing himself up slowly)
   This lowly beggar relinquishes this seat to you most humbly.
               (To Kaidu)
   Lame excuses come easy to you, being lame of body and soul.
   {Kaidu hobbles to the bench, wearing hauteur on his shoulders.  He
   seats himself reluctantly, seething with rage and hatred}
               (To Rajni)
   Take the princess inside.  Attend to all her needs, and devise some
   means to soothe her.
   Yes, Malki Begum.
               (She abandons the comfort of her mother's arms with a 
               sudden violence, and faces her father)
   Papa.  All these lies?  Make Kaidu uncle go away.
   Calm yourself, my sweet princess.  No more of these tears.  He will
   be sent away, if your mother allows it.
               (To Hir)
   Don't you forget, my sweet, he is my brother.  Much like your own
   brothers, whom you love and adore, I am sure.
               (Lifting her tearstreaked face to her mother)
               (To Ranjha)
   What's your name, young man?  And what brought you here?
               (Bowing his head)
   Your servant, sir, is Ranjha.  My...
               (Turning wildly to her father)
   Ranjha, Papa, is no beggar.  His brothers banished him.  He has been
   wandering, came here by chance...fell asleep in my hammock and then...
               (Commanding Hir to silence)
   Permit your father, my pretty child, to speak with the young man.
   Yes, Papa.
               (Returns to her mother, mute and obedient)
               (To Rajni)
   Go, lay the table for tea.  Tell the cooks to brew it very strong, I
   want to drink by the teapots.
   {Rajni obeys promptly.  Kaidu sits there sullen, his eyes smoldering
   with disgust and helplessness}
   Now, Ranjha, what's the real story?  How you came to Jhang, tell us
   simply and briefly.  I can't endure details or profusion.  Besides, 
   teatime is a ritual with me, and I rarely delay it, unless it is 
   absolutely necessary.
   I am from the village of Hazara, sir.  Have lived there all my life.
   After my father died, my brothers robbed me of my inheritance, since
   I am the youngest.  They gave me a barren strip of land, though.  I 
   tilled and ploughed, but in vain.  If that was not enough, my 
   sisters-in-law came everyday to mock and laugh, seeing me pant and
   sweat.  One day, I lost my patience.  Wearied with grief and
   exhaustion, I told them to leave me alone. They went away, but told 
   my brothers that I had insulted them.  Next day, my brothers  came 
   simmering with rage, and demanded that I leave Hazara.  I had no
   place to go, so I wandered and wandered aimlessly.  Not knowing what
   to do, or where to go.  This morning, I found myself in this town...
   this garden...this hammock?  Don't know how long I slept, or when I 
   fell asleep?
               (Murmuring aloud)
   Shameless lies.
   Your late father, what's his name?
   The same as mine, your servant's, sir.
   Ah, King Ranjha?  We exchanged letters long time ago.  Didn't he
   have eight sons, yes!  I must write to your brothers, the justice
   must be done.
   Oh, and his lovely wife.  We grew up together.
               (Spitting on the ground)
   Oh, hideous fates!
   Papa!  He has no home, no work.  Where will he go?  Could you find 
   something for him to do, please?
   My lovely daughter and the beloved princess, always the kind, loving
   philanthropist?  There is a possibility, your father the king might
   have use for him?  Our cattle is breeding and multiplying, we always
   need a shepherd.
               (Turning to Ranjha, thoughtfully)
                   CHOCHUK  (Continued)
   Would you consider tending the flock; considering, you were born in 
               (Murmuring to herself)
   How unfortunate?
   After all these hardships, Sir, I can even sleep with the cattle.
   And he will charm the cows and the sheep with his sorcery too!
   Break his flute, Chochuk, before you even think of employing him in 
   your service.
               (Ignoring Kaidu)
   So, you play flute, Ranjha?  Musicians are always welcome in our
   court.  Entertain us a bit with your flute.  I will be the only
   judge as to your lack of skill, or to your accomplishment.
               (Bashfully, to Ranjha)
   Will you play the same tune, Ranjha?
   {Ranjha begins to play, affirming Hir's request with his gaze alone.
   Before he could charm his audience, Mulla Abdul enters the garden
   with the speed of a hurricane. Approaching closer, he throws up his 
   hands in the air in a gesture of utter hopelessness}
               (Waving a fist before Ranjha)
   Oh, here is that ragged ruffian again!  I don't have to see horns on
   your head to know that you are the devil incarnate.  How you became
   the king's jester here, is beyond me?  Don't give me that besotted
   look, young man?  Our Rajah Chochuk here is the king of Jhang.
   And the king of Jhang, Abdul, commands you to cease this tirade.
               (A strident laughter trembling on his lips)
   Ah, the charms of sorcery.  I forgot to warn you, Chochuk, that this
   evil baggage will corrupt your house, if you decide to keep him here.
   I beg you, king Chochuk, pay heed to your pious maulvi.  This
   heathen here has no fear of God. He is all evil, bewitching all with
   his magic flute.  Black magic!  Blackness of heart!  Ask him, ask
   him, king Chochuk?  How he cast the spell over the pious men of my 
   whole congregation!  They sat listening to his music with tears in 
   their eyes, as if their hearts were breaking.
               (Exclaiming wildly)
   Mulla Abdul is lying, Papa, he is lying.
               (With a gentle reprimand)
   Bite your tongue, sweet child.  Have you lost your senses?
               (To Ranjha)
   Are these accusations true?
   There is no magic in my flute, and no evil in my heart, king
   Chochuk.  I woo and worship God through music.  Music is my soul, my
   sole art.  And all art is beautiful.  Music and beauty throbs in the
   very heart of nature.  And to reach God through music is the purest,
   gentlest way.  Maybe, Mulla Abdul seeks the love of God too, but in 
   a different way?
               (To Chochuk, protestations shining in his eyes)
   Now, he is accusing me of levity!  And of ignorance and wickedness?
   This Godless serpent of evil!
   You will gain wisdom, Abdul, if you can succeed in breeding love for
   mankind in your heart.
   So, you too have tasted poison from the evil lips of this serpent,
   king Chochuk!  I should have hurled him into some gutter, instead of
   throwing him out of my mosque?  Down there, his foul breath would
   have lost the power to corrupt this earth, forever mingled with the 
   foulness in death.
   And the gutter of inequity in all of us!  Could it ever save us from
   the corruptions in our own souls?
   Dear husband, offend not the learned Mulla with your sufic thoughts!
               (Chuckling to himself)
   The curse, the curse!  We would all become heretics, if this
   handsome pagan stayed with us.
               (Heedless to others, exclaiming incredulously)
   You threw him out of the mosque?
   If I didn't, he would have worked his evil spells inside the
   sanctuary of God too!  Defiling the holiness within, and striking
   the very walls with the demonic chants of music from his flute.
               (Murmuring in great misery)
   All I wanted to do was to snatch a few hours of sleep inside the
   four walls of God's protection.  The night was cold.
               (Prophetically, to Abdul)
   Do you know Mulla Abdul, perdition is allotted to those who deny
   shelter to the hungry and the homeless.
               (Pleading suddenly)
   Papa, please, let's go inside.  Mulla Abdul frightens me.
               (With a quick reprimand)
   Sweet princess, where are your manners?  Speaking thus of a pious man?
               (With a desperate gesture of his arm)
   And you, young princess, should be repenting of your sins, the sins
   of youth and impudence and heedlessness.  Run along, dear child.
   Escape the wickedness, which is a great temptation to us all.  Find 
   comfort inside the palace walls, and shun the shadow of evil.
   Purge your heart with the waters of your own false piety, Abdul, and
   dare not impute any sins to my chaste daughter!
   {Abdul stands there stunned, blinking away haze and stupefaction.  
   Chochuk's eyes are fixed on him with inimical intensity}
   Dear husband, you will provoke the anger of God on your very
   kingdom, if you do not relent.
   Papa has done nothing wrong, Mamma?
               (Adjusting his cane to heave himself up)
   I can smell the odor of misfortunes all around me.
   Now that you have sprayed my garden with the venom of your spite and
   hatred, you have no right to stay here.  Begone, I say.
   Before I go, king Chochuk, may I take this heathen with me?  He is
   an evil nightmare to all sight, and must be chastised?
   Are you deaf, Abdul?  Haven't you heard me?  Begone, I said.  This 
   young man has found favor in my sight, and I have employed him.
               (Flushed and incredulous)
   You have employed...king Chochuk, this beggar?  Why, I beg?
   This beggar, as you call him, is the son of a king!
   The son of a king?
   And he is humble.
   The virtue of humility.  Have you ever heard of it?
   {Abdul is speechless, his gaze bright and smoldering}
   No!  How can anyone hear about it, it has to be experienced?
   I beg you, king Chochuk, I beg?  Evil and darkness will visit you, if...
   Begone!  Begone!
   You will need me.  Yes, you will?  Oh, misfortunes all?
   I will summon you, when God's own justice will banish you from the 
   merciful heavens on this earth and beyond.
   {Abdul retreats under some spell of daze and disbelief.  Kaidu limps
   closer to Chochuk.}
   You are tempting the fates and courting misfortunes, Chochuk, I tell
   Begone!  Efface yourself from my sight, lest my anger is kindled to 
   unreason.  I have a mind to break your good leg, just to see if you
   can learn to crawl under the weight of your own greed and mendacity.
               (Hobbling away)
   May you suffer the tortures of the damned.
   Now, my good wife and beloved princess, I advise you to leave us.  I
   need to speak with Ranjha alone.
   May God protect us from all evil.
               (To Hir)
   Come, sweet princess.
   No evil lurks over our shoulders, Malki.  What a strange prayer.
   Coming from your lips, I mean?  The false piety of Abdul is not
   rubbed on you, I hope?
               (Dragging Hir along)
   No, dear husband, no!  But some dark forebodings are constricting my
   heart.  You did tempt the fates by offending Abdul...and my brother!
   {Both Hir and Malki follow the path toward the palace gates}
   Come, Ranjha, take a stroll with me.  We must crush the webs of
   fates under our feet, and unearth a few mysteries.
   {Both Ranjha and Chochuk start promenading side by side}
   Mysteries of the mysterious fates, king Chochuk, are locked behind 
   the portals of our little perceptions.
   With a sufi as my companion, I will be exiled into the Eden of sin
   and contemplation. What misfortunes have landed a curse on you that 
   you are accused of the most hated of demons before the sight of my
   kin and mulla?
   Fortunes are lurking behind me to smile, king Chochuk, if I can but 
   kiss the dust  under your feet.
   Flatterer and a sorcerer indeed!  What great merits of mine have
   raised me so high in your sufic esteem?
   Your benevolence, for one, king Chochuk.  And your compassion toward
   a lowly and the most sinful of creatures like me.
   Lowly!  The son of a king?  Sinful in what respect?  And what sins
   have you committed so far?
   The sin of coveting your friendship, of admiring beauty, of
   longing...to know God.
   And I, no less a sinner than you, then?
   You, a sinner and a prophet both, king Chochuk.
   How do you mean?
   The prophecy of noble living in your eyes, king Chochuk.  Who can
   miss to see that light?
   And what other prophecies do you divine in there?
   The stairway to wisdom.
   Not the enlightened heart?
   The will inviolate.
   And you can't see the burden of cares and doubts on my shoulders?
   Only the scepter of resolve and fortitude.
               (Stopping near the placid stream, and facing Ranjha)
   O, inexperienced youth!  Even the sages cannot penetrate the
   darkness' in their souls, save alone perceive the burdens weighing 
   down the shoulders of all the living, suffering men.  Well, my heart
   is yearning for that divine music, which mulla interrupted with his
   rude intrusion, rather invasion.  Play the flute for me, Ranjha.  My
   heart is heavy for some nameless reason?
   {Ranjha begins to play.  Chochuk stands there rapt and unthinking.  
   Oblivious even to the gentle approach of Hir, who had returned to
   fetch them for tea.  Even before Hir could approach her father, he 
   begins to retrace his steps toward the palace in some sort of daze.  
   After he disappears behind the massive doors, Hir slips closer to 
   Ranjha, facing him.  Ranjha keeps playing, the candles of love and 
   longing in his eyes flaring and flickering.  Suddenly, the flute
   slips from his hands, and falls on the ground noiselessly.  Their
   eyes are locked and they stand there gazing at each other like the 
   lovers united after centuries of wait.}
   My dream!  How blessed is this dream.  Say, that you will never
   leave me?
   Ranjha, Mamma is inviting you for tea.
   How can I swallow even one drop, when I am drunk with the wine from
   your beautiful eyes.
   We must go, Ranjha.  The longings in your eyes, I can't...
   I was talking about my sins with your father, my Beloved Hir, and 
   couldn't voice my thoughts, as my longing for love?  I can't explain
   this love, it's like the skies and the heavens.  I only know that I
   do love you, completely and absolutely, with the absolute surrender 
   of a devotee to its lord.  Like one loves God, praying and worshipping.  
   Longing for that bliss in Union, which no mortals could ever dare
   hope for!
   Ranjha, please, words are choking inside me.  Let's go, my
   heart...even my lips are trembling.
   And my heart too!  Holy are the kisses which are dying to meet your
   lips.  Silence is the language of the lovers, and our thundering
   hearts the orchestra of love.
   {Kisses Hir, folding her into his arms in one eager embrace.}
                   The Curtain
                   ACT TWO
   SCENE 1
   The same garden as in Act One. Hir and Ranjha are strolling side by
   We have been engaged a whole year, my love, and your parents still
   refuse to set a date for our wedding.
   You are so impatient, Ranjha.  This one year has been a like a day
   to me.  The same blessed day when you stole my heart.
   And you have stolen both my heart and my soul.  You did, my pretty
   thief, you did.  Only the nights are long and tortured with
   longings, when I don't see you beside me.
   And mine short and filled with bliss by your presence, in my thoughts.
   With my heart and soul in your captivity, how could they be
   otherwise!  My heart and soul, your devoted worshipers, lulling you
   to sleep.
   I lay awake at nights, Ranjha.  Moonlit nights longest than the
   darkest days when I don't see you.
   Now, you forswear your own truth, my sweet?
   You don't believe me, Ranjha?
   Your words are holy, my love.  Holier than the loveliest of shrines
   in your eyes, which light the way to Truth.  How can I doubt then?  
   Tormented as I am by the mute agony of your confessions, my own
   torment finds a little solace to meet your longings.
   Not longings, Ranjha, fears!
   Ah, unfortunate me!  What fears crave your attentions?
   Only one fear, Ranjha, that we will be torn apart by the cruel hands
   of some dark fate.
   Remember, sweet, Fate has brought me to you!  Fate smiles upon us.
   We are destined to be together.  It was decreed by the pen of
   ageless time, even before time itself could speak.
   You are right, Ranjha, my parents are postponing our wedding, and on
   What purpose?
   Kaidu uncle is planting seeds of doubts in their hearts.
   What doubts, sweet Hir?
   They have started to think you are not good enough for me.  Yes, my 
   parents are thinking of an alliance, a rich family.  I can tell, I
   have heard them saying that they have found a worthy prince for
   their daughter.
   You are my betroth, love.  How can your parents go back on their word?
   You don't know my parents, Ranjha?  They would sacrifice the love of
   their sons and daughters, if new kingdoms came their way to be ruled
   and subjugated.
   I have a kingdom of my own.  My brothers, since they found out I am
   engaged to you, have relented.  They are offering me home and lands,
   they want us to live there.
   Ranjha, have you not noticed a cavalcade of guests coming and going
   since the past few months?
   How can I sweet Hir, when my soul and senses are drunk with the wine
   of your beauty?
   Those guests, Ranjha, have young sons.  All of them suing for my
   hand, it seems.
   And you will leave me buried under the mountains of grief and
   desolation, Hir?
   I would rather be buried alive, Ranjha, than go anywhere without you.
   Why are we talking such absurdities, love?  What has come over us?
   The whispering and the plotting?
   What whispering and plotting?
   My uncle and my parents?  I heard the name of a wealthy family by
   the name of Khairas...and their son Saida.  They are planning to
   marry me off to him.
   I will kill any man who lays any claim on you, sweet Hir.
   I am afraid, Ranjha, afraid.  They will kill you.
   I can avert the assault of both fate and death, as long as I know
   you love me.
   I am afraid, I am afraid.
   What do you fear, love?
   That we would be separated.
   Then, let's elope.
   My heart!  How can I live to shame my parents, thus?
   They can't force you to marry someone you don't love.
   Cruel and heartless, I have known them to be, when it comes to
   wealth and prestige.  They will banish you, just like your brothers
   Why are we talking like this, love?  What dark spell is gnawing at
   your heart?  Look at those flowers, and the clear, blue skies!  And 
   our love, young and blooming, everlastingly?  Inside the eternal
   springs of our own hearts.  Let's talk about something else.
   My dreams!  The dark, abysmal voids of hopelessness?
   Come, sweet, no more of it.  No evil is lurking behind us.  What is
   it, love?
   I will be forced to marry someone, the dark, hideous dream?  I am dead 
   in that dream too, watching you die...darkness and darkness.
   My dreams are bright and luminous, love.  And they have the power to 
   dissolve the darkness' in yours.  My dreams, they are radiant as the 
   heavens.  I carry you to the moon in a chariot of stars.  Perfume and 
   paradise, and the scent of your beauty!
   Only, if uncle Kaidu will go away?  The glint of mockery in his eyes.  
   And Mulla Abdul, he had been visiting my parents day and night.  The 
   odor of piety and disdain around him, I can't endure it.
   Dreams, love, and illusions.  Have no fear, you are mine, mine, mine!  
   Where would you like to go after we are married?
   To the moon, in a chariot of stars.
   I would harness the moon, and it would bring the stars to me.  You would 
   live in a palace of twinkling stars.
   What's happening to me, Ranjha?  I have never felt like this before?  As 
   if, as if this beautiful day is going to turn into the blackest of sorrows.
   Someone has cast a spell over you.  Kaidu!  I will break his other leg, 
   and his neck too?
   No spell, Ranjha, no.  But all this whispering and plotting?  Visitors coming in 
   droves. Aunts wagging their tongues.  My nerves are breaking.
   I would talk to your parents about the wedding, this very day.
   They won't listen.
   Because, to them, you are another shepherd, they have already begun to 
   think in those terms.  I myself have heard them say such things.
   It doesn't matter what they say, my sweet.  They have to listen to me, 
   you are my betroth.
   Before my parents, even a bridegroom will get tongue-tied as if fates 
   stand against him.
   What fates, Hir?  We are fated to be together.  It was written by the 
   pen of destiny itself.
               (Laughing suddenly)
   So you can predict fortunes and the future, Ranjha?  Why does my heart, 
   then...breathes misfortunes...
   {Rajni steals upon them unnoticed.  When she speaks, both Hir and Ranjha 
   are startled.}
   Mistress Hir, your mother has sent me to fetch you.  Quickly, she has 
   What's the hurry?  I just got here.  Not dinner time yet, is it?  Too 
   early for that?
   No, Mistress.  Your mother is summoning Ranjha too.  She, they, your 
   parents want to talk to you both.
   Fortunate me!  I was thinking of talking to them myself.
   Are my aunts gone?
   Yes, Mistress.  They left not too long ago.
   Good.  So, no one else is with my parents right now.
   Abdul and your uncle.  I saw them talking to your parents before I left.
   Oh, Lucifer and Mephistopheles together!  How I hate them both!
   That pious man, Abdul!  Don't be hard on him, sweet Hir.  And your uncle, 
   he is not that evil?
   Pious, that mulla?  He wears false piety on his sleeves, and hides 
   poisoned arrows in his cloak.  Gloating over his wickedness in finding 
   innocent victims, when he can torture them all with malicious glee as 
   his weapons.  And as to my uncle, he is not only evil, but corrupt in 
   body and soul.  And you know it too!  Didn't you want to break his leg, 
   and his neck too?
   God have mercy on us.
   {Rajni retraces her steps toward the palace, almost running.  Hir and 
   Ranjha watch her apprehensively.}
   We must follow her, Ranjha.  Or, she too might speak evil of us.
   I have been dying to talk to your parents.
   {Hir and Ranjha walk toward the palace, and are seen entering a large 
   parlor with scanty furniture.  Malki is lolling against one satiny pillow 
   on a large davenport.  Chochuk is pacing slowly and deliberately.  Kaidu 
   is nursing his leg, while luxuriating in a low chair. Seated next to him 
   is Abdul, austere and thoughtful.  They are aware of Hir and Ranjha, 
   but none speak.}
               (To Chochuk)
   A man cannot wait for the consecration of his love till judgment day, 
   sir.  I humbly request that a wedding date to be set soon, so that we 
   can begun our married life with your blessings.
   Blessings, Ranjha!  Curses, the more appropriate word as it stands.  You 
   have forfeited the right to this holy wedlock by your unlawful conduct.  
   By dragging my daughter into the fields and...too scandalous for 
   Papa!  What has come over you?  How can you believe in such ugly lies?  
   Mamma, she is the one who tells me to take lunch to Ranjha in the fields.
   And I thought, sir, you loved me like a father!  A father, who loves his 
   long lost child with more than he bestows on others?
   You were dearer to me than a son, until you revealed your evil nature.
   This match has been evil since the beginning.  Tongues wagging, and our 
   relatives blaming us for pushing our princess into the very pits of mud 
   and poverty.
   A king's daughter cannot wed a shepherd!  A lowly man with no means?  
   Hired help with no manners?
   To agree to this union is below the dignity of our king, and he belonging 
   to the most illustrious of families, Sail!  How can anyone forget that?  
   The difference between our king's family and Ranjha's is like the sky and 
   the earth.
   What's happening?  Can someone tell me?  Papa, Mamma!  Why is everyone 
   insulting Ranjha so?
               (Murmuring to himself)
   This family!  All kindness' are fled from them like the drifting mists.
   Ranjha is without provisions, Hir, and it is not a good match for you.  
   Let the matter rest at that.  To avoid our shame and to protect the honor 
   of our family's name, we should never speak about it.
   Condemned by love, am I going to burn in the everlasting fires of this 
   hell forever?
   Can the dust ever reach to the Moon?
   Rest that matter, Mamma, how?  I am his betroth.  Love has no eyes, no 
   ears.  It sees no shame, hears no evil.
   Evil is in your tongue, child.  Have you no shame?  Talking of love like 
   the daughter of some peasant, and you, the daughter of a king?
   Papa!  Tell me, what's happening?  I will go mad!
   You are mad, daughter, raving mad!  We cannot fight with our fates.
   Fates!  Fates have decreed Hir to be my wife.  I too don't understand?  
   Will someone tell us?
   Nothing to tell.  You are banished, Ranjha.  We don't need your services 
   Papa!  What are you saying?
   Banished?  Like my brothers did?  Hir is my betroth.  I will take her with 
   You are no more her betroth than she is yours.
   No more betroth?  Will I ever wake up from this nightmare?
   What does this all mean?  My head is spinning?
   This means, daughter, that your father has pledged you to the Khairas.  
   You are to be wedded to the most wealthiest and the most handsomest of 
   men.  Saida is the name of your lucky bridegroom.
   The mountains are crashing on my head.
   Pledge!  I am roasting alive in the fires of hell.  You pledged Hir to me, 
   sir!  How can you break that pledge honorably?
   That pledge was erected on false foundations.  Those foundations have come 
   crumbling down, now that your brothers refuse to share any of their riches 
   or kingdoms with you.
   Didn't I always say, he is a lout and a vagrant.
   Living on the crumbs of hopes and enjoying the generosity of the rich, 
   I said that from the beginning.
   My brothers!  They are giving back my kingdom, as soon as we are married.
   It's impossible to break the pledge now.  Chochuk has given his word to 
   the Khairas, and he will stick to it till his death.
   I will not marry anyone but Ranjha.  If the Khairas come to marry me off 
   to their son, I will tell them everything...our love, our engagement.
   What impudence, my princess?  I would rather bury you alive, than permit 
   you the liberty of displaying your rudeness and madness.
   I am doomed!  If I can't stay close to Hir, I will surely die.
   What happened to your love for your daughter, Papa?  How cruel and 
   heartless?  I would rather die than marry Saida.  I love Ranjha.
   Love has nothing to do with marriage, princess.  Ask your mother?  
   Wisdom lies in obeying your parents.
   Love comes after the marriage, not before.  Love doesn't feed you, 
   riches do.
   The whole world lives on love.  Even the animals understand it, though 
   no words are neccessary to convey its bliss.
   I am old enough to know about love and marriage.  And I will not marry 
   Saida, for you promised me to Ranjha.
   It's the devil speaking through your tongue, Hir.  You need to learn 
   to obey your parents.
   Even the devil has been kind to you, uncle.  Only breaking your leg, 
   not pulling your tongue out?
   Stop that rudeness, princess.  Now!
   Parent's place is next to God.  Parents have rights over their children, 
   Hir.  If you do not obey your parents, you will choose hell for yourself. 
   Have you read your Quran, Mulla Abdul?  If a girl doesn't wish to marry 
   a person chosen by her parents, she has the right to marry someone else 
   she chooses.
   O, child, fear from God's anger.  Escape from the tortures in the grave.  
   Do not burn your youth in love.  Take refuge from sin.
   O, sinful Mulla, the fires of hell breathe through your lips.  Leave 
   this house, or I will claw your eyes out?
   Princess!  Cease this madness, at once!  Go to your chamber, and dare 
   not leave until I command.
               (Running to Ranjha)
   Ranjha, help me.  Take me away.  I will never leave you.
   Oh, shameless child!  My own daughter, acting like a hussy?
               (Snatching Hir away from Ranjha's arms)
   Begone, I say.  Rajni, take your mistress away.
   Evil is visiting this palace.  It will not leave us, until Ranjha leaves.
               (Declaring aloud)
   Evil is in the air.  Hir is possessed by the demons.
   {Rajni edges closer flustered.  Hir falls into her arms, weeping.}
   Rajni, help me.  My parents are turned against me.  I see daggers in 
   their eyes.  My heart is bleeding.
   Leave this house, Ranjha, or I will have you thrown out.  And never dare 
   to set foot in Jhang, if you value your life.
   Hush, Mistress, hush.
   My life belongs to Hir, sir.  And I will not leave, if I can't take her 
   with me.
               (Striking Ranjha a fierce blow on the cheek)
   You impudent mite!  I will pound your tongue to dust, if you but profess 
   any claim over my daughter.
               (To Rajni)
   Take your mistress away.
               (Rushes toward her father, pounding his chest with wild 
   Kill me, Papa, kill me!  I will die if you make Ranjha go away.
               (Aiming to strike Ranjha again)
   You will see him die first, princess, before you breathe your last.
               (Coming between Ranjha and Chochuk)
   No need to get violent, my king.  God does not like violence.  Let's 
   escape this farce in a friendly manner.
               (Turning to Ranjha)
                   ABDUL  (Continued)
   Ranjha, if you love Hir, then leave at once.  You are spoiling the 
   peace of this house, and tormenting the one you profess to love.
               (Nursing his cheek)
   It's love, which is chaining me to this spot.
   You have eaten the salt of this house, Ranjha.  Leave us in peace.
   I have tasted the sweetness of love.
   No pride, no honor, Ranjha?  Getting beaten and staying in this house 
   where you are shamed and insulted.  Youth is left with no weapons to 
   defend its honor?
   How can I even think of lifting my hand against the father of my 
   Beloved, whom I revere and worship?
   Such blasphemy?  Only God is to be revered and worshipped.
   All God's creatures deserve worship and reverence.  God and Beloved are 
   the same.
   God will punish you for such heresy, Ranjha.  Fear of God is wisdom, 
   Allah tells us.
   God is love, not fear.
   God is Truth.
   To know Truth, one must know God, and one must love God.
   Let's leave God out of this family squabble.  God has given me this 
   ungrateful child!  And God is not granting her Grace to melt her 
   ingratitude...Such a wilful and undisciplined mind she has?
   Chochuk!  I can't endure it?  What devil is prompting us all to utter 
   heresies?  God is going to punish us all.  We must stop this madness.
               (To Ranjha)
   Let me escort you, Ranjha.  We will talk on the way.
   I am not leaving.
   You are to leave right now, Ranjha!
   Not until Hir tells me so, sir.
   Hir is demented.  No one can expect a sensible request or command from 
   her, as it stands.
   Love is not dementia, sir, but wisdom and resilience.
   Don't try my patience, Ranjha?  Get you gone, or I will kill you with 
   my bare hands.
   You have killed my soul, sir.  My flesh has grown insensitive to any 
   pain or injury.
               (Frantically and hysterically, flying toward Ranjha)
   We will die together, Ranjha.  You can't leave me, even in death.
   Mistress, let me bathe your feet with tears.
   What contagion is in the air?  Evil and madness corrupting the hearts 
   of the young!
               (Rushing to her daughter wildly)
   Tears of shame are choking my own heart, Hir.  Come back to your senses.  
   Saida is to be your husband.  Don't kick the good fortunes away.
               (Clinging to Ranjha, and screaming)
   Misfortunes!  Most cruel and hideous, misfortune!  Why didn't you 
   poison me, Mamma, when I was in the cradle?
   I will poison you yet, daughter, if you do not obey?
               (Commanding Abdul and Kaidu)
   Take him away.  Beat him to pulp, till he has no limbs to return.
   {Abdul and Kaidu drag Ranjha away from Hir, and clamp him down}
   Wait for me, sweet, I will come back.
   Ranjha, Ranjha!
               (Struggling to free himself)
   Love is a gift of God, Beloved, remember that.  Not to be unsealed by 
   anyone, but by the hands of the lovers.
                   The Curtain
                   ACT THREE
   SCENE 1  
   Khaira's house in Rangpur.  A large parlor, sumptuously furnished.  
   Hir is sitting couchant on a velvety davenport.  Her lips are parted, 
   and eyes half closed.  When the curtain opens, Rajni is seen carrying 
   a silver tray laden with sweets, biscuits and a teaset.
   Lemon tea and biscuits, Mistress.  Good for your appetite.  No 
   breakfast, that's not healthy.  Didn't want anything for lunch, 
   can't imagine?  How are you going to get well if you refuse to eat?
   Eclipsed by grief, I have no desire to live.  Let me die in peace, 
   Rajni.  Don't prolong my sorrow by making me live?
               (Pouring tea)
   Hush, Mistress, hush.  You will see joy, one of these days?  Let's not 
   lose hope.  If you but looked into the hearts of the others, you would 
   know that all carry sorrows greater than yours.
   How heartless you are, Rajni!  The whole world carrying stones in their 
   eyes and wounding my heart with every glance, and you talk of hopes.  
   What bleeding hopes?
   Hope of seeing Ranjha one day?  Lovers' hearts by miracles are united.  
   your parents might relent.  They might ask Ranjha to work for them 
   again, and when you visit...
   Visit!  Never!  I never thought my parents would be so cruel as to 
   bury me in this den of everlasting torment.  I did, but I never 
   believed it, until they succeeded in marrying me off without my consent.
   How could they get your consent, Mistress, when you fell into a fainting 
   fit from which you could not be aroused?
   My tears and pleadings could not move their hearts, neither did my 
   mute sufferings, could they deserve to be called parents?  Unfortunate 
   wretch that I am!  When I lay sensible they bribed Abdul to sign the 
   marriage contract in my name, isn't that the truth?  Oh, that I had died!
   Live, Mistress, live, to avenge the evil that has been done to you.
   How?  Where's my Ranjha?
   Probably, longing to have a glimpse of you, and devising means to 
   reach you?
   I will die in peace, if I saw him but one last time.
               (Handing the teacup back to Rajni)
                   HIR  (Continued)
   This tea tastes like poison.  I wish it was?  My stomach is churning 
   Have some biscuits, Mistress.  You haven't touched food since your 
   wedding day...
               (Tossing her head with a sudden violence)
   Wedding day!  Don't remind me of that, Rajni.  The day of my shame and 
   death!  I died that day.  Why doesn't this miserable breath leave me?  
   I can't endure it anymore.
   Wish, you had heard the thundering of the band, and the camels loaded 
   with treasures for you?
   I should have died in my mother's womb.  Why didn't she poison me with 
   the milk in her breasts?  Suckling me to such misfortune?
   And everyone dancing with joy?
   While I was being wrapped in the sheets of death?
   At least your husband and your in-laws are kind to you.
   They are killing me with their kindness'.  Hurling me down into some 
   horrible pit of degradation, from where there is no escape, but the 
   pangs of a slow, lingering death.
   Master Saida is always praying for your life and health, Mistress?
   So that he can defile my body and soul with his passion foul and savage?
   He will not touch you until you consent, Mistress.  Your yourself 
   told me so?
   He would have raped me if I was healthy.
   Nothing shocks me anymore, Rajni, nothing.  Even the cruelty of my 
   parents have lost its sting.  The world lancing my true passion with 
   the arrows of blame and mockery?  The faithlessness of Ranjha?  Why 
   didn't he save me from this ocean of misery and despair?  Where has 
   he gone?  Why doesn't he come?
   Master Saida will kill Ranjha if he ever came this way.
   He is afraid of death, then?
   Only fearing for your own life and honor, Mistress.  And wishing you 
   happiness, though his own heart is bleeding.
   Life!  I am dying, if not dead?  Happiness!  Without him?  How is it 
   You will not die, Mistress.  Master Saida's love might conquer you yet.
   You doubt my love, then?  As if it is some shallow stream inside my 
   raging heart?
   Love unrequited, Mistress, dies of its own accord.  In its wake, blooms 
   a new love upon a hearth, where the warmth of a home polishes it to the 
   sheen of peace and bliss in living.
   You have been reading poetry, I suspect, while your mistress has been 
   longing and suffering?  Ranjha and I took sacred oaths.  Our love is 
   eternal.  Unlike this holy bondage in wedlock, where the bride is more 
   like a corpse than an unworthy ornament.
   A thinking corpse, Mistress, with rage and bitterness still throbbing 
   in its breast.  Now that I am blamed of reading poetry, I might as well 
   borrow some lines from the dead poets.  Love is a curse!  A foul, 
   hideous curse, to bury the young lovers inside the tombs of their own 
   You are mad...and raving, Rajni!  Snatching foulness from the graves of 
   the stinking poets, and corrupting the very breath of air.  Love is a 
   gift from God, not a curse.  Lovers seal this gift with holiness, not 
   ever to be unsealed by anyone but by the hands of the lovers themselves.
   Lovers no more, Mistress?  The Lover is Lost, and the Beloved is Married.
   Ashes in your mouth, Rajni.  The whole world is turned against me.
   I am your most devoted friend, Mistress.
   A foe turned friend is more dangerous than the friend turned foe.
   I am your friend, Mistress.  How can you ever doubt that?
   Alone and disconsolate, I wander into the valleys of torments 
   indescribable.  And no one lifts a finger to find me my Ranjha?
   I am trying mistress, God is my witness.  All day at your beck and 
   call, since you don't want to be left alone, and all night blowing 
   my brains out to find a solution?
   Leave me alone, Rajni.  Leave me alone, I say!  Let your mistress die 
   here alone.  Go, and search for Ranjha.
   {A slight knock is heard at the door.  Rajni scrambles toward the 
   door, dazed and flustered.}
               (Her eyes shining with great agitation)
   Don't let anyone in, Rajni, don't!  I am in no condition to receive 
   {Rajni disappears behind the closed door.  She returns immediately, 
   her look wild and feverish.}
   Your mother-in-law, Mistress, invited Abdul in.  He is insisting on 
   seeing you.
   Didn't I tell you, I don't want to see anyone.  What?  Did you say, 
   Abdul?  Send him back to hell from where he came in the first place.  
   I have nothing to say to him.  That impostor, breeding lies in his 
   own wicked heart, and waving the rags of false piety! 
   {Rajni scampers back to the door under some spell of fear and 
   confusion.  Hir is startled to her feet, pacing and murmuring.}
   I should kill him...I will.  He cannot escape the gallows of my rage 
   and anguish.
   {Rajni returns, her eyes shining with fear and excitement.}
   Mistress, Abdul says he has come in all good faith?  He told me, he 
   is hoping to find Ranjha himself.
   Bring him in, Rajni.  That deceiver and plotter of evils, why shouldn't 
   he taste my rage and grief?
   {Rajni flies back to the door as if pressed by her own urgency to 
   welcome company.  She returns followed by Abdul.  Abdul stands aghast 
   in the middle of the room, as Hir whirls to face him, her eyes flashing 
   and ringed with fever and delirium.}
   What wretched state you are in, my poor child?
   Child!  What bribe in gold and jewels did you accept from the Khairas 
   to sell me off into this bondage?
   None!  How you accuse an old man, my child?
   Then what fair fortunes my parents promised you to go through with 
   this treacherous deed?  Marrying me off to Saida without my consent?
   In the name of God, I perform my duties, child.  Receiving no 
   compensation from man, but from the mercy of God.
   Greed burns like fire in your heart, Abdul, while your lips dare 
   utter the name of God?
   Have some respect for an old man's beard, Hir, if not for his piety?
   A web of deceit is woven in your beard, Mulla!  Didn't you forge my 
   signature on the marriage certificate, and left the mark of your own 
   corruption on this so called holy contract?
   I have been praying for you since then, my child.  The scar on my brow 
   is witness to this truth.  Lifting not my head from the ground, lest 
   I forget to pray.
   That scar on your brow is the stain of shame, Abdul!  For your life 
   is packed with sins, and your mind is a beehive of lies.
   Restrain your tongue, child, though I forgive you.  Devil is speaking 
   through your lips to foil the holiness in my thoughts.
   You are the devil incarnate, Mulla, the Iblis himself.  Wearing the 
   mantle of holiness, while corruption bleeds through your garments of 
   false piety?
   If you only knew the truth, child, you would not rage so, and would 
   not pelt my gentleness with insults.
   Gentle!  What mockery?  All gentleness on the face of this earth is an 
   enemy to your deceptive mind.
   How can you, Mistress?  Insulting a true Muslim...unforgivable!  He 
   being a Mulla?
               (Rage and delirium shining in her eyes)
   True Muslim!  He should be the laughing-stock of all the pious and 
   the disdained, who act not upon what they preach.  And he!  Yes, a 
   mulla, reciting the holy verses without understanding a word of God, 
   or God's truth.
   Faith is my shield, child, against evil and anger.  If you only knew 
   why I came, you would not rant so?
   Your love for wealth is the executioner to your faith, Abdul.  Leave 
   me alone, Sir, I have no desire to know why you came.  And never dare 
   return, or I will claw your eyes out with my bare hands.
   Mistress, at least have the satisfaction of knowing why he came.  He 
   means no harm.
   Heed the advice of your maid, Hir.  You might learn wisdom that way.  
   You would wish me to stay, if you could only let me explain the reason 
   of my coming.
   Why did you come, then?  To torment me thus?  Tell me and begone!
   To unite you with Ranjha, child.
   Oh, evil misfortune!  Now what wickedness is breeding in your mind, 
   to commit more evil?  Are you spying on Ranjha, so that you could 
   murder him?  Are you not content that you have killed me?  Can't 
   you see that I am buried alive in this dungeon of a matrimony?
   My intentions are pure, child.  God's ways are mysterious.  Slander 
   is loud where goodwill resides, and people see corruption where purity 
   Didn't you corrupt the hearts of my parents; knowing, that they 
   themselves were the ones who promised me to Ranjha?  Didn't you sign 
   my marriage contract when I was ill with grief and sorrow, knowing 
   not whether I breathed or not?
   I have come here to right the wrongs I have done.  I have been praying 
   and doing penance.
   If this be true I might snatch a little peace out of my grief before 
   I die.
               (She sits down, covering her face in her hands)
   I myself will die if my sins are not forgiven.
   How can your sins be forgiven, when you have chained me to the Khairas?  
   And what can you do now which may restore my Ranjha to me?
   God is all Merciful.  He will show me the way as I pray and do penance.
   What way?  Where is my Ranjha?
   I will find him.
   What then?
   The plan has just come to my head like a revelation.  My prayers are 
   answered.  I will convince your parents that you are ill-treated here.  
   They will sue for divorce, and you will be married to Ranjha as planned 
   More lies, more evils, more misfortunes.  Is your heart not corrupted 
   enough with evil and wickedness, yet?  Your cunningness, Mulla, oh, 
   how it surpasses the wisdom of a devil?
   I see angels in my dreams, Hir.  And God is guiding me toward piety.  
   I have already seen you wedded to Ranjha, in my dreams.
   Oh, sweet fortunes, how you mock me?
               (Leaps to her feet, facing Abdul)
                   HIR  (Continued)
   You wear piety on your sleeves, which are soiled by the torments to 
   the others caused by your own hatred and malevolence.  You will torment 
   me still with your lies and deception, I can see?  Why have you come 
   here, tormenting me with your lies?
   To make you the wife of Ranjha, Hir, as I said before.  It's you who 
   have chosen to mistake my goodwill and generosity as torments to you.
   You have lost your power to torment me anymore, Abdul.  These are no 
   torments to me.  Even if they are, for such torments!  In hope of 
   seeing Ranjha, I am willing to sell my soul to the devil.
   Talk not of the devil, Hir.  I am guided by the angels.
               (Laughing hysterically)
   Have angels lent you perception to see where my Ranjha dwells?
   My friends are looking for him everywhere, and I will find him soon.  
   I know I will.  As soon as I do, I myself will bring you the good news.
   What else?  Are you rewarding the cruelty of my parents with kindness?
   They have not been cruel, Hir, I wouldn't say that!  Merely obeying the 
   laws of their ancestors, finding a wealthy husband for their daughter.
   Obeying your wicked commands, Abdul, why don't you confess the truth?  
   And now, how will you change their minds...succeeding probably, wickedly 
   as before?
   I have been talking to them.  They too are relenting.  I have been to 
   see Ranjha's brothers too.  They promise riches and lands to Ranjha, 
   once you two are married.  They too have been repenting of their sin 
   in robbing Ranjha of his inheritance after the death of their father.
   Oh, I am doomed!  Khairas will never let me go.  Saida will kill 
   Ranjha, as Rajni said.
   I was just babbling, to cheer the Mistress.
   What impudent tongue she has, your maid, Hir, she confesses herself.  
   You will leave this house to visit your parents, and we will make sure 
   you never return...leave the rest to us.
   Simple as that!
   God's Will will be done.  Now I have to leave, child.  I am expecting 
   news of Ranjha.
               (Tugging at Abdul's sleeve under some spell of delirium)
   When will you come back?  When will I see Ranjha?  Will you bring him 
   back with you?
   Have patience, child.  I will come back sooner than you expect.  If I 
   don't bring him back with me, I will tell you where he is.  My plans 
   work swifter than dreams, and you will be wedded to him before you know.
   {Abdul leaves hurriedly.}
               (Wringing her hands, and talking to herself)
   No, there is no need to bring him here.  I am dreaming, yes, I am 
   dreaming, Rajni.  When I wake up, all will be gone, all lost.  Such 
   sweet, painful dreams!
   Dreams come true, Mistress.  The sweeter they are, the more sweet 
   they taste to the lips of reality.
   Poetry again!  All these dreams and nightmares.  Is Abdul lying, Rajni?  
   Is he plotting evil upon evil?
   He has grown gentle, Mistress.  Looks genuinely troubled and remorseful.
   I will die, Rajni, I am dying.  Will I ever see Ranjha again?
   True lovers are united in the end, always, Mistress.  I said that 
   before, I think?
   Such happiness after so much torment?  I will surely die!
   You will not die, Mistress.  You will live.  I told you so, didn't I?
   {Another slight knock is heard.  Rajni looks around startled.  Then 
   flies to the door as before.}
   Don't let anyone in, Rajni.  If it's Saida, send him away.  I can't 
   see him, I feel faint.
               (She flings herself on the davenport, and covers her face 
               in her hands)
   {Rajni returns, more befuddled than ever.}
   Your uncle Kaidu, Mistress!  He insists on seeing you.
   Another evil spirit!  Now I am having nightmares.  Tell him, I am 
   not feeling well.  He can visit my in-laws if he wants, and then he 
   must leave.
   He says, Mistress, he is bringing good news, and must speak with you.  
   Besides, he says, he has already talked to your in-laws.
   Not even one word of any good import ever escapes his lips, Rajni, 
   unless deceit and malevolence are hiding in its wake.
   He is waiting gentle as a lamb, Mistress.  By the look of him, it 
   seems, that he harbors nothing evil.  
   Let him in then, Rajni.  Let this nightmare end too.  When his 
   wickedness has spilt its venom, he will leave.  How I long to die?
   {Rajni hastens back to the door.  She invites Kaidu by a frantic 
   wave of her arm.  Kaidu hobbles into the room, and sinks into a 
   chair without a word.  His look is kind and wearied, as he adjusts 
   his cane in the crook of his chair.}
   The rough roads, child, and a long journey for an old, lame man.  
   You yourself don't look good, Hir.  Living in the grave of sorrow, 
   I suppose?
   You dug that grave for me, uncle!  Now, you have come to gloat over 
   your success.
   Life has been unfair to me, Hir.  And I have been unfair to others.  
   Now I repent and want to atone my sins with good deeds.  I have good 
   news for you.
   What good news could you possibly bring me?  Nothing could pull me 
   out of this grave now.
   Your parents are lost without you, Hir.  They mourn and repent that 
   they treated Ranjha badly.  They want you both back, hoping that you 
   would forgive.  They have been searching for Ranjha, sending their 
   servants to the remotest of villages to find him.  Once they find 
   him, they want you to be wedded to him.
   I must be dreaming!  How come their cruelty has decided to wear the 
   rags of kindness all of a sudden?
   They have not been cruel, Hir, but swayed by their own need to find 
   you a rich and comfortable home.  Realizing too late, that they have 
   done a terrible wrong.  They have wronged you, they know, and now sit 
   wailing and repenting, and praying and hoping that all wrongs could be 
   They have no cause to wail and lament, do they?  I am the one who is 
   weighed down with grief and sorrow.  Suffering, and praying for death.
   Besides remorse and penance, Hir, they are burdened with fresh 
   misfortunes of their own.  Cattle dying, and the fields ravaged by 
   unruly herds, mostly cows.  Remember, how Ranjha used to sing to them, 
   while he played his flute.  The new shepherd whom they hired can't 
   control any of the farm animals.  Cows run wild in the corn fields 
   and can't be restrained.  Goats and sheep are straying into the 
   marshes and dying.  Chickens have taken a fancy to jump into the lake, 
   drowning and perishing.
   Too familiar am I with the greed of my parents, holding their birds, 
   cattle and beasts dearer than gold!  How could they give any thought 
   to their daughter, whom they tossed away as a pebble to be kicked on 
   the sands of misfortunes?  Now I know why Abdul came to see me.  He 
   too is looking for Ranjha, so that he could serve my parents as a 
   good, humble shepherd once again.  Thinking most wickedly that I am 
   hiding him under the very nose of my unfortunate husband.  Oh, what 
   am I saying?  Even the word, husband, scalds my very lips!  Does that 
   mean I have a husband, or do I wish that I never had one? Is Ranjha 
   going to fight with Saida?
   Ranjha might be raving mad...or bent double with love and grief, but 
   he will never come here to spoil your happiness, Hir.
               (Screaming hysterically)
   Happiness!  Can my grief and sorrow ever find the mask of happiness?  
   Am I happy, what mocking absurdity?
   Ranjha thinks you are.  False rumors have reached him.
   What rumors?
   What else, that you are happy?  That you professed to love him, while 
   you regarded him only a shepherd to your parents.  That you have been 
   faithless in consenting to marry Saida.  He is grief-stricken that you 
   have left him for the wealth of the Khairas.
   Oh, doom and darkness!  I myself will go looking for him.  Where is he 
   hiding?  Has he gone back to his brothers?
   His brothers!  They seem devastated by his disappearance.  They are 
   feeling guilty, I guess, and truly distressed.  I have seen their eyes 
   filling with tears of shame and contrition.
   Why has the whole world turned repentant all of a sudden?
   Because Ranjha's curses and laments have a way to reach all who have 
   wronged him.
   He is here in Rangpur then, how else could have you gathered his 
   curses and laments?
   He was seen on the road to Rangpur, Hir.  But he is not here, I am sure.
   Yes, by some peasants who didn't know him, until the couriers sent by 
   your parents reached that village.  He was seen, I hear, wandering 
   quite oblivious to his own needs and appearance.  Wearing rags, playing 
   on his flute, and pinning verses on the trees.  The ones who saw him 
   said, that he would disappear as mysteriously as he came, and then 
   would be seen again on some street dancing like a whirling dervish.
   He has gone mad!  Oh, my Ranjha!  How can anyone ever find him?
   Not mad, I hope not!  Just besotted, wearing his love and grief on 
   his sleeves.  Next time, our couriers see a fakir or a whirling 
   dervish, they are going to tie him hand and foot and bring him back 
   to Jhang.  Those are Chochuk's orders.
   Mad indeed!  Writing verses and gone stark mad?  No hope to bring him 
   back to sanity?
   He says he is the Lover, seeking his Beloved.
   Beloved!  Faithless he?  Abandoning me in my plight, and making me 
   journey alone on the road to misfortunes.
   He is heard saying that he is the God, but despised by all the gods 
   for not spiriting away his Beloved from the hands of fate.
   Wandering over the lands and the oceans, while I lay here imprisoned!  
   Suffering a slow, lingering death?
   You are not going to die, Hir, but live.  I heard you were ill and my 
   heart somersaulted.  You won't believe me, but that's how I felt.  
   This beautiful child can't die, while I an old man live, that's what 
   I said to myself.  Promise me, child, you will take care of yourself 
   and get well.  I promise too, that I will find Ranjha, and then you 
   two will be married.
   That's what I have been telling my mistress all along.  Live, 
   Mistress, live.
   Well enough to fall into Ranjha's arms, and then die.
   To be wedded for life, Hir, not to be courting death.
   How will I ever escape this prison?  Caged bird that I am, and no 
   wings to fly away.
   Your in-laws are kind and loving, Hir, I know that much.  They will 
   believe in anything you say.  All you need is a simple pretense that 
   you want to visit you parents, and then we will make sure that you 
   never come back.
   Alas, Saida will never let me go.  Alone, that is!  He says he loves 
   me, but he will never accede to my leaving so soon.
   Ranjha's love will dissolve all obstacles, Hir.  Believe in miracles.  
   Most of all, believe in your own love, child, and you will be wedded 
   to Ranjha before you know it.  I better go and find Ranjha, before 
   death corners me to thwart my search.
   Ranjha!  Wandering, going hungry?  Possessed by madness?
   {Kaidu hobbles out of the room without any word of advice or comfort.  
   Rajni watches him leave in utter silence.  Hir snatches a pillow, 
   hugging it frantically.  Her whole body feverish and shivering.}
   Nightmares are true, and dreams are shuddering to reveal more 
   nightmares.  Where are the happy, carefree days of my childhood, 
   Rajni?  Where did I lose them?  Where is Ranjha?
   They are with you, Mistress, if you only but look back.  And Ranjha 
   too, he is with you, if you look deep into your heart.
   My heart, shattered like glass!  Did an evil spirit visit us just now?
   Only your uncle, Mistress.
   Alas, the most hated by all.  By me, by his friends and foes, and by 
   our whole family with the exception of my mother?
   {A slow, hesitant knock.  Only Rajni is aware of it, and plods toward 
   the door as if sleepwalking.  She disappears behind the door, while 
   Hir closes her eyes.}
   The evil spirits are looming everywhere.  Returning, edging closer.  
   Come, sweet dreams, lull me to sleep, cradled into the arms of my Ranjha.
   {Rajni returns, her face flushed and her eyes shining.}
   Mistress, a jogi wants to see you.
               (Her eyes closed, and her lips parted in the semblance of 
               a prayer)
   Give him alms and send him away.
   He knows your name, Mistress.  And requests most humbly to see you, 
   I am tired, Rajni, go away.
   Jogis like him never go from door to door.  And once turned away, 
   they never return, says Ranjha himself.
               (Her eyes shot open)
   Ranjha!  Jogi!  Bring him in.  Bar all the doors.  Stay out and stay 
   guard.  Hurry, don't delay.
   {Rajni disappears behind the door jauntily.  Hir tosses the pillow 
   away and sits hugging her knees.}
   God, you are my light and salvation, stay with me.  You have come 
   back, God, you are love, not fear. Guide me in life and death.  Never, 
   not ever abandon me.  I pray...hoping, you will not be angry.
   {Ranjha enters attired in a white robe.  The big, round earrings 
   shining in his ears.  A jade necklace from his neck clear to his waist 
   is of the same color as his begging bowl, painted green.  He is 
   carrying a staff in one hand, and his flute is seen tucked in his 
   {As soon as he enters, he abandons his bowl and staff on the floor.  
   In a flash, he gathers Hir into his arms in one crushing embrace.}
   How I prayed and prayed for death, Ranjha!
               (Holding Hir before him, and gazing into her eyes)
   Your prayers will never be answered, Beloved.  I die each moment to 
   keep the spark of your life glowing.  You live eternally in my heart 
   and inside my soul.
   My own heart, Ranjha, broken and bleeding.
               (Holding her hand and making her sit beside him on the 
   My love will heal it, sweet Hir.  I cannot live without you.
   Eclipsed is my love in sorrow, Ranjha.
   True lovers are born to suffer for their great love, Hir.  But ours 
   will conquer all sufferings.
   How, Ranjha?  You left me in the oceans of tears and grief.
   How bitterly I cried, Beloved!  Did you not hear one single cry?  My 
   laments reaching to the sky, and hurling back thunder and lightning 
   into my own heart.
   Where did you go, Ranjha?  How could you leave me alone?  Why didn't 
   you come back?
   Know not where I went, or what I did?  Knowing only that you Beloved 
   is my final destination.  You are mine alone, Hir, and we will not 
   ever be parted again.
   And you remember nothing, Ranjha?  Nothing of your wanderings?
   Only the waters of Chenab.  The tempests raging at my cowardliness.  
   Pale nights mourning for our separation.  The nightingales singing 
   the saddest of songs.  Of sorrow and parting?
   How did this world change so quickly, Ranjha?  It must have been 
   waiting to destroy us, our love and our lives?
   Garden of our love may seem plundered, Hir, but it is filled with 
   eternal bloom unseen by the ones who know no love.  I have come to 
   take you away, Beloved.  I don't know where, but we will not ever 
   be parted again.
   To my parents home, I suppose?
   Your parents, who forced you to...
   They are repenting now, Ranjha.  Everyone seems to be repenting!  
   Abdul, Kaidu, the whole world?  They came to see me.  My parents 
   want me back, they want you back.  Remember how you used to sing to 
   the cattle.  With you gone, they are gone wild.  The new shepherd 
   can't control them.  If they are not dying in the lakes and the 
   marshes, they are busy destroying the crops.
   They never cared about my precious loss when I lost you, my love.  
   And now the loss of cattle has moved them to repentance?
   You don't understand, Ranjha.  They are repenting for the wrong they 
   did to us.  They are planning a divorce, so that we could be married 
   as agreed.
   If Khairas ever got wind of this plan, Hir, they would murder you in 
   sleep.  What would happen then?  I would slaughter the whole clan to 
   avenge my Love.  If I don't kill myself in the end, I would be 
   wandering on the face of this earth like a restless spirit whose thirst 
   for vengeance could never be quenched even by the rivers of blood.
   Kaidu said you have gone mad?
   Stark mad, being separated from you.  Suffering the tortures of the 
   damned, and searching for truth which only your pure heart can offer 
   and sustain.  As for keeping you with me, I am taking you to a mansion 
   built by my brothers, not to your parents' home.  My brothers have 
   promised me lands rich and a mansion of my own.
   I am dreaming again, Ranjha!  Abdul and Kaidu...did they really come?  
   Is it true, that they all are searching for you?
   For their own evil designs, I am sure.
               (Her fingers tracing Ranjha's cheeks dreamily)
   I can't think, Ranjha.  Are you in my dream too, or are you real?
               (Gazing into her eyes)
   As real as your beautiful eyes, my love.  How sad and profound they 
   are!  You have grown so pale and slender.  Let's go, Beloved, before 
   Saida discovers us.
   Where, Ranjha?
   To Hazara, Beloved, where my brothers live.
   You mean, elope?
   To spend the rest of our lives together.  Loving eternally!
   To Jhang then, Ranjha.  We will be wedded there, and then go to Hazara.
   My home is where my Love is, Beloved.  A slave to your wishes, I will 
   go where you lead me.
   Rajni must come with us.
               (Carrying her into his arms and hugging her to him)
   Your most obedient servant, Hir.  Command me as you will.
   This beautiful dream again, Ranjha.
   A dream which will last as long as I live.
   Some cruel jest might awaken me from this dream?
   Nothing could, Love.  Not ever as long as you are with me.
   Uncle Kaidu said he would come and get me, when he found you.
   You were lost to me, Beloved.  I am the one who found you, and I am 
   the one who will take you back home.
   Ranjha, what if Saida doesn't agree to divorce.  Comes storming to 
   Jhang and...
               (Grazing her lips with a small kiss)
   Hush, love, hush.  We are going to our own paradise, where no one can 
   enter and where nothing exists, but our love!
               (Burying her face in his chest)
   My heaven is right here, Ranjha.  How can I look for it elsewhere?
                   The Curtain
                   ACT FOUR
   SCENE 1
   The same parlor as in first scene at the palace of Hir's parents.  
   Malki and Kaidu are sitting side by side on a tapestried davenport.  
   Abdul is facing them sunk in his own large chair laden with pillows.  
   Chochuk is pacing absently and thoughtfully.
               (Wringing her hands)
   What a shame?  Nothing that I could think of can ever wash this 
   disgrace off our family name.  I wish I had died before Hir was born.
   What's the use digging the past, and smearing Present with the mud?
   Eloping with Ranjha!  I even shudder to imagine that our daughter 
   could do this.  Then telling us all the lies.  Did Saida ever laid 
   his hands on her, as she claims, as if he had nothing better to do 
   but to beat her?  Kind and loving Khairas.  I don't blame them, they 
   have a right to be furious.  Who put such lies in her head, can't 
               (Fondling his beard)
   Her wild imaginations alone, what else?
   At least our cattle is restrained, now that Ranjha is back
   You are more concerned about the cattle than disgrace, which is 
   burying us alive in the pit of shame and degradation.
   Why do you keep harping about the disgrace which is no more.  There 
   is no shame in divorce, as it is settled with no ill-feelings.  No 
   shame either in Hir marrying anyone she chooses.
   Divorce!  There is no divorce?
   No divorce!  I thought?  Didn't you say?
   I lied!  Lies are so very infectious, they are all around us.  I am 
   infected with this disease from my own chaste and beautiful daughter.
   This marriage can't go on then.  No disgrace is more shameful than 
   the one to marry one's daughter to another;  knowing, that she is 
   married to someone else.
   Abdul has been kind enough to find a solution to that.
   Always a pious solution from this man of piety, who could dare 
   dispute his wickedness, not even a king?  And what purgatory you 
   have chosen for us, Mulla Abdul?
               (Exchanging en enigmatic look with Malki, and whispering)
   I thought that was our secret, not to be disclosed?
               (Murmuring back)
   No secrets, when shame and disgrace are piled high on the mounds of 
   tragedies past and griefs to come.
   Secrets are no secrets when they run like wildfire out of lying tongues.
   Speak,  pious Mulla, or I will tie the chord of your own piety around 
   your neck.
   To end this disgrace, o king, your daughter must die.
   My daughter, die?  How?  Why?  Is she ill, is she dying?
   No, but she will.  The ritual of drinking milk after the marriage 
   vows, is all prepared.  The milk is poisoned.
   Is that your secret, Malki?  Must Hir die?
   No other choice, Chochuk, no choice.  My Hir, my Hir.  This disgrace, 
   this disgrace!
   I am a sinful man, but I have never heard of a more heinous sin than 
   this to be perpetrated by the parents.
   What if the Khairas come back to claim Hir?
   She will be no more, no more?  I will chain Ranjha to slavery, and he 
   will tend my cattle all his life.
   Cattle, cattle!  Oh, madness and madness?
   This madness must stop.  No marriage, till we convince Saida to grant 
   Saida will never agree. He is much too much in love.  Hir must die.
   {Rajni straggles into the room.  Her look is wild and her hair 
   disheveled.  She is staggering as if about to swoon, but Malki's 
   flashing eyes transfix her to a chilling halt.}
   How much have you heard, Rajni?  Speak, o, impudent wretch.
   Nothing, Mistress.  I just came to ask...preparations for the wedding.
   What preparations, you rude simpleton? This is a private affair, just 
   for the family members.  No one is invited.  Of course, two garlands 
   of flowers, and a glass of milk, that's all we need.
   {Rajni flees, tears welling into her eyes.  Malki storms after her.}
   I will pull your tongue out, if you but say a word.
               (Balancing his cane to ease himself up)
   I will not be an accomplice to this dark deed.  The most horrible and 
   darkest of all deeds!
   The rod of God's own justice will humble and silence you.  You should 
   know, God chastises his children when they go astray, and gives 
   guidance to pious men like myself to do the same as He wills.
               (Incensed and impatient)
   Sit down, Kaidu.  Let us be reasonable.  Let not your emotions sway 
   you, but Reason.  No father wants his child's death, unless the sword 
   of honor and disgrace threatens his sanity, if not life.
               (Sinking back into his chair with a loud sigh)
   Reason has gone insane!  And piety is smoldering inside the pot of 
   You went to see Hir, Kaidu, didn't you?  And you promised her that 
   she would be married to Ranjha, isn't that the truth?  Are you going 
   to deny all that?
   You visited her too, Mulla!  But we were all thinking about divorce, 
   nothing else, but an honorable settlement.
   Since divorce is not possible, what do you propose?
   Divorce or no divorce!  I will not agree to killing my own child.
   What do you propose, o king?
   To postpone the wedding, till divorce is secured.
   And to reveal this murderous plot to Hir?  This terrible plot 
   concocted by her own mother?  How else can you appease her misery 
   and curiosity, if you plan to announce the delay in marriage?
   You concocted that plot, you impious, stinking worm, didn't you?  
   Not my wife, not my wife, don't shift that blame on a loving mother?
   She suggested it to me, I can swear it on the Quran.
   God's pious men?  How easily they are misled, falling into a pool of 
   corruption?  And I the most wretched of sinners, shuddering at the 
   mere thought of such an enormity.
   A mother's heart is pure gold.  But Malki, she is visited by madness 
   since Hir's wedding.  Weeping and grieving?
   And Hir will bring more shame and disgrace to the family, if she lives.
               (Pacing, his arms shooting up in the air)
   What can a noble parent do when his child rebels and disobeys?
   Bury her under the cold earth, where peace and darkness will be her 
   God may never forgive you, if you succeed in practicing your cruelty 
   and wickedness to your heart's corruption.
   Flinging curses at a pious man, Kaidu?  You are the one who planted 
   the seeds of discord in her parents' hearts, when she wanted to marry 
   I didn't know the extent of her love, then.  I was only thinking of 
   comfort and riches in life, for her, for her.
   Reason, not love, is the law of life.
   Impiety, blasphemy and wickedness are the laws of your life, Mulla!  
   They are going to blow out the mask of your false piety, and you 
   will be left only with stinking rags to cover your shame if you do 
   not desist from evil.
               (Leaping to his feet)
   How dare you insult a pious man?  You lame, accursed vermin?  Your 
   own deformities are a witness that your soul is the abode of the 
   foul, wicked lies.
           (Pounces on Kaidu.  Shaking him by the shoulders in a fit of 
           rage and violence)
               (Startled to awareness)
   Gentlemen!  This is a palace of peace...and death, not a den of brawls.
   {Chochuk is trying to disengage Abdul and Kaidu.  Malki rushes in, 
   pressed by her own blind rage.  She is dragging Rajni by the hair, 
   and screaming.}
   This faithless slut.  She is spying on us.  Stealing away to tell Hir...
               (Becomes aware of the men entangled in a fight, her voice 
                choking.  Rajni falls in a heap on the floor, sobbing)
                   MALKI  (Continues)
   More shame and disgrace!  Are men going to die before this wedding?  
   I see death and darkness...
                   The Curtain
   SCENE 11
   The same garden as in Act one, scene one.  Hir and Ranjha are 
   strolling side by side.
   Our wedding day, Ranjha!  So beautiful, so peaceful.  Peaceful as death.
   Hush, my love, hush.  It's the day of life.  Life eternal and life 
   everlasting.  Why speak of death this blessed day?
   Isn't death the beginning of life, Ranjha?
   Perhaps, love?  But we are taking the path of Light, where darkness 
   will never reveal itself.  Are you not happy, my love?
   I can't contain this joy, Ranjha.  Can one die of sheer bliss and 
   Death again!  Tell me, are you happy?  I want to hear from you the 
   truth, Beloved, nothing but the absolute truth.
   I am happier than the twinkling stars, Ranjha, much more than that, 
   can't explain!  But I have that same feeling of foreboding which I 
   had, when...
   When my precious jewel was lost to the Khairas, isn't that it, love?  
   But that is behind us now, Hir.  The clouds of grief and sorrow are 
   gone.  Now sunshine of joy and hope, warms our hearts.  My prayers 
   have brought you back, and my prayers will keep us together.
   I don't pray anymore, Ranjha.  Strange that I can't pray.  No prayers 
   touched my lips, even when I lay mired in grief...in the death-throes 
   of agony and despair.  I used to pray, but no more, no more.
   You must pray, Beloved.  If not for yourself, for others.  Prayers 
   bring joy and peace.  They are some sort of gifts, rather treasures, 
   which can be bestowed upon others without the fear or loss of wealths 
   material or spiritual.  They add love and light to the hidden mysteries 
   within us.  Treasures indeed, which could never be purchased, but 
   Ranjha, pray...pray for me, so that my heart be moved to prayers.  
   Are we really getting married, Ranjha?  Is this not some dream, 
   concealing lies?  No more nightmares in its wake, if I can only pray?  
   Hope and love, are they ours at last?  No dangers, no darkness'!
   This is the garden of reality, my love.  Only the sprigs of love, 
   where neither dreams, nor nightmares can ever flourish.  Our love 
   alone is the perfume of this Reality, and our bliss its only essence.
   I still can't believe, Ranjha, that we are getting married, that Saida 
   consented to divorce?
   Ranjha's love is too mighty, it can achieve miracles.  How can my 
   beloved stay tied to the spool of an unholy matrimony, when my love 
   can cut the hearts of the mountains?
   Don't boast, Ranjha.  Where did you conceal your mighty love when you 
   adopted the guise of a jogi?  Were you not mad enough to say, you are 
   I am the god of Love and Truth, Hir.  And that is the Truth, total and 
   absolute Truth.
   Then I am the goddess.  For a god can't wed a mere mortal like me.
   You are a goddess, love.  That's why your marriage to Saida was 
   considered sinful by the gods.  They were angered.
   Suppose, the gods are still angry, with me, with us?
   Not when my own goddess is willing to marry the god of her love.
   Suppose still, the gods are angry.  If they kill me, what would you do?
   You are my Truth, Beloved!  And my love will embrace you forever, in 
   Light or Darkness.  Even in death, we will not ever be parted.
   Mystery, this love of ours, isn't it?  We suffered so!  What's the 
   purpose of pain and suffering?
   To enjoy more, the fruits of joy in living, I suppose.
   Pain and suffering serve no purpose in life, Ranjha.  Besides, they 
   breed despair and cultivate bitterness.
   If the buds of joy bloomed from the sprigs of joy eternally,  the 
   sweetness of joy would be lost on them, simply, because no comparison 
   of pain or suffering could ever exist for them.
   Are you inventing these parables, Ranjha, or speaking through the 
   tongues of wisdom and experience.         
   Wisdom alone guides my tongue, Hir.
   Now you are lying, Ranjha.  Your heart alone is your guide, not your 
   head.  Has anyone heard of a wise heart?
   Jogis never lie, Beloved.  If a head carries wisdom in its eyes, then 
   the heart compliments it with its own throne of wisdom.
   Where is the Truth then, which forswears the foolishness of a heart?
   Only a handful of Truths measure the worth of Love and Wisdom.
   Do you know any which do, Ranjha?
   One and one only.  And that's you!  You are my Truth, my love.  The 
   only Truth in this whole wide world.
   What do you know, Ranjha?  Vanity dances in my head, and inside my 
   heart is a glittering mirage, of what I know not.
   You are chaste, Hir.  And faithful and loving.  These three virtues 
   which are the essence of one absolute Truth.
   How do you know I am chaste?  I was wedded to...oh, grief and misery, 
   I want to forget all.
   Did you...did Saida...are you...
   Oh, Ranjha.  If he did, I would have killed myself right there and then.
   Hir!  Truth!  Beloved!
   You doubt me?
   If one can doubt one's own divine breath, Hir, drawing in and sucked 
   out into oblivion, then one might doubt one's Beloved.
   Let us pray then, Ranjha, together.
   At your feet, my love, which will be washed with my tears of gratitude.
   No, Ranjha.  I said, together.      
   Strange, no prayers are coming to my lips.
   My heart is thundering
   A storm, for sure, before bliss and serenity.
   How long will it last.  The storm, I mean, inside my heart?
   It is subsiding, I can feel it.  Isn't it?
   Yes.  Should we kneel, and pray?
   I can't.
   A tearing, stabbing longing in my heart is numbing my senses.
   All this, on our wedding day, Ranjha, why?  We don't have to wait that 
   long now.
   To embrace you forever and forever, I must.
   Let's go in, Ranjha.
   Yes, I cannot wait any longer.
   I am dying to be your wife.
   Please, Beloved, keep death and dying out of your thoughts.
   It's just an expression, Ranjha.  Why are you so superstitious?
   Love is an expression too, my love, until it finds fulfillment in 
   {Ranjha slips his arm around Hir's waist, as they drift closer to the 
   house.  Kaidu is seen hobbling toward them, his look wearied and 
   We are coming, Uncle.  You didn't have to come and drag us to our own 
   wedding ceremony.
   Just wanted to make sure if my love-birds are well and alive.
   Why, uncle?  Who would like to kill oneself on one's own wedding day, 
   unless it is marked with despair?  As was mine once, and I didn't have 
   the strength to do it.
   And no gods could be so cruel as to strike one dead on one's wedding day.
   Bite your tongue, Ranjha, or gods will be angry with you.
   I implore God's mercy at all time and in all circumstance.  Without His 
   mercy, I will surely be lost.
   Now listen, children, and be truthful.  Are you sure you two love each 
   other, and are ready to get married?
   Uncle!  Isn't it ridiculous to ask such a question; knowing, what we 
   went through?
   Passing strange, Kaidu, passing strange?
   Just making sure.  This is my old age, a touch of senility.  Do you 
   need more time?  Wouldn't it be better if you waited a little longer?  
   One is never sure.  Love is blind.  Better to clear all the doubts, 
   before one feels ready to share the burden of this holy commitment for 
   Uncle!  Burden?
   You are not feeling well, uncle Kaidu, I presume.  You do look 
   worried...and distraught?
   My sins are crushing my old bones to dust.
   What sins?
   The sins of deformity in my body and soul, which I have carried for 
   too long.
   All your sins are forgiven, Uncle Kaidu, be rest assured.  You have 
   helped banish our grief and misery by bringing us together.
   Together?  I wish you...
   {Rajni is seen flying toward them.  She appears dazed, her look wild 
   and searching.  Malki is racing after her in one desperate attempt to 
   impede her approach.}
   Mistress!  Mistress!
   Turn back, Rajni, this instant, I say.  You will be flogged to death 
   alive, if you don't.  Didn't I tell you to fetch the garlands for the 
   {Rajni is chilled to one spot in her act of running, as if struck by 
   a bolt of lightning.  Suddenly, she whirls back and flees toward the 
   house, as if pursued by a pack of demons.}
   Mamma, what's wrong with Rajni?  Is she ill?
               (Her eyes shooting daggers at Kaidu, before she turns 
               to Hir)
   God knows, what's with her, my princess!  She is acting up strange 
   since this morning.  Maybe, coming down with a fever, that's all I 
   can think of.
   Malki Begum, you yourself don't look too well?
   My nerves are frayed.  This wedding, and Rajni acting demented.
   I hope, you are not worried about Hir, Malki Begum.  She will be 
   protected and cherished by me all her life.
   I wish I could believe that!
   You doubt, Mamma?
               (Ignoring Hir, and flashing a murderous look at Kaidu)
   Your leg is hurting, Kaidu.  Didn't I tell you to stay indoors?
   Why do I feel...the very air is charged with some sort of threat, all 
   of a sudden?
   Come, children, come.  The wedding must not be delayed anymore.  There 
   is peace waiting...peace and...
                   The Curtain
   SCENE 111
   The same parlor as the one at the beginning of Act 1V.  Hir and Ranjha 
   are seated together on a davenport.  Abdul is seated opposite them, his 
   eyes fixed to the copy of the Quran in his lap.  Kaidu is sitting next 
   to Abdul, perusing the marriage contract.  Malki is seated to the right 
   of Ranjha in her own tapestried chair.  The low table beside her 
   displaying a silver tray with a glass of milk, is holding her utmost 
   attention.  Chochuk is pacing as usual.  Rajni is crouched in the 
   corner under some spell of shock and stupor.  She is almost crushing 
   the garlands of flowers in her arms.
   The happiest day of my life, Rajni, and what evil spirit is visiting 
               (Murmuring inaudibly)
   She has been raving, princess, raving mad!  She is afraid she is going 
   to lose you...by being married to Ranjha, of course.
   Lose me!  I am only going to Hazara, that's not the end of the world.  
   She is coming with me, isn't she?
               (Murmuring to herself)
   Wish, that was possible.
   Everyone looks so mournful!  Though the music in my heart is enough 
   for a wedding march.  Kaidu uncle, what is troubling you?  It seems 
   a mountain is going to fall over your shoulders?
   Aged and lame as I am, I am ready to fall into my own grave before 
   any mountain crashes over me.
   You are to live many more decades, Kaidu uncle, to tell our kids the 
   story of our love and marriage.
   Love and peace!  If I have any breath left to tell such a story.
   The only person in this room who looks calm, is Mulla Abdul.  Can't 
   figure why everybody else look so distraught?  Rather, worried about 
   something which I can't perceive.
   Piety and prayer lead one to peace and contentment.  The holy 
   scriptures are my refuge, I am one with the words of God.  
   Surrendering my will to the Will of God.
   King Chochuk, you have been showering us with your blessings since 
   we returned.  And now...are you not happy that we are getting married?
               (Coming to an abrupt halt in the middle of the room)
   Happy!  I think I am going to die of sheer happiness?  My princess, 
   moving far, far away.  Farther than the oceans and the continents, 
   even beyond that?  Deeper and deeper...
   Chochuk, get hold of your senses!  Our Hir, she is not moving that far.
   Hazara is not that far, Papa!  Even less than Rangpur, where I was 
   forced to go?  I will visit often, I promise.
   If I live to see that, my princess, peace will follow me in death.
   Our blessed wedding, and everyone is talking so strange?  Never before 
   in my life have I ever heard the word of death on weddings.
   Let's seal this blessed wedding with your signature, Ranjha.  That is 
   if Kaidu is kind enough to sign his name as a witness without pondering 
   so much!
   Two witnesses are required to sign the marriage contract, Abdul, isn't 
   that true?
   Your father has already signed, o gentle bride.
   {Kaidu signs, holding out the parchment to Abdul.  Abdul passes it 
   to Ranjha.  Both Hir and Ranjha sign their names quickly.  Their 
   fingers trembling and their eyes shining.  Abdul retrieves the 
   signed parchment, and Hir and Ranjha join hands.}
   Now the simple ritual of a blessed wedding may commence.  I will read 
   the holy words of the God silently, for fortunes and blessings.
   Rajni, put one garland around Hir's neck, and the other around Ranjha's.
   {Rajni obeys somnambulantly.  Ranjha bows his head as he receive the 
   garland.  Rajni draws her face close to Hir's ear, while slipping the 
   garland over her head.}
   Stop, Rajni.  Don't dare whisper one of your demented gossips into the 
   bride's ears.  Do your duty, and begone.
   {Rajni steps back as if stung.  She is caught in abeyance, more chilled 
   than stunned.}
   Rajni, what is it?  What has come over you?
   Mistress...I am...you...
               (Thundering again)
   Rajni, didn't I say, begone?
   Mamma!  Let Rajni talk, I want to hear what she has to say.  It's my 
   wedding day, don't be upset with her.
   She can't say one sane word, Hir, I tell you.  She is afflicted with 
   some sort of fever...thinks, you are going to be imprisoned in Hazara.
   Rajni, don't worry.  Hazara is not like Rangpur, dark and lonely.  
   Hazara is heaven, it will be going to be my heaven.  You will be with 
   me, you are my friend.  Say something, Rajni?
   I have always been kind to you, Rajni, talk to your Mistress, be kind 
   to her.  Say something, anything?  In Hazara you will be treated with 
   respect as Hir's friend should be.  You will not be our servant, but 
   the mistress of your own will.
   What's wrong with Rajni, Papa, why doesn't she speak?
               (His pace dwindling and his look dazed)
   Yes, Papa!  You too are acting strange.  I, we asked for your 
   blessings, and you gave them most truly and happily.  What happened, 
   what's happening?  It seems, you don't see us.
   Blessings, yes, I did give...did I?
   Mamma!  What's wrong with papa?
   Nothing.  He was like that at your first wedding too.
   Uncle Kaidu!  Could you please tell me, why is everyone acting so 
   strange?  I used to sit in your lap and you told me all sorts of 
   strange stories, remember?  Now tell me, what's happening, make a 
   story, something?
   You will fare well in Heaven, Hir, that's all I can say.  Rest in peace.
               (Closing the Quran reverently)
   Peace and happiness to all.
   I have never seen you so calm and peaceful, Abdul, as Hir noticed 
   before.  Could you please tell us the reason of all this strangeness?
   God's ways are mysterious, Ranjha, how do I know?
   Is this all your doing, Abdul?  Have you cast a spell?  What have you 
   done to them all?
   Nothing!  The only thing I have done so far is to perform the wedding 
   ceremony.  Making you the bride of Ranjha as you wished.
   Let's go, Beloved.  I smell the reek of danger.
   I can't leave, Ranjha, not like this!  Everyone acting so strange.
               (Holding out the glass of milk to Hir)
   No, you can't, my princess, not until you drink this holy milk.  This 
   is to seal your marriage vows, as you know, and bring you prosperity.
   Mistress, no!
               (Smiling to herself)
   Why, Rajni?  This is the last sacred rite of my wedding!
               (She takes two sips, gasping for breath and her eyes 
               bulging out)
   {Ranjha snatches the glass from Hir, pressing her close to his with 
   one arm.  His own voice is choked, though he is trying to speak.}  
   My mistress is poisoned.  Dead.  Murdered by...
               (She falls at Hir's feet, sobbing violently)
   God's mockery!  Truth desecrated.  No...Truth is...embracing...death...
               (Swallows the whole glass of milk in one gulp)
   {The empty glass crashes on the floor, as Ranjha's body falls limp.  
   His one arm is still holding Hir's own limp body, both falling in one 
   soft heap.  Chochuk is standing in the middle of the room with his arms 
   stretched out, as if trying to embrace something.  Kaidu sits there 
   motionless, his eyes are closed.  A volley of hysterical mirth breaks 
   forth on Malki's lips, all of a sudden.  Abdul is grinning, his eyes 
   riveted to the dead lovers with a burning intensity.}
                   The Curtain


A New Age: The Centipede Network Of Artists, Poets, & Writers
An Informational Journey Into A Creative Echonet [9310]
(C) CopyRight "I Write, Therefore, I Develop" By Paul Lauda

       Come one, come all! Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established 
       just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A 
       place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and 
       learn from all.  A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. 
       Even a chance to be published in a magazine.

       The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. 
       Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such 
       an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon 
       started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin 
       Board Systems.

       We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a
       specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking.
       Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets
       are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a
       writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer
       can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since 
       the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means 
       that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative 
       user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created.

       Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede

  Ygdrasil is committed to making literature available, and uses the
  Internet as the main distribution channel. On the Net you can find all
  of Ygdrasil including the magazines and collections. You can find
  Ygdrasil on the Internet at: 

    * WEB: http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken/ 

    * FTP: ftp://ftp.synapse.net/~kgerken/

    * USENET: releases announced in rec.arts.poems, alt.zines and

    * EMAIL: send email to kgerken@synapse.net and tell us what version 
         and method you'd like. We have two versions, an uncompressed 
         7-bit universal ASCII and an 8-bit MS-DOS lineart-enchanced 
         version.  These can be sent plaintext, uuencoded, or as a 


  . REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings

  . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken
  . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken
  . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken
  . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken
  . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken
  . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken
  . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken
  . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken 
  . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken
  . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken
  . THE VOICE OF HUNGER (1998), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken

  . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp

  . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy
  . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy
  . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy

  . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena
  . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena
  . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena
  . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena

  . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn

  All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to
  the respective authors and orders will be forwarded by Ygdrasil Press.
  YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an
  issue to cover disk and mailing costs, also specify computer type (IBM
  or Mac), as well as disk size and density. Allow 2 weeks for delivery.
  Note that YGDRASIL MAGAZINE is free when downloaded from Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site at http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.


  All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
  these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

  YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995,
  1996, 1997 & 1998 by Klaus J. Gerken.

  The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
  World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.  No other 
  version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. 
  Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.

  All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS


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