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Sri Aurobindo

Poems

compilation 2005 Jul 07,
158 poems

 



Contents


I. Short poems 1890 - 1900

Songs to Myrtilla
Perfect thy motion
Phaethon
To a Hero-Worshipper
Estelle
O Coil, Coil
Hic Jacet
Lines on Ireland
Charles Stewart Parnell
Night by the Sea
A Thing Seen
The Lover's Complaint
Love in Sorrow
The Island Grave
Bankim Chandra Chatterji
Saraswati with the Lotus
Goethe
The Lost Deliverer
Madhusudan Dutt
Envoi
The Spring Child
Since I have seen your face
Euphrosyne
The Nightingale
Song
Epigram
The Three Cries of Deiphobus
Epitaph
A Doubt
Perigune Prologuises

Short poems 1895 - 1908

Invitation
Who
Reminiscence
A Vision of Science
Immortal Love
To the Sea
The Sea at Night
Evening
Revelation
A Tree
A Child's Imagination
Miracles
The Vedantin's Prayer
On the Mountains
Rebirth
Seasons
The Triumph-Song of Trishuncou
The Fear of Death
Life and Death
In the Moonlight
Parabrahman
God

Short Poems 1902 - 1930

The Mother of Dreams
The Birth of Sin
Epiphany
To R.
The Rakshasas
Kama
Kamadeva
The Mahatmas
The Meditations of Mandavya
Hell and Heaven
Life

Short poems 1930 - 1950

A God's Labour
Bride of the Fire
The Blue Bird
The Mother of God
The Island Sun
Silence is all
Is this the end
Who art thou that camest
One Day
The Dwarf Napoleon
The Children of Wotan (1940)
Despair on the Staircase
Surrealist

Short Poems - Fragments

Morcundeya
A voice arose
I walked beside the waters
Urvasie
The Cosmic Man

II. Sonnets - early period

To the Cuckoo
Transiit, non Periit
What is this talk
To weep because a glorious sun
I have a hundred lives

Sonnets 1930 - 1950

The Kingdom Within
The Yogi on the Whirlpool
The Divine Hearing
Electron
The Indwelling Universal
The Witness Spirit
The Pilgrim of the Night
The Hidden Plan
The Inconscient
Liberation
Cosmic Consciousness
The Golden Light
Life-Unity
Bliss of Identity
The Iron Dictators
Form
Infinite Adventure
The Greater Plan
The Universal Incarnation
The Godhead
The Stone Goddess
Krishna
The Cosmic Dance
Shiva
The Word of the Silence
The Dual Being
The Self's Infinity
Lila
Surrender
The Divine Worker
The Guest
The Inner Sovereign
The Conscious Inconscient
A Dream of Surreal Science
In the Battle
The Little Ego
The Miracle of Birth
Moments
The Bliss of Brahman
The Human Enigma
The Body
Liberation
Light
The Unseen Infinite
Self
The Cosmic Spirit
"I"
Omnipresence
The Inconscient Foundation
Adwaita
The Hill-Top Temple
Because Thou art...
Divine Sight
Divine Sense
Immortality
Man, the Despot of Contraries
Evolution
The Silver Call
The Inner Fields

6. Sonnets Undated

Transformation
Nirvana
The Other Earths
Contrasts
Man, the Thinking Animal
The Dumb Inconscient
The Infinitesimal Infinite
Evolution
The One Self
Our godhead calls us
Discoveries of Science I
Discoveries of Science II
Discoveries of Science III

I. Short poems 1890 - 1900

Songs to Myrtilla

Glaucus

Sweet is the night, sweet and cool
As to parched lips a running pool;
Sweet when the flowers have fallen asleep
And only moonlit rivulets creep
Like glow-worms in the dim and whispering wood,
To commune with the quiet heart and solitude.
When earth is full of whispers, when
No daily voice is heard of men,
But higher audience brings
The footsteps of invisible things,
When o'er the glimmering tree-tops bowed
The night is leaning on a luminous cloud,
And always a melodious breeze
Sings secret in the weird and charmed trees,
Pleasant 'tis then heart-overawed to lie
Alone with that clear moonlight and that listening sky.

Aethon

But day is sweeter; morning bright
Has put the stars out ere the light,
And from their dewy cushions rise
Sweet flowers half-opening their eyes.
O pleasant then to feel as if new-born
The sweet, unripe and virgin air, the air of morn.
And pleasant are her melodies,
Rustle of winds, rustle of trees,
Birds' voices in the eaves,
Birds' voices in the green melodious leaves;
The herdsman's flute among his flocks,
Sweet water hurrying from reluctant rocks,
And all sweet hours and all sweet showers
And all sweet sounds that please the noonday flowers.
Morning has pleasure, noon has golden peace
And afternoon repose and eve the heart's increase.
 
All things are subject to sweet pleasure,
But three things keep her richest measure.
The breeze that visits heaven
And knows the planets seven,
The green spring with its flowery truth
Creative and the luminous heart of youth.
To all fair flowers and vernal
The wind makes melody diurnal.
On Ocean all night long
He rests, a voice of song.
The blue sea dances like a girl
With sapphire and with pearl
Crowning her locks. Sunshine and dew
Each morn delicious life renew.
The year is but a masque of flowers,
Of light and song and honied showers.
In the soft springtide comes the bird
Of heaven whose speech is one sweet word,
One word of sweet and magic power to bring
Green branches back and ruddy lights of spring.
Summer has pleasant comrades, happy meetings
Of lily and rose and from the trees divinest greetings.

Glaucus

For who in April shall remember
The certain end of drear November?
No flowers then live, no flowers
Make sweet those wretched hours;
From dead or grieving branches spun
Unwilling leaves lapse wearily one by one;
The heart is then in pain
With the unhappy sound of rain.
No secret boughs prolong
A green retreat of song;
Summer is dead and rich repose
And springtide and the rose,
And woods and all sweet things make moan;
The weeping earth is turned to stone.
The lovers of her former face,
Shapes of beauty, melody, grace,
Where are they? Butterfly and bird
No more are seen, no songs are heard.
They see her beauty spent, her splendours done;
They seek a younger earth, a surer sun.
When youth has quenched its soft and magic light,
Delightful things remain but dead is their delight.

Aethon

Ah! for a little hour put by
Dim Hades and his pageantry.
Forget the future, leave the past,
The little hour thy life shall last.
Learn rather from the violet's days
Soft-blooming in retired ways
Or dewy bell, the maid undrest
With creamy childhood in her breast,
Fierce foxglove and the briony
And sapphire thyme, the work-room of the bee.
Behold in emerald fire
The spotted lizard crawl
Upon the sun-kissed wall
And coil in tangled brake
The green and sliding snake
Under the red-rose-briar.
Nay, hither see
Lured by thy rose of lips the bee
To woo thy petals open, O sweet,
His flowery murmur here repeat,
Forsaking all the joys of thyme.
Stain not thy perfumed prime
With care for autumn's pale decay,
But live like these thy sunny day.
So when thy tender bloom must fall,
Then shalt thou be as one who tasted all
Life's honey and must now depart
A broken prodigal from pleasure's mart,
A leaf with whom each golden sunbeam sinned,
A dewy leaf and kissed by every wandering wind.

Glaucus

How various are thy children, earth!
Behold the rose her lovely birth,
What fires from the bud proceed,
As if the vernal air did bleed.
Breezes and sunbeams, bees and dews
Her lords and lovers she indues,
And these her crimson pleasures prove;
Her life is but a bath of love;
The wide world perfumes when she sighs
And, burning all the winds, of love she dies.
The lily liveth pure,
Yet has she lovers, friends,
And each her bliss intends;
The bees besides her treasure
Besiege of pollened pleasure,
Nor long her gates endure.
The snowdrop cold
Has vowed the saintly state to hold
And far from green spring's amorous guilds
Her snowy hermitage she builds.
Cowslip attends her vernal duty
And stops the heart with beauty.
The crocus asks no vernal thing,
But all the lovely lights of spring
Are with rich honeysuckle boon
And praise her through one summer moon.
Thus the sweet children of the earth
Fulfil their natural selves and various birth.
For one is proud and one sweet months approve
Diana's saint, but most are bondmaidens of Love.
 
Love's feet were on the sea
When he dawned on me.
His wings were purple-grained and slow;
His voice was very sweet and very low;
His rose-lit cheeks, his eyes' pale bloom
Were sorrow's anteroom;
His wings did cause melodious moan;
His mouth was like a rose o'erblown;
The cypress-garland of renown
Did make his shadowy crown.
Fair as the spring he gave
And sadder than a winter's wave
And sweet as sunless asphodel,
My shining lily, Florimel,
My heart's enhaloed moon,
My winter's warmth, my summer's shady boon.

Aethon

Not from the mighty sea
Love visited me.
I found as in a jewelled box
Love, rose-red, sleeping with imprisoned locks;
And I have ever known him wild
And merry as a child,
As roses red, as roses sweet,
The west wind in his feet,
Tulip-girdled, kind and bold,
With heartsease in his curls of gold,
Since in the silver mist
Bright Cymothea's lips I kissed,
Whose laughter dances like a gleam
Of sunlight on a hidden stream
That through a wooded way
Runs suddenly into the perfect day.
But what were Cymothea, placed
Where like a silver star Myrtilla blooms?
Such light as cressets cast
In long and sun-lit rooms.
Thy presence is to her
As oak to juniper,
Thy beauty as the gorgeous rose
To privet by the lane that blows,
Gold-crowned blooms to mere fresh grass,
Eternal ivy to brief blooms that pass.

Glaucus

But Florimel beside thee, sweet,
Pales like a candle in the brilliant noon.
Snowdrops are thy feet,
Thy waist a crescent moon,
And like a silver wand
Thy body slight doth stand
Or like a silver beech aspire.
Thine arms are walls for white caresses,
Thy mouth a tale of crimson kisses,
Thine eyes two amorous treasuries of fire.
To what shall poet liken thee?
Art thou a goddess of the sea
Purple-tressed and laughter-lipped
From thy choric sisters slipped
To wander on the flowery land?
Or art thou siren on the treacherous sand
Summer-voiced to charm the ear
Of the wind-vext mariner?
Ah! but what are these to thee,
Brighter gem than knows the sea,
Lovelier girl than sees the stream
Naked, Naiad of a dream,
Whiter Dryad than men see
Dancing round the lone oak-tree,
Flower and most enchanting birth
Of ten ages of the earth!
The Graces in thy body move
And in thy lips the ruby hue of Love.
1890 - 92

Perfect thy motion

Perfect thy motion ever within me,
        Master of mind.
Grey of the brain, flash of the lightning,
        Brilliant and blind,
These thou linkest, the world to mould,
Writing the thought in a scroll of gold
        Violet-lined.

Tablet of brain thou hast made for thy writing,
        Master divine.
Calmly thou writest or full of thy grandeur
        Flushed as with wine,
Then with a laugh thou erasest the scroll,
Bringing another, like waves that roll
        And sink supine.
1890 - 1900

Phaethon

Ye weeping poplars by the shelvy slope
        From murmurous lawns down-dropping to the stream
        On whom the dusk air like a sombre dream
Broods and a twilight ignorant of hope,
        Say what compulsion drear has bid you seam
Your mossy sides with drop on eloquent drop
That in warm rillets from your eyes elope?
 
Is it for the too patient sure decay
        Pale-gilded Autumn, aesthete of the years,
        A gorgeous death, a fading glory wears
That thus along the tufted, downy way
        Creep slothfully this ooze of amber tears
And thus with tearful gusts your branches sway
Sighing a requiem to your emerald day?
1890 - 92

To a Hero-Worshipper

I

My life is then a wasted ereme,
        My song but idle wind
        Because you merely find
In all this woven wealth of rhyme
Harsh figures with harsh music wound,
        The uncouth voice of gorgeous birds,
A ruby carcanet of sound,
        A cloud of lovely words?

I am, you say, no magic-rod,
        No cry oracular,
        No swart and ominous star,
No Sinai-thunder voicing God,
I have no burden to my song,
        No smouldering word instinct with fire,
No spell to chase triumphant wrong,
        No spirit-sweet desire.

Mine is not Byron's lightning spear,
        Nor Wordsworth's lucid strain
        Nor Shelley's lyric pain,
Nor Keats', the poet without peer.
I by the Indian waters vast
Did glimpse the magic of the past,
And on the oaten-pipe I play
Warped echoes of an earlier day.

II

My friend, when first my spirit woke,
        I trod the scented maze
        Of Fancy's myriad ways,
I studied Nature like a book
        Men rack for meanings; yet I find
No rubric in the scarlet rose,
        No moral in the murmuring wind,
No message in the snows.
 
For me the daisy shines a star,
        The crocus flames a spire,
        A horn of golden fire,
Narcissus glows a silver bar:
Cowslips, the golden breath of God,
        I deem the poet's heritage,
And lilies silvering the sod
        Breathe fragrance from his page.

No herald of the Sun am I,
        But in a moon-lit veil
        A russet nightingale
Who pours sweet song, he knows not why,
        Who pours like a wine a gurgling note
        Paining with sound his swarthy throat,
Who pours sweet song, he recks not why,
Nor hushes ever lest he die.
September 1891

Estelle

        Why do thy lucid eyes survey,
Estelle, their sisters in the milky way?
        The blue heavens cannot see
        Thy beauty nor the planets praise.
Blindly they walk their old accustomed ways.
        Turn hither for felicity.
        My body's earth thy vernal power declares,
        My spirit is a heaven of thousand stars,
And all these lights are thine and open doors on thee.
1890 - 92

O Coil, Coil

O coil, honied envoy of the spring,
Cease thy too happy voice, grief's record, cease:
For I recall that day of vernal trees,
The soft asoca's bloom, the laden winds
And green felicity of leaves, the hush,
The sense of Nature living in the woods.
Only the river rippled, only hummed
The languid murmuring bee, far-borne and slow,
Emparadised in odours, only used
The ringdove his divine heart-moving speech;
But sweetest to my pleased and singing heart
Thy voice, O coil, in the peepel tree.
 
O me! for pleasure turned to bitterest tears!
O me! for the swift joy, too great to live,
That only bloomed one hour! O wondrous day,
That crowned the bliss of those delicious years.
The vernal radiance of my lover's lips
Was shut like a red rose upon my mouth,
His voice was richer than the murmuring leaves,
His love around me than the summer air.
Five hours entangled in the coil's cry
Lay my beloved twixt my happy breasts.
O voice of tears! O sweetness uttering death!
O lost ere yet that happy cry was still!
 
O tireless voice of spring! Again I lie
In odorous gloom of trees; unseen and near
The windlark gurgles in the golden leaves,
The woodworm spins in shrillness on the bough:
Thou by the waters wailing to thy love,
O chocrobacque! have comfort, since to thee
The dawn brings sweetest recompense of tears
And she thou lovest hears thy pain. But I
Am desolate in the heart of fruitful months,
Am widowed in the sight of happy things,
Uttering my moan to the unhoused winds,
O coil, coil, to the winds and thee.
1890 - 92

Hic Jacet

Glasnevin Cemetery

Patriots, behold your guerdon. This man found
Erin, his mother, bleeding, chastised, bound,
Naked to imputation, poor, denied,
While alien masters held her house of pride.
And now behold her! Terrible and fair
With the eternal ivy in her hair,
Armed with the clamorous thunder, how she stands
Like Pallas' self, the Gorgon in her hands.
True that her puissance will be easily past,
The vision ended; she herself has cast
Her fate behind her: yet the work not vain
Since that which once has been may be again,
And she this image yet recover, fired
With godlike workings, brain and hands inspired,
So stand, the blush of battle on her cheek,
Voice made armipotent, deeds that loudly speak,
Like some dread Sphinx, half patent to the eye,
Half veiled in formidable secrecy.
And he who raised her from her forlorn life
Loosening the fountains of that mighty strife,
Where sits he? On what high foreshadowing throne
Guarded by grateful hearts? Beneath this stone
He lies: this guerdon only Ireland gave,
A broken heart and an unhonoured grave.
1890 - 92

Lines on Ireland

1896

After six hundred years did Fate intend
Her perfect perseverance thus should end?
So many years she strove, so many years,
Enduring toil, enduring bitter tears,
She waged religious war, with sword and song
Insurgent against Fate and numbers, strong
To inflict as to sustain; her weak estate
Could not conceal the goddess in her gait;
Goddess her mood. Therefore that light was she
In whom races of weaker destiny
Their beauteous image of rebellion saw;
Treason could not unnerve, violence o'erawe -
A mirror to enslaved nations, never
O'ercome, though in the field defeated ever.
O mutability of human merit!
How changed, how fallen from her ancient spirit!
She that was Ireland, Ireland now no more,
In beggar's weeds behold at England's door
Neglected sues or at the best returned
With hollow promise, happy if not spurned
Perforce, she that had yesterday disdained
Less than her mighty purpose to have gained.
Had few short change of seasons puissance then,
O nurse and mother of heroic men,
Thy genius to outwear, thy strength well-placed
And old traditionary courage, waste
Thy vehement nature? Nay, not time, but thou
These ancient praises strov'st to disavow.
For 'tis not foreign force, nor weight of wars,
Nor treason, nor surprise, nor opposite stars,
Not all these have enslaved nor can, whate'er
Vulgar opinion bruit, nor years impair,
Ruin discourage, nor disease abate
A nation. Men are fathers of their fate;
They dig the prison, they the crown command.
Yet thine own self a little understand,
Unhappy country, and be wise at length.
An outward weakness doing deeds of strength
Amazed the nations, but a power within
Directed, like effective spirit unseen
Behind the mask of trivial forms, a source
And fund of tranquil and collected force.
This was the sense that made thee royal, blessed
With sanction from on high and that impressed
Which could thyself transfigure and infuse
Thine action with such pride as kings do use.
But thou to thine own self disloyal, hast
Renounced the help divine, turning thy past
To idle legends and fierce tales of blood,
Mere violent wrath with no proposed good.
Therefore effective wisdom, skill to bend
All human things to one predestined end
Renounce thee. Honest purpose, labour true,
These dwell not with the self-appointed crew
Who, having conquered by death's aid, abuse
The public ear, - for seldom men refuse
Credence, when mediocrity multiplied
Equals itself with genius - fools! whose pride
Absurd the gods permit a little space
To please their souls with laughter, then replace
In the loud limbo of futilities.
How fallen art thou being ruled by these!
Ignoble hearts, courageous to effect
Their country's ruin; such the heavens reject
For their high agencies and leave exempt
Of force, mere mouths and vessels of contempt.
They of thy famous past and nature real
Uncareful, have denied thy rich ideal
For private gains, the burden would not brook
Of that sustaining genius, when it took
A form of visible power, since it demanded
All meaner passions for its sake disbanded.
As once against the loud Euphratic host
The lax Ionians of the Asian coast
Drew out their numbers, but not long enduring
Rigorous hard-hearted toil to the alluring
Cool shadow of the olives green withdrew;
Freedom's preparators though well they knew
Labour exact, discipline, pains well nerved
In the severe unpitying sun, yet swerved
From their ordeal; Ireland so deceiving
The world's great hope, her temples large relieving
Of the too heavy laurel, rather chose
Misery, civil battle, triumphant foes
Than rational order and divine control.
Therefore her brighter fate and nobler soul
Glasnevin with that hardly-honoured bier
Received. But the immortal mind austere,
By man rejected, of eternal praise
Has won its meed and sits with heavenly bays,
Not variable breath of favour, crowned
On high. And grieves it not, spirit renowned,
Mortal ingratitude though now forgiven,
Grieves it not, even on the hills of heaven,
After so many mighty toils, defeats
So many, cold repulse and vernal heats
Of hope, iron endurance throned apart
In lonely strength within thy godlike heart,
Obloquy faced, health lost, the goal nigh won,
To see at last thy strenuous work undone?
So falls it ever when a race condemned
To strict and lasting bondage, have contemned
Their great deliverer, self and ease preferring
To labour's crown, by their own vileness erring.
Thus the uncounselled Israelites of old,
Binding their mightiest, for their own ease sold,
Who else had won them glorious liberty
To his Philistian foes, as thine did thee.
Thou likewise, had thy puissant soul endured
Within its ruined house to stay immured,
With parallel disaster and o'erthrow
Hadst daunted and their conjured strength laid low.
But time was adverse. Thus too Heracles
In exile closed by the Olynthian seas,
Not seeing Thebes nor Dirce any more,
His friendless eyelids on an alien shore.
Yet not unbidden of heaven the men renowned
Have laboured, though no fruit apparent crowned
Nor praise contemporary touched with leaf
Of civic favour, who for joy or grief
To throned injustice never bowed the head.
They triumph from the houses of the dead.
Thou too, high spirit, mighty genius, glass
Of patriots, into others' deeds shalt pass
With force and tranquil fortitude thy dower,
An inspiration and a fount of power.
Nor to thy country only nor thy day
Art thou a name and a possession, stay
Of loftiest natures, but where'er and when
In time's full ripeness and the date of men
Alien oppression maddened has the wise, -
For ever thus preparing Nemesis
In ruling nations unjust power has borne
Insolence, injustice, madness, outrage, scorn,
Its natural children, then, by high disdain
And brave example pushed to meet their pain,
The pupils of thy greatness shall appear,
Souls regal to the mould divine most near,
And reign, or rise on throne-intending wings,
Making thee father to a line of kings.
1896

Charles Stewart Parnell

1891

O pale and guiding light, now star unsphered,
Deliverer lately hailed, since by our lords
Most feared, most hated, hated because feared,
Who smot'st them with an edge surpassing swords!
Thou too wert then a child of tragic earth,
Since vainly filled thy luminous doom of birth.
1891

Night by the Sea

Love, a moment drop thy hands;
Night within my soul expands.
Veil thy beauties milk-rose-fair
In that dark and showering hair.
Coral kisses ravish not
When the soul is tinged with thought;
Burning looks are then forbid.
Let each shyly-parted lid
Hover like a settling dove
O'er those deep-blue wells of Love.
Darkness brightens; silvering flee
Pomps of foam the driven sea.
 
In this garden's dim repose
Lighted with the burning rose,
Soft narcissi's golden camp
Glimmering or with rosier lamp
Censored honeysuckle guessed
By the fragrance of her breast, -
Here where summer's hands have crowned
Silence in the fields of sound,
Here felicity should be.
Hearken, Edith, to the sea.
 
What a voice of grief intrudes
On these happy solitudes!
To the wind that with him dwells
Ocean, old historian, tells
All the dreadful heart of tears
Hidden in the pleasant years.
Summer's children, what do ye
By the stern and cheerless sea?
 
Not we first nor we alone
Heard the mighty Ocean moan
By this treasure-house of flowers
In the sweet ambiguous hours.
Many a girl's lips ruby-red
With their vernal honey fed
Happy mouths, and soft cheeks flushed
With Love's rosy sunlight blushed.
Ruddy lips of many a boy
Blithe discovered hills of joy
Ruby-guided through a kiss
To the sweet highways of bliss.
Here they saw the evening still
Coming slowly from the hill
And the patient stars arise
To their outposts in the skies;
Heard the ocean shoreward urge
The speed and thunder of his surge,
Singing heard as though a bee
Noontide waters on the sea.
These no longer. For our rose
In her place they wreathed once, blows,
And thy glorious garland, sweet,
Kissed not once those wandering feet.
All the lights of spring are ended,
To the wintry haven wended.
Beauty's boons and nectarous leisure,
Lips, the honeycombs of pleasure,
Cheeks enrosed, Love's natal soil,
Breasts, the ardent conqueror's spoil,
Spring rejects; a lovelier child
His brittle fancies has beguiled.
O her name that to repeat
Than the Dorian muse more sweet
Could the white hand more relume
Writing and refresh the bloom
Of lips that used such syllables then,
Dies unloved by later men.
Are we more than summer flowers?
Shall a longer date be ours,
Rose and springtime, youth and we
By the everlasting sea?
 
Are they blown as legends tell
In the smoke and gurge of hell?
Writhe they in relucent gyres
O'er a circle sad of fires?
In what lightless groves must they
Or unmurmuring alleys stray?
Fields no sunlight visits, streams
Where no happy lotus gleams?
Yet, where'er their steps below,
Memories sweet for comrades go.
Lethe's waters had their will,
But the soul remembers still.
Beauty pays her boon of breath
To thy narrow credit, Death,
Leaving a brief perfume; we
Perish also by the sea.
 
We shall lose, ah me! too soon
Lose the clear and silent moon,
The serenities of night
And the deeper evening light.
We shall know not when the morn
In the widening East is born,
Never feel the west-wind stir,
Spring's delightful messenger,
Never under branches lain
Dally with the sweet-lipped rain,
Watch the moments of the tree,
Nor know the sounds that tread the sea.
 
With thy kisses chase this gloom: -
Thoughts, the children of the tomb.
Kiss me, Edith. Soon the night
Comes and hides the happy light.
Nature's vernal darlings dead
From new founts of life are fed.
Dawn relumes the immortal skies.
Ah! what boon for earth-closed eyes?
Love's sweet debts are standing, sweet;
Honied payment to complete
Haste - a million is to pay -
Lest too soon the allotted day
End and we oblivious keep
Darkness and eternal sleep.
See! the moon from heaven falls.
In thy bosom's snow-white walls
Softly and supremely housed
Shut my heart up; keep it closed
Like a rose of Indian grain,
Like that rose against the rain,
Closed to all that life applauds,
Nature's perishable gauds,
And the airs that burdened be
With such thoughts as shake the sea.
1890 - 92

A Thing Seen

She in her garden, near the high grey wall,
Sleeping; a silver-bodied birch-tree tall
That held its garments o'er her wide and green
Building a parapet of shade between,
Forbidding the amorous sun to look on her.
No fold of gracious raiment was astir.
The wind walked softly; silent moved a cloud
Listening; of all the tree no leaf was loud,
But guarded a divine expectant hush
Thrilled by the silence of a hidden thrush.
1890 - 1900

The Lover's Complaint

O plaintive, murmuring reed, begin thy strain;
        Unloose that heavenly tongue,
        Interpreter divine of pain;
Utter thy voice, the sister of my song.
Thee in the silver waters growing,
Arcadian Pan, strange whispers blowing
Into thy delicate stops, did teach
A language lovelier than speech.
 
O plaintive, murmuring reed, begin thy strain;
        O plaintive, murmuring reed.
        Nisa to Mopsus is decreed,
The moonwhite Nisa to a swarthy swain.
What love-gift now shall Hope not bring?
Election dwells no more with beauty's king.
The wild weed now has wed the rose,
Now ivy on the bramble grows;
Too happy lover, fill the lamp of bliss!
Too happy lover, drunk with Nisa's kiss!
For thee pale Cynthia leaves her golden car,
For thee from Tempe stoops the white and evening star.
 
O plaintive, murmuring reed, renew thy strain;
        O solace anguish yet again.
        I thought Love soft as velvet sleep,
Sweeter than dews nocturnal breezes weep,
Cool as water in a murmuring pass
And shy as violets in the vernal grass,
But hard as Nisa's heart is he
And salt as the unharvestable sea.
 
O plaintive, murmuring reed, renew thy strain.
        One morn she came; her mouth
        Breathing the odours of the south,
With happy eyes and heaving bosom fain.
She asked for fruit long-stored in autumn's hold.
These gave I; from the branch dislodged I threw
Sweet-hearted apples in their age of gold
And pears divine for taste and hue.
And one I saw, should all the rest excel;
But error led my plucking hand astray
And with a sudden sweet dismay
My heart into her apron fell.
 
O plaintive, murmuring reed, renew thy strain.
        My bleeding heart awhile
        She kept and bloomed upon its pain,
Then slighted as a broken thing and vile.
Now Mopsus in his unblest arms,
Mopsus enfolds her heavenlier charms,
Mopsus to whom the Muse averse
Refused her gracious secrets to rehearse.
 
O plaintive, murmuring reed, breathe yet thy strain.
        Ye glades, your bliss I grudge you not,
        Nor would I that my grief profane
Your sacred summer with intruding thought.
Yet since I will no more behold
Your glorious beauty stained with gold
From shadows of her hair, nor by some well
Made naked of their sylvan dress
The breasts, the limbs I never shall possess,
Therefore, O mother Arethuse, farewell.
 
For me no place abides
By the green verge of thy beloved tides.
To Lethe let my footsteps go
And wailing waters in the realms below,
Where happier song is none than moaning pain
Nor any lovelier Syrinx than the weed.
Child of the lisping waters, hush thy strain,
O murmuring, plaintive reed.
1890 - 92

Love in Sorrow

Do you remember, Love, that sunset pale
        When from near meadows sad with mist the breeze
Sighed like a feverous soul and with soft wail
        The ghostly river sobbed among the trees?
I think that Nature heard our misery
Weep to itself and wept for sympathy.
 
For we were strangers then; we knew not Fate
        In ambush by the solitary stream
Nor did our sorrows hope to find a mate,
        Much less of love or friendship dared we dream.
Rather we thought that loneliness and we
Were wed in marble perpetuity.
 
For there was none who loved me, no, not one.
        Alas, what was there that a man should love?
For I was misery's last and frailest son
        And even my mother bade me homeless rove.
And I had wronged my youth and nobler powers
By weak attempts, small failures, wasted hours.
 
Therefore I laid my cheek on the chill grass
        And murmured, "I am overborne with grief
And joy to richer natures hopes to pass.
        Oh me! my life is like an aspen leaf
That shakes but will not fall. My thoughts are blind
And life so bitter that death seems almost kind.
 
"How am I weary of the days' increase,
        Of the moon's brightness and the splendid stars,
The sun that dies not. I would be at peace,
        Nor blind my soul with images, nor force
My lips to mirth whose later taste is death,
Nor with vain utterance load my weary breath."
 
Thus murmured I aloud nor deemed I spoke
        To human ears, but you were hidden, sweet,
Behind the willows when my plaining broke
        Upon your lonely muse. Ah, kindly feet
That brushed the grass in tender haste to bind
Another's wounds, you were less wise than kind.
 
You said, "My brother, lift your forlorn eyes;
        I am your sister more than you unblest."
I looked upon your face, the book of sighs
        And index to incurable unrest.
I rose and kissed you, sweet. Your lips were warm
And drew my heart out like a witch's charm.
 
We parted where the sacred spires arose
        In silent power above the silent street.
I saw you mid the rose-trees, O white rose,
        Linger a moment, then the dusk defeat
My eyes, and, listening, heard your footsteps fade
On the sad leaves of the autumnal glade.
 
And were you happy, sweet? In me I know -
        For either in my blood the autumn sang
His own pale requiem or that new sweet glow
        Failed in the light of bitter knowledge - rang
A voice that said, "Behold the loves too pure
To live, the joy that never shall endure."
 
This too I know, nor is my hope so bright
        But that it sees its autumn cold and sere
Attending with a pale and solemn light
        Beyond the gardens of the vernal year.
Yet will I not my weary heart constrain
But take you, sweet, and sweet surcease from pain.
1890 - 92

The Island Grave

Ocean is there and evening; the slow moan
        Of the blue waves that like a shaken robe
Two heard together once, one hears alone.
        Now gliding white and hushed towards our globe
Keen January with cold eyes and clear
        And snowdrops pendent in each frosty lobe

Ushers the firstborn of the radiant year.
        Haply his feet that grind the breaking mould,
May brush the dead grass on thy secret bier,
        Haply his joyless fingers wan and cold
Caress the ruined masses of thy hair,
        Pale child of winter, dead ere youth was old.

Art thou so desolate in that bitter air
        That even his breath feels warm upon thy face?
Ah, till the daffodil is born, forbear,
        And I will meet thee in that lonely place.
Then the grey dawn shall end my hateful days
        And death admit me to the silent ways.
1890 - 92

Bankim Chandra Chatterji

How hast thou lost, O month of honey and flowers,
The voice that was thy soul! Creative showers,
The cuckoo's daylong cry and moan of bees,
Zephyrs and streams and softly-blossoming trees
And murmuring laughter and heart-easing tears
And tender thoughts and great and the compeers
Of lily and jasmine and melodious birds,
All these thy children into lovely words
He changed at will and made soul-moving books
From hearts of men and women's honied looks.
O master of delicious words! the bloom
Of chompuk and the breath of king-perfume
Have made each musical sentence with the noise
Of women's ornaments and sweet household joys
And laughter tender as the voice of leaves
Playing with vernal winds. The eye receives
That reads these lines an image of delight,
A world with shapes of spring and summer, noon and night;
All nature in a page, no pleasing show
But men more real than the friends we know.
O plains, O hills, O rivers of sweet Bengal,
O land of love and flowers, the spring-bird's call
And southern wind are sweet among your trees:
Your poet's words are sweeter far than these.
Your heart was this man's heart. Subtly he knew
The beauty and divinity in you.
His nature kingly was and as a god
In large serenity and light he trod
His daily way, yet beauty, like soft flowers
Wreathing a hero's sword, ruled all his hours.
Thus moving in these iron times and drear,
Barren of bliss and robbed of golden cheer,
He sowed the desert with ruddy-hearted rose,
The sweetest voice that ever spoke in prose.
1890 - 1900

Saraswati with the Lotus

Bankim Chandra Chatterji. Obiit 1894

Thy tears fall fast, O mother, on its bloom,
O white-armed mother, like honey fall thy tears;
Yet even their sweetness can no more relume
The golden light, the fragrance heaven rears,
The fragrance and the light for ever shed
Upon his lips immortal who is dead.
1894

Goethe

A perfect face amid barbarian faces,
A perfect voice of sweet and serious rhyme,
Traveller with calm, inimitable paces,
Critic with judgment absolute to all time,
A complete strength when men were maimed and weak,
German obscured the spirit of a Greek.
1890 - 92

The Lost Deliverer

Pythian he came; repressed beneath his heel
The hydra of the world with bruised head.
Vainly, since Fate's immeasurable wheel
Could parley with a straw. A weakling sped
The bullet when to custom's usual night
We fell because a woman's faith was light.
1890 - 92

Madhusudan Dutt

Poet, who first with skill inspired did teach
Greatness to our divine Bengali speech, -
Divine, but rather with delightful moan
Spring's golden mother makes when twin-alone
She lies with golden Love and heaven's birds
Call hymeneal with enchanting words
Over their passionate faces, rather these
Than with the calm and grandiose melodies
(Such calm as consciousness of godhead owns)
The high gods speak upon their ivory thrones
Sitting in council high, - till taught by thee
Fragrance and noise of the world-shaking sea.
Thus do they praise thee who amazed espy
Thy winged epic and hear the arrows cry
And journeyings of alarmed gods; and due
The praise, since with great verse and numbers new
Thou mad'st her godlike who was only fair.
And yet my heart more perfectly ensnare
Thy soft impassioned flutes and more thy Muse
To wander in the honied months doth choose
Than courts of kings, with Sita in the grove
Of happy blossoms, (O musical voice of love
Murmuring sweet words with sweeter sobs between!)
With Shoorpa in the Vindhyan forests green
Laying her wonderful heart upon the sod
Made holy by the well-loved feet that trod
Its vocal shades; and more unearthly bright
Thy jewelled songs made of relucent light
Wherein the birds of spring and summer and all flowers
And murmuring waters flow, her widowed hours
Making melodious who divinely loved.
No human hands such notes ambrosial moved;
These accents are not of the imperfect earth;
Rather the god was voiceful in their birth,
The god himself of the enchanting flute,
The god himself took up thy pen and wrote.
1890 - 1900

Envoi

        Ite hinc, Camenae, vos quoque ite jam, sane
        Dulces Camenae, nam fatebimur verum
        Dulces fuistis, et tamen meas chartas
        Revisitote sed pudenter et raro.
       

Pale poems, weak and few, who vainly use
Your wings towards the unattainable spheres,
Offspring of the divine Hellenic Muse,
Poor maimed children born of six disastrous years!
 
Not as your mother's is your wounded grace,
Since not to me with equal love returned
The hope which drew me to that serene face
Wherein no unreposeful light of effort burned.
 
Depart and live for seasons many or few
If live you may, but stay not here to pain
My heart with hopeless passion and renew
Visions of beauty that my lips shall ne'er attain.
 
For in Sicilian olive-groves no more
Or seldom must my footprints now be seen,
Nor tread Athenian lanes, nor yet explore
Parnassus or thy voiceful shores, O Hippocrene.
 
Me from her lotus heaven Saraswati
Has called to regions of eternal snow
And Ganges pacing to the southern sea,
Ganges upon whose shores the flowers of Eden blow.
1890 - 92

The Spring Child

On Basanti's Birthday - Jyestha 1900

Of Spring is her name for whose bud and blooming
        We praise today the Giver, -
Of Spring, and its sweetness clings about her
For her face is Spring and Spring's without her,
        As loth to leave her.

See, it is summer; the brilliant sunlight
        Lies hard on stream and plain,
And all things wither with heats diurnal;
But she! how vanished things and vernal
        In her remain.

And almost indeed we repine and marvel
        To watch her bloom and grow;
For half we had thought our sweet bud could never
Bloom out, but must surely remain for ever
        The child we know.

But now though summer must come and autumn
        In God's high governing
Yet I deem that her soul with soft insistence
Shall guard through all change the sweet existence
        And charm of Spring.

O dear child soul, our loved and cherished,
        For this thy days had birth,
Like some tender flower on some grey stone portal
To sweeten and flush with childhood immortal
        The ageing earth.

There are flowers in God's garden of prouder blooming
        Brilliant and bold and bright,
The tulip and rose are fierier and brighter,
But this has a softer hue, a whiter
        And milder light.

Long be thy days in rain and sunshine,
        Often thy spring relume,
Gladdening thy mother's heart with thy beauty,
Flowerlike doing thy gentle duty
        To be loved and bloom.
1900

Since I have seen your face

Since I have seen your face at the window, sweet
Love, you have thrown a spell on my heart, my feet.
My heart to your face, my feet to your window still
Bear me by force as if by an alien will.
 
O witch of beauty, O Circe with innocent eyes,
You have suddenly caught me fast in a net of sighs.
I look at the sunlight, I see your laughing face;
When I purchase a flower, it is you in your radiant grace.
 
I have tried to save my soul alive from your snare,
I will strive no more; let it flutter and perish there.
I too will snare your body alive, O my dove,
And teach you all the torture and sweetness of love.
 
When you have looked from the window out on the trampling city,
Did you think to take my heart and pay me with pity?
But you looked at one who has ever mocked at sin
And gambled with life to lose her all or win.
 
I will pluck you forth like a fluttering bird from her nest.
You shall lie on Love's strong knees, in his white warm breast,
Afraid, with delighted lids that will not close.
You shall grow white one moment, the next a rose.
1890 - 1900

Euphrosyne

Child of the infant years, Euphrosyne,
Bird of my boyhood, youth's blithe deity!
If I have hymned thee not with lyric phrase,
Preferring Eros or Aglaia's praise,
Frown not, thou lovely spirit, leave me not.
Man worships the ungrasped. His vagrant thought
Still busy with the illimitable void
Lives all the time by little things upbuoyed
Which he contemns; the wife unsung remains
Sharing his pleasures, taking half his pains,
While to dream faces mounts the poet's song.
Yet she makes not their lyric light her wrong,
Knowing her homely eyes his sorrow's star
Smiles at the eclipsing brow untouched by care.
Content with human love lightly she yields
The immortal fancy its Elysian fields.
1890 - 1900

The Nightingale

An Impression

Hark in the trees the low-voiced nightingale
Has slain the silence with a jubilant cry;
How clear in the hushed night, yet voluble
And various as sweet water wavering by,
        That murmurs in a channel small
        Beneath a low grey wall,
        Then sings amid the fitful rye.
        O sweet grave Siren of the night,
Astarte's eremite,
Thou feedest every leaf with solemn glee,
Lo, the night-winds sigh happier, being chid by thee.
1890 - 1900

Song

O lady Venus, shine on me,
O rose-crowned goddess from thy seas
Radiant among the Cyclades!
O rose-crowned, puissant like the sea.
 
And bring thy Graces three,
The swift companions of thy mirthful mind,
Bring thy sweet rogue with thee,
Thy careless archer, beautiful and blind.
 
A woman's royal heart
Bid him to wound and bind her who is free;
Bind her for me!
Nor for the sweet bright crimson blood may start
In little rillets from the little heart
Spare her thy sport to be,
Goddess, she spared not me.
1890 - 1900

Epigram

If thou wouldst traverse Time with vagrant feet
Nor make the poles thy limit, fill not then
Thy wallet with the fancy's cloying sweet
        Which is no stay to heaven-aspiring men,
But follow wisdom since alone the wise
Can walk through fire with unblinking eyes.
1890 - 1900

The Three Cries of Deiphobus

Awake, awake, O sleeping men of Troy,
That sleep and know not in the grasp of Hell
I perish in the treacherous lonely night
To foes betrayed, environed and undone.
O Trojans, will ye sleep until the doom
Have slipped its leash and bark upon your doors?
Not long will ye, unless in Pluto's realm,
Have slumber, since forsaken among foes
I drink the bitter cup of lonely death
Unheeded and from helping faces far.
O Trojans, Trojans, yet again I call!
Swift help we need, or Ilion's days are done.
1890 - 1900

Epitaph

Moulded of twilight and the vesper star
Midnight in her with noon made quiet war; -
Moulded twixt life and death, Love came between;
Then the night fell; twilight faded, the star had been.
1890 - 1900

A Doubt

Many boons the new years make us
        But the old world's gifts were three,
Dove of Cypris, wine of Bacchus,
        Pan's sweet pipe in Sicily.

Love, wine, song, the core of living
        Sweetest, oldest, musicalest.
If at end of forward striving
        These, Life's first, proved also best?
1890 - 1900

Perigune Prologuises

Cool may you find the youngling grass, my herd,
Cool with delicious dew, while I here dream
And listen to the sweet and garrulous bird
That matches its cool note with Thea's stream.
Boon Zephyr now with waist ungirdled runs,
And you, O luminous nurslings, wider blow,
O nurslings of light rain and vernal suns,
When bounteous winds about the garden go.
Apt to my soul art thou, blithe honeyed moon,
O lovely mother of the rose-red June.
Zephyr that all things soothes, enhances all,
Dwells with thee softly, the near cuckoo drawn
To farther groves with sweet inviting call
And dewy buds upon the blossoming lawn.
But ah, today some happy soft unrest
Aspires and pants in my unquiet breast,
As if some light were from the day withdrawn,
As if the flitting Zephyr knew a lovelier word
Than it had spoken yet, and flower and bird
Kept still some grace that yet is left to bloom,
Had still a note I never yet have heard,
That, blossoming, would the wide air more illume,
That, spoken, would advance the sweet Spring's bounds
With large serener lights and joy of exquisite sounds.
 
Nor have I any in whose ears to tell
This gracious grief and so by words have peace,
Save the cold hyacinth in the breezy dell
And the sweet cuckoo in the sunlit trees
Since the sharp autumn days when with increase
Of rosy-lighted cheeks attained the ground
Weary of waiting and by wasps hung round
The bough's fair hangings and Thea fell with these,
My mother, with twelve matron summers crowned.
Four times since then the visits of green spring
Have blessed the hillsides with fresh blossoming
And four times has the winter chilled the brooks,
Since sole I dwell with my rude father, cheered
By no low-worded speech or sunny looks.
Yet are we rich enough, fruitful our herd
And yields us brimming pails and store we still
Numberless baskets with white cheese and fill
Our cave with fruits for winter, and since wide-feared
My father Sinnis, none have care our wealth to spoil.
Therefore I pass sweet days with easy toil,
Nor other care have much but milk the kine
And call them out to graze in soft sunshine
And stall them when the evening-star grows large.
All else is pleasure, budded wreaths to twine
And please my soul beside my horned charge
And bathe in the delicious brook that speeds,
Iris and water-lily capped and green with reeds.
 
Nor need we flocks for clothing nor the shears;
For when the echoes in the mountain rocks
Mimic the groaning wain that moving peers
Between thick trees or under granite blocks,
Our needs my father takes, nor any yet
Scaped him who breaks the wrestler as these twines
Of bloom I break, so he with little sweat,
And tears the women with dividing pines.
Therefore thin gleaming robes and ruddy wines
We garner, flickering swords in jewelled case
And burning jewels and the beautiful gold
Whereof bright plenty now our caverns hold
And ornaments of utter exquisiteness.
But if these brilliants of their pleasure fail,
The lily blooms from vale to scented vale
And crocus lifts in Spring its golden fire.
Our midnight hears the warbling nightingale,
The cuckoo calls as he would never tire;
Along our hills we pluck the purple grapes,
And in the night a million stars arise
To watch us with their ancient friendly eyes.
Such flowering ease I have and earth's sweet shapes;
And riches, and the green and hived springs.
Ah then what longing wakes for new and lovelier things!
1890 - 1900  

Short poems 1895 - 1908

Invitation

With wind and the weather beating round me
        Up to the hill and the moorland I go.
Who will come with me? Who will climb with me?
        Wade through the brook and tramp through the snow?

Not in the petty circle of cities
        Cramped by your doors and your walls I dwell;
Over me God is blue in the welkin,
        Against me the wind and the storm rebel.

I sport with solitude here in my regions,
        Of misadventure have made me a friend.
Who would live largely? Who would live freely?
        Here to the wind-swept uplands ascend.

I am the lord of tempest and mountain,
        I am the Spirit of freedom and pride.
Stark must he be and a kinsman to danger
        Who shares my kingdom and walks at my side.
1908 - 09 (Alipore Jail)

Who

In the blue of the sky, in the green of the forest,
        Whose is the hand that has painted the glow?
When the winds were asleep in the womb of the ether,
        Who was it roused them and bade them to blow?

He is lost in the heart, in the cavern of Nature,
        He is found in the brain where He builds up the thought:
In the pattern and bloom of the flowers He is woven,
        In the luminous net of the stars He is caught.

In the strength of a man, in the beauty of woman,
        In the laugh of a boy, in the blush of a girl;
The hand that sent Jupiter spinning through heaven,
        Spends all its cunning to fashion a curl.

These are His works and His veils and His shadows;
        But where is He then? by what name is He known?
Is He Brahma or Vishnu? a man or a woman?
        Bodied or bodiless? twin or alone?

We have love for a boy who is dark and resplendent,
        A woman is lord of us, naked and fierce.
We have seen Him a-muse on the snow of the mountains,
        We have watched Him at work in the heart of the spheres.

We will tell the whole world of His ways and His cunning:
        He has rapture of torture and passion and pain;
He delights in our sorrow and drives us to weeping,
        Then lures with His joy and His beauty again.

All music is only the sound of His laughter,
        All beauty the smile of His passionate bliss;
Our lives are His heart-beats, our rapture the bridal
        Of Radha and Krishna, our love is their kiss.

He is strength that is loud in the blare of the trumpets,
        And He rides in the car and He strikes in the spears;
He slays without stint and is full of compassion;
        He wars for the world and its ultimate years.

In the sweep of the worlds, in the surge of the ages,
        Ineffable, mighty, majestic and pure,
Beyond the last pinnacle seized by the thinker
        He is throned in His seats that for ever endure.

The Master of man and his infinite Lover,
        He is close to our hearts, had we vision to see;
We are blind with our pride and the pomp of our passions,
        We are bound in our thoughts where we hold ourselves free.

It is He in the sun who is ageless and deathless,
        And into the midnight His shadow is thrown;
When darkness was blind and engulfed within darkness,
        He was seated within it immense and alone.
1908 - 09

Reminiscence

My soul arose at dawn and, listening, heard
One voice abroad, a solitary bird,
A song not master of its note, a cry
That persevered into eternity.
My soul leaned out into the dawn to hear
In the world's solitude its winged compeer
And, hearkening what the Angel had to say,
Saw lustre in midnight and a secret day
Was opened to it. It beheld the stars
Born from a thought and knew how being prepares.
Then I remembered how I woke from sleep
And made the skies, built earth, formed Ocean deep.
1895 - 1908

A Vision of Science

I dreamed that in myself the world I saw,
Wherein three Angels strove for mastery. Law
Was one, clear vision and denial cold,
Yet in her limits strong, presumptuous, bold;
The second with enthusiasm bright,
Flame in her heart but round her brows the night,
Faded as this advanced. She could not bear
That searching gaze, nor the strong chilling air
These thoughts created, nourishing our parts
Of mind, but petrifying human hearts.
Science was one, the other gave her name,
Religion. But a third behind them came,
Veiled, vague, remote, and had as yet no right
Upon the world, but lived in her own light.
Wide were the victories of the Angel proud
Who conquered now and in her praise were loud
The nations. Few even yet to the other clove,-
And some were souls of night and some were souls of love.
But this was confident and throned. Her heralds ranged
Claiming that night was dead and all things changed;
For all things opened, all seemed clear, seemed bright -
Save the vast ranges that they left in night.
However, the light they shed upon the earth
Was great indeed, a firm and mighty birth.
A century's progress lived before my eyes.
Delivered from amazement and surprise,
Man's spirit measuring his worlds around
The laws of sight divined and laws of sound.
Light was not hidden from its searching gaze,
Nor matter could deny her myriad maze
To the cold enquiry; for the far came near,
The small loomed large, the intricate grew clear.
Measuring and probing the strong Angel strode,
Dissolving and combining, till she trod
Firmly among the stars, could weigh their forms,
Foretold the earthquakes, analysed the storms.
Doubt seemed to end and wonder's reign was closed.
The stony pages of the earth disclosed
Their unremembered secrets. Horses of steam
Were bitted and the lightnings made a team
To draw our chariots. Heaven was scaled at last
And the loud seas subdued. Distance resigned
Its strong obstructions to the mastering mind.
So moved that spirit trampling; then it laid
Its hand at last upon itself, how this was made
Wondering, and sought to class and sought to trace
Mind by its forms, the wearer by the dress.
Then the other arose and met that spirit robust,
Who laboured; she now grew a shade who must
Fade wholly away, yet to her fellow cried,
"I pass, for thou hast laboured well and wide.
Thou thinkest term and end for thee are not;
But though thy pride is great, thou hast forgot
The Sphinx that waits for man beside the way.
All questions thou mayst answer, but one day
Her question shall await thee. That reply,
As all we must; for they, who cannot, die.
She slays them and their mangled bodies lie
Upon the highways of eternity.
Therefore, if thou wouldst live, know first this thing,
Who thou art in this dungeon labouring."
And Science confidently, "Nothing am I but earth,
Tissue and nerve and from the seed a birth,
A mould, a plasm, a gas, a little that is much.
In these grey cells that quiver to each touch
The secret lies of man; they are the thing called I.
Matter insists and matter makes reply.
Shakespeare was this; this force in Jesus yearned
And conquered by the cross; this only learned
The secret of the suns that blaze afar;
This was Napoleon's giant mind of war."
I heard and marvelled in myself to see
The infinite deny infinity.
Yet the weird paradox seemed justified;
Even mysticism shrank out-mystified.
But the third Angel came and touched my eyes;
I saw the mornings of the future rise,
I heard the voices of an age unborn
That comes behind us and our pallid morn,
And from the heart of an approaching light
One said to man, "Know thyself infinite,
Who shalt do mightier miracles than these,
Infinite, moving mid infinities."
Then from our hills the ancient answer pealed,
"For Thou, O Splendour, art myself concealed,
And the grey cell contains me not, the star
I outmeasure and am older than the elements are.
Whether on earth or far beyond the sun,
I, stumbling, clouded, am the Eternal One."
1895 - 1908

Immortal Love

If I had wooed thee for thy colour rare,
        Cherished the rose in thee
Or wealth of Nature's brilliants in thy hair,
        O woman fair,
My love might cease to be.
 
Or, had I sought thee for thy virtuous youth
        And tender yearning speech,
Thy swift compassion and deliberate truth,
        O heart of ruth,
Time might pursue, might reach.
 
But I have loved thee for thyself indeed
        And with myself have snared;
Immortal to immortal I made speed.
        Change I exceed
And am for Time prepared.
1895 - 1908

To the Sea

        O grey wild sea,
Thou hast a message, thunderer, for me.
        Their huge wide backs
Thy monstrous billows raise, abysmal cracks
        Dug deep between.
One pale boat flutters over them, hardly seen.
        I hear thy roar
Call me, "Why dost thou linger on the shore
        With fearful eyes
Watching my tops visit their foam-washed skies?
        This trivial boat
Dares my vast battering billows and can float.
        Death if it find,
Are there not many thousands left behind?
        Dare my wide roar,
Nor cling like cowards to the easy shore.
        Come down and know
What rapture lives in danger and o'erthrow."
        Yes, thou great sea,
I am more mighty and outbillow thee.
        On thy tops I rise;
'Tis an excuse to dally with the skies.
        I sink below
The bottom of the clamorous world to know.
        On the safe land
To linger is to lose what God has planned
        For man's wide soul,
Who set eternal godhead for its goal.
        Therefore he arrayed
Danger and difficulty like seas and made
        Pain and defeat,
And put His giant snares around our feet.
        The cloud He informs
With thunder and assails us with His storms,
        That man may grow
King over pain and victor of o'erthrow
        Matching his great
Unconquerable soul with adverse Fate.
        Take me, be
My way to climb the heavens, thou rude great sea.
        I will seize thy mane,
O lion, I will tame thee and disdain;
        Or else below
Into thy salt abysmal caverns go,
        Receive thy weight
Upon me and be stubborn as my Fate.
        I come, O Sea,
To measure my enormous self with thee.
1895 - 1908

The Sea at Night

The grey sea creeps half-visible, half-hushed,
And grasps with its innumerable hands
These silent walls. I see beyond a rough
Glimmering infinity, I feel the wash
And hear the sibilation of the waves
That whisper to each other as they push
To shoreward side by side, - long lines and dim
Of movement flecked with quivering spots of foam,
The quiet welter of a shifting world.
1895 - 1908

Evening

A golden evening, when the thoughtful sun
        Rejects its usual pomp in going, trees
That bend down to their green companion
        And fruitful mother, vaguely whispering, - these
And a wide silent sea. Such hour is nearest God, -
Like rich old age when the long ways have all been trod.
1895 - 1908

Revelation

Someone leaping from the rocks
Past me ran with wind-blown locks
Like a startled bright surmise
Visible to mortal eyes, -
Just a cheek of frightened rose
That with sudden beauty glows,
Just a footstep like the wind
And a hurried glance behind,
And then nothing, - as a thought
Escapes the mind ere it is caught.
Someone of the heavenly rout
From behind the veil ran out.
1895 - 1908

A Tree

A tree beside the sandy river-beach
        Holds up its topmost boughs
Like fingers towards the skies they cannot reach,
        Earth-bound, heaven-amorous.

This is the soul of man. Body and brain
Hungry for earth our heavenly flight detain.
1895 - 1908

A Child's Imagination

O thou golden image,
        Miniature of bliss,
Speaking sweetly, speaking meetly!
        Every word deserves a kiss.

Strange, remote and splendid
        Childhood's fancy pure
Thrills to thoughts, we cannot fathom,
        Quick felicities obscure.

When the eyes grow solemn
        Laughter fades away,
Nature of her mighty childhood
        Recollects the Titan play;

Woodlands touched by sunlight
        Where the elves abode,
Giant meetings. Titan greetings,
        Fancies of a youthful God.

These are coming on thee
        In thy secret thought;
God remembers in thy bosom
        All the wonders that He wrought.
1895 - 1908

Miracles

Snow in June may break from Nature,
        Ice through August last,
The random rose may increase stature
        In December's blast;

But this at least can never be,
O thou mortal ecstasy,
That one should live, even in pain,
Visited by thy disdain.
1895 - 1908

The Vedantin's Prayer

Spirit Supreme
        Who musest in the silence of the heart,
Eternal gleam,
 
Thou only Art!
        Ah, wherefore with this darkness am I veiled,
My sunlit part
 
By clouds assailed?
        Why am I thus disfigured by desire,
Distracted, haled,
 
Scorched by the fire
        Of fitful passions, from thy peace out-thrust
Into the gyre
 
Of every gust?
        Betrayed to grief, o'ertaken with dismay,
Surprised by lust?
 
Let not my grey
        Blood-clotted past repel thy sovereign ruth,
Nor even delay,
 
O lonely Truth!
        Nor let the specious gods who ape Thee still
Deceive my youth.
 
These clamours still;
        For I would hear the eternal voice and know
The eternal Will.
 
This brilliant show
        Cumbering the threshold of eternity
Dispel, - bestow
 
The undimmed eye,
        The heart grown young and clear. Rebuke, O Lord,
These hopes that cry
 
So deafeningly,
        Remove my sullied centuries, restore
My purity.
 
O hidden door
        Of Knowledge, open! Strength, fulfil thyself!
Love, outpour!
1895 - 1908

On the Mountains

Immense retreats of silence and of gloom,
        Hills of a sterile grandeur, rocks that sublime
In bareness seek the blue sky's infinite room
        With their coeval snows untouched by Time!

I seek your solemn spaces! Let me at last
        Forgotten of thought through days immemorable
Voiceless and needless keep your refuge vast,
        Growing into the peace in which I dwell.

For like that Soul unmade you seem to brood
        Who sees all things emerge but none creates,
Watching the ages from His solitude,
        Lone, unconcerned, remote. You to all Fates

Offer an unmoved heart and therefore abide,
        Who seek not, act not, strive not nor rebel.
Like you, who are may grow like Him, as wide,
        Mere, uncreative, imperturbable.
1895 - 1908

Rebirth

Not soon is God's delight in us completed,
        Nor with one life we end;
Termlessly in us are our spirits seated
        And termless joy intend.

Our souls and heaven are of an equal stature
        And have a dateless birth;
The unending seed, the infinite mould of Nature,
        They were not made on earth,

Nor to the earth do they bequeath their ashes,
        But in themselves they last.
An endless future brims beneath thy lashes,
        Child of an endless past.

Old memories come to us, old dreams invade us,
        Lost people we have known,
Fictions and pictures; but their frames evade us, -
        They stand out bare, alone.

Yet all we dream and hope are memories treasured,
        Are forecasts we misspell,
But of what life or scene he who has measured
        The boundless heavens can tell.

Time is a strong convention; future and present
        Were living in the past;
They are one image that our wills complaisant
        Into three schemes have cast.

Our past that we forget, is with us deathless,
        Our births and later end
Already accomplished. To a summit breathless
        Sometimes our souls ascend,

Whence the mind comes back helped; for there emerges
        The ocean vast of Time
Spread out before us with its infinite surges,
        Its symphonies sublime;

And even from this veil of mind the spirit
        Looks out sometimes and sees
The bygone aeons that our lives inherit,
        The unborn centuries:

It sees wave-trampled realms expel the Ocean, -
        From the vague depths uphurled
Where now Himaloy stands, the flood's huge motion
        Sees measuring half the world;

Or else the web behind us is unravelled
        And on its threads we gaze, -
Past motions of the stars, scenes long since travelled
        In Time's far-backward days.
1895 - 1908

Seasons

Day and night begin, you tell me,
        When the sun may choose to set or rise.
Well, it may be; but for me their changing
        Is determined only by her eyes.

Summer, spring, the fruitless winter
        Hinge, you say, upon the heavenly sun?
Oh, but I have known a yearlong winter!
        Spring was by her careless smiles begun.
1895 - 1908

The Triumph-Song of Trishuncou

I shall not die.
        Although this body, when the spirit tires
        Of its cramped residence, shall feed the fires,
My house consumes, not I.
 
Leaving that case
        I find out ample and ethereal room.
        My spirit shall avoid the hungry tomb,
Deceiving death's embrace.
 
Night shall contain
        The sun in its cold depths; Time too must cease;
        The stars that labour shall have their release.
I cease not, I remain.
 
Ere the first seeds
        Were sown on earth, I was already old,
        And when now unborn planets shall grow cold
My history proceeds.
 
I am the light
        In stars, the strength of lions and the joy
        Of mornings; I am man and maid and boy,
Protean, infinite.
 
I am a tree
        That stands out singly from the infinite blue;
        I am the quiet falling of the dew
And am the unmeasured sea.
 
I hold the sky
        Together and upbear the teeming earth.
        I was the eternal thinker at my birth
And shall be, though I die.
1895 - 1908

The Fear of Death

Death wanders through our lives at will, sweet Death
Is busy with each intake of our breath.
Why do you fear her? Lo, her laughing face
All rosy with the light of jocund grace!
A kind and lovely maiden culling flowers
In a sweet garden fresh with vernal showers,
This is the thing you fear, young portress bright
Who opens to our souls the worlds of light.
Is it because the twisted stem must feel
Pain when the tenderest hands its glory steal?
Is it because the flowerless stalk droops dull
And ghastly now that was so beautiful?
Or is it the opening portal's horrid jar
That shakes you, feeble souls of courage bare?
Death is but changing of our robes to wait
In wedding garments at the Eternal's gate.
1895 - 1908

Life and Death

Life, death, - death, life; the words have led for ages
        Our thought and consciousness and firmly seemed
Two opposites; but now long-hidden pages
        Are opened, liberating truths undreamed.
Life only is, or death is life disguised, -
Life a short death until by life we are surprised.
1895 - 1908

In the Moonlight

If now must pause the bullocks' jingling tune,
        Here let it be beneath the dreaming trees
        Supine and huge that hang upon the breeze,
Here in the wide eye of the silent moon.
 
How living a stillness reigns! The night's hushed rules
        All things obey but three, the slow wind's sigh
        Among the leaves, the cricket's ceaseless cry,
The frog's harsh discord in the ringing pools.
 
Yet they but seem the silence to increase
        And dreadful wideness of the inhuman night.
        The whole hushed world immeasurable might
Be watching round this single spot of peace.
 
So boundless is the darkness and so rife
        With thoughts of infinite reach that it creates
        A dangerous sense of space and abrogates
The wholesome littleness of human life.
 
The common round that each of us must tread
        Now seems a thing unreal; we forget
        The heavy yoke the world on us has set,
The slave's vain labour earning tasteless bread.
 
Space hedges us and Time our hearts o'ertakes;
        Our bounded senses and our boundless thought
        Strive through the centuries and are slowly brought
Back to the source whence their divergence wakes.
 
The source that none have traced, since none can know
        Whether from Heaven the eternal waters well
        Through Nature's matted locks, as Ganges fell,
Or from some dismal nether darkness flow.
 
Two genii in the dubious heart of man,
        Two great unhappy foes together bound
        Wrestle and strive to win unhampered ground;
They strive for ever since the race began.
 
One from his body like a bridge of fire
        Mounts upward azure-winged with eager eyes;
        One in his brain deep-mansioned labouring lies
And clamps to earth the spirit's high desire.
 
Here in this moonlight with strange visions rife
        I seem to see their vast peripheries
        Without me in the sombre mighty trees,
And, hark! their silence turns the wheels of life.
 
These are the middle and the first. Are they
        The last too? Has the duel then no close?
        Shall neither vanquish of the eternal foes,
Nor even at length this moonlight turn to day?
 
Our age has made an idol of the brain,
        The last adored a purer presence; yet
        In Asia like a dove immaculate
He lurks deep-brooding in the hearts of men.
 
But Europe comes to us bright-eyed and shrill.
        "A far delusion was that mounting fire,
        An impulse baulked and an unjust desire;
It fades as we ascend the human hill."
 
She cries to us to labour in the light
        Of common things, grow beautiful and wise
        On strong material food, nor vex our eyes
With straining after visionary delight.
 
Ah, beautiful and wise, but to what end?
        Europe knows not, nor any of her schools
        Who scorn the higher thought for dreams of fools;
Riches and joy and power meanwhile are gained.
 
Gained and then lost! For Death the heavy grip
        Shall loosen. Death shall cloud the laughing eye,
        And he who broke the nations soon shall lie
More helpless than a little child asleep.
 
And after? Nay, for death is end and term.
        A fiery dragon through the centuries curled,
        He feeds upon the glories of the world
And the vast mammoth dies before the worm.
 
Stars run their cycle and are quenched; the suns
        Born from the night are to the night returned,
        When the cold tenebrous spaces have inurned
The listless phantoms of the Shining Ones.
 
From two dead worlds a burning world arose
        Of which the late putrescent fruit is man;
        From chill dark space his roll of life began
And shall again in icy quiet close.
 
Our lives are but a transitory breath:
        Mean pismires in the sad and dying age
        Of a once glorious planet, on the edge
Of bitter pain we wait eternal death.
 
Watering the ages with our sweat and blood
        We pant towards some vague ideal state
        And by the effort fiercer ills create,
Working by lasting evil transient good.
 
Insults and servitude we bear perforce;
        With profitable crimes our souls we rack,
        Vexing ourselves lest earth our seed should lack
Who needs us not in her perpetual course;
 
Then down into the earth descend and sleep
        For ever, and the lives for which we toiled
        Forget us, who when they their turn have moiled,
Themselves forgotten into silence creep.
 
Why is it all, the labour and the din,
        And wherefore do we plague our souls and vex
        Our bodies or with doubts our days perplex?
Death levels soon the virtue with the sin.
 
If Death be end and close the useless strife,
        Strive not at all, but take what ease you may
        And make a golden glory of the day,
Exhaust the little honey of your life.
 
Fear not to take her beauty to your heart
        Whom you so utterly desire; you do
        No hurt to any, for the inner you
So cherished is a dream that shall depart.
 
The wine of life is sweet; let no man stint
        His longing or refuse one passionate hope.
        Why should we cabin in such infinite scope,
Restrict the issue of such golden mint?
 
Society forbids? It for our sakes
        Was fashioned; if it seek to fence around
        Our joys and pleasures in such narrow bound,
It gives us little for the much it takes.
 
Nor need we hearken to the gospel vain
        That bids men curb themselves to help mankind.
        We lose our little chance of bliss, then blind
And silent lie for ever. Whose the gain?
 
What helps it us if so mankind be served?
        Ourselves are blotted out from joy and light,
        Having no profit of the sunshine bright,
While others reap the fruit our toils deserved.
 
O this new god who has replaced the old!
        He dies to-day, he dies to-morrow, dies
        At last for ever, and the last sunrise
Shall have forgotten him extinct and cold.
 
But virtue to itself is joy enough?
        Yet if to us sin taste diviner? why
        Should we not herd in Epicurus' sty
Whom Nature made not of a Stoic stuff?
 
For Nature being all, desire must reign.
        It is too sweet and strong for us to slay
        Upon a nameless altar, saying nay
To honied urgings for no purpose plain.
 
A strange unreal gospel Science brings, -
        Being animals to act as angels might;
        Mortals we must put forth immortal might
And flutter in the void celestial wings.
 
"Ephemeral creatures, for the future live,"
        She bids us, "gather in for unborn men
        Knowledge and joy, and forfeit, nor complain,
The present which alone is yours to give."
 
Man's immortality she first denies
        And then assumes what she rejects, made blind
        By sudden knowledge, the majestic Mind
Within her smiling at her sophistries.
 
Not so shall Truth extend her flight sublime,
        Pass from the poor beginnings she has made
        And with the splendour of her wings displayed
Range through the boundaries of Space and Time.
 
Clamp her not down to her material finds!
        She shall go further. She shall not reject
        The light within, nor shall the dialect
Of unprogressive pedants bar men's minds.
 
We seek the Truth and will not pause nor fear.
        Truth we will have and not the sophist's pleas;
        Animals, we will take our grosser ease,
Or, spirits, heaven's celestial music hear.
 
The intellect is not all; a guide within
        Awaits our question. He it was informed
        The reason He surpasses; and unformed
Presages of His mightiness begin.
 
Nor mind submerged, nor self subliminal,
        But the great Force that makes the planets wheel
        Through ether and the sun in flames reveal
His godhead, is in us perpetual.
 
That Force in us is body, that is mind,
        And what is higher than the mind is He.
        This was the secret Science could not see;
Aware of death, to life her eyes were blind.
 
Through chemistry she seeks the source of life,
        Nor knows the mighty laws that she has found
        Are Nature's bye-laws merely, meant to ground
A grandiose freedom building peace by strife.
 
The organ for the thing itself she takes,
        The brain for mind, the body for the soul,
        Nor has she patience to explore the whole,
But like a child a hasty period makes.
 
"It is enough," she says, "I have explored
        The whole of being; nothing now remains
        But to put details in and count my gains."
So she deceives herself, denies her Lord.
 
Therefore He manifests Himself; once more
        The wonders of the secret world within
        Wrapped yet with an uncertain mist begin
To look from that thick curtain out; the door
 
Opens. Her days are numbered, and not long
        Shall she be suffered to belittle thus
        Man and restrain from his tempestuous
Uprising that immortal spirit strong.
 
He rises now; for God has taken birth.
        The revolutions that pervade the world
        Are faint beginnings and the discus hurled
Of Vishnu speeds down to enring the earth.
 
The old shall perish; it shall pass away,
        Expunged, annihilated, blotted out;
        And all the iron bands that ring about
Man's wide expansion shall at last give way.
 
Freedom, God, Immortality, the three
        Are one and shall be realised at length;
        Love, Wisdom, Justice, Joy and utter Strength
Gather into a pure felicity.
 
It comes at last, the day foreseen of old,
        What John in Patmos saw, what Shelley dreamed,
        Vision and vain imagination deemed,
The City of Delight, the Age of Gold.
 
The Iron Age is ended. Only now
        The last fierce spasm of the dying past
        Shall shake the nations, and when that has passed,
Earth washed of ills shall raise a fairer brow.
 
This is man's progress; for the Iron Age
        Prepares the Age of Gold. What we call sin,
        Is but man's leavings as from deep within
The Pilot guides him in his pilgrimage.
 
He leaves behind the ill with strife and pain,
        Because it clings and constantly returns,
        And in the fire of suffering fiercely burns
More sweetness to deserve, more strength to gain.
 
He rises to the good with Titan wings:
        And this the reason of his high unease,
        Because he came from the infinities
To build immortally with mortal things;
 
The body with increasing soul to fill,
        Extend Heaven's claim upon the toiling earth
        And climb from death to a diviner birth
Grasped and supported by immortal Will.
1895 - 1908

Parabrahman

These wanderings of the suns, these stars at play
        In the due measure that they chose of old,
Nor only these, but all the immense array
        Of objects that long Time, far Space can hold,

Are divine moments. They are thoughts that form,
        They are vision in the Self of things august
And therefore grandly real. Rule and norm
        Are processes that they themselves adjust.

The Self of things is not their outward view,
        A Force within decides. That Force is He;
His movement is the shape of things we knew,
        Movement of Thought is Space and Time. A free

And sovereign master of His world within,
        He is not bound by what He does or makes,
He is not bound by virtue or by sin,
        Awake who sleeps and when He sleeps awakes.

He is not bound by waking or by sleep;
        He is not bound by anything at all.
Laws are that He may conquer them. To creep
        Or soar is at His will, to rise or fall.

One from of old possessed Himself above
        Who was not anyone nor had a form,
Nor yet was formless. Neither hate nor love
        Could limit His perfection, peace nor storm.

He Is, we cannot say; for Nothing too
        Is His conception of Himself unguessed.
He dawns upon us and we would pursue,
        But who has found Him or what arms possessed?

He is not anything, yet all is He;
        He is not all but far exceeds that scope.
Both Time and Timelessness sink in that sea:
        Time is a wave and Space a wandering drop.

Within Himself He shadowed Being forth,
        Which is a younger birth, a veil He chose
To half-conceal Him, Knowledge, nothing worth
        Save to have glimpses of its mighty cause,

And high Delight, a spirit infinite,
        That is the fountain of this glorious world,
Delight that labours in its opposite,
        Faints in the rose and on the rack is curled.

This was the triune playground that He made
        And One there sports awhile. He plucks His flowers
And by His bees is stung; He is dismayed,
        Flees from Himself or has His sullen hours.

The Almighty One knew labour, failure, strife;
        Knowledge forgot divined itself again:
He made an eager death and called it life,
        He stung Himself with bliss and called it pain.
1895 - 1908

God

Thou who pervadest all the worlds below,
        Yet sitst above,
Master of all who work and rule and know,
        Servant of Love!

Thou who disdainest not the worm to be
        Nor even the clod,
Therefore we know by that humility
        That thou art God.
1895 - 1908  

Short Poems 1902 - 1930

 

The Mother of Dreams

Goddess supreme, Mother of Dream, by thy ivory doors when thou standest,
Who are they then that come down unto men in thy visions that troop, group upon group, down the path of the shadows slanting?
Dream after dream, they flash and they gleam with the flame of the stars still around them;
Shadows at thy side in a darkness ride where the wild fires dance, stars glow and glance and the random meteor glistens;
There are voices that cry to their kin who reply; voices sweet, at the heart they beat and ravish the soul as it listens.
What then are these lands and these golden sands and these seas more radiant than earth can imagine?
Who are those that pace by the purple waves that race to the cliff-bound floor of thy jasper shore under skies in which mystery muses,
Lapped in moonlight not of our night or plunged in sunshine that is not diurnal?
Who are they coming thy Oceans roaming with sails whose strands are not made by hands, an unearthly wind advances?
Why do they join in a mystic line with those on the sands linking hands in strange and stately dances?
Thou in the air, with a flame in thy hair, the whirl of thy wonders watching,
Holdest the night in thy ancient right. Mother divine, hyacinthine, with a girdle of beauty defended.
Sworded with fire, attracting desire, thy tenebrous kingdom thou keepest,
Starry-sweet, with the moon at thy feet, now hidden now seen the clouds between in the gloom and the drift of thy tresses.
Only to those whom thy fancy chose, O thou heart-free, is it given to see thy witchcraft and feel thy caresses.
Open the gate where thy children wait in their world of a beauty undarkened.
High-throned on a cloud, victorious, proud I have espied Maghavan ride when the armies of wind are behind him;
Food has been given for my tasting from heaven and fruit of immortal sweetness;
I have drunk wine of the kingdoms divine and have heard the change of music strange from a lyre which our hands cannot master;
Doors have swung wide in the chambers of pride where the Gods reside and the Apsaras dance in their circles faster and faster.
For thou art she whom we first can see when we pass the bounds of the mortal,
There at the gates of the heavenly states thou hast planted thy wand enchanted over the head of the Yogin waving.
From thee are the dream and the shadows that seem and the fugitive lights that delude us;
Thine is the shade in which visions are made; sped by thy hands from celestial lands come the souls that rejoice for ever.
Into thy dream-worlds we pass or look in thy magic glass, then beyond thee we climb out of Space and Time to the peak of divine endeavour.
1908 - 09

The Birth of Sin

Lucifer, Sirioth

Lucifer:

What mighty and ineffable desire
Impels thee, Sirioth? Thy accustomed calm
Is potently subverted and the eyes
That were a god's in sweet tranquillity,
Confess a human warmth, a troubled glow.

Sirioth:

Lucifer, son of Morning, Angel! thou
Art mightiest of the architects of fate.
To thee is given with thy magic gaze
Compelling mortals as thou leanst sublime
From heaven's lucent walls, to sway the world.
Is thy felicity of lesser date,
Prince of the patient and untiring gods,
The gods who work? Dost thou not ever feel
Angelic weariness usurp the place
Where the great flame and the august desire
Were wont to urge thee on? To me it seems
That our eternity is far too long
For service and there is a word, a thought,
More godlike.

Lucifer:

Sirioth, I will speak the word.
Is it not Power?

Sirioth:

No, Lucifer, 'tis Love.

Lucifer:

Love? It was love that for a trillion years
Gave me the instinct and immense demand
For service, for activity. It fades.
Another and more giant passion comes
Striding upon me. I behold the world
Immeasurably vast, I see the heavens
Full of an azure joy and majesty,
I see the teeming millions of the stars.
Sirioth, how came the Master of the world
To be the master? Did He seize control
Pushing some ancient weaker sovereign down
From sway immemorable? Did He come
By peaceful ways, permission or inheritance,
To what He is today? Or if indeed
He is for ever and for ever rules,
Are there no bounds to His immense domain,
No obscure corner of unbounded space
Forgotten by His fate, that I may seize
And make myself an empire as august,
Enjoy a like eternity of rule?
 

Sirioth:

Angel, these thoughts are mighty as thyself.
But wilt thou then rebel? If He be great
To conquer and to punish, what of thee?
Eternity of dreadful poignant pain
May be thy fate and not eternal rule.

Lucifer:

Better than still to serve desirelessly,
Pursued by a compulsion dull and fierce,
Looking through all vast time for one brief hour
Of rest, of respite, but instead to find
Iron necessity and pant in vain
For space, for room, for freedom.

Sirioth:

Thou intendest?

Lucifer:

Sirioth, I do not yet intend; I feel.

Sirioth:

For me the sense of active force within
Set me to work, as the stars move, the sun
Resistless flames through space, the stormwind runs.
But I have felt a touch as sweet as spring,
And I have heard a music of delight
Maddening the heart with the sweet honied stabs
Of delicate intolerable joy.
Where, where is One to feel the answering bliss?
Lucifer, thou from love beganst thy toil.
What love?

Lucifer:

Desire august to help, to serve.

Sirioth:

That is not mine. To embrace, to melt and mix
Two beings into one, to roll the spirit
Tumbling into a surge of common joy, -
'Tis this I seek.

Lucifer:

Will He permit?

Sirioth:

A bar
I feel, a prohibition. Someone used
A word I could not grasp and called it sin.

Lucifer:

The word is new, even as these things are.

Sirioth:

I know not who he was. He laughed and said,
"Sin, sin is born into the world, revolt
And change, in Sirioth and in Lucifer,
The evening and the morning star. Rejoice,
O world!" And I beheld as in a dream
Leaping from out thy brain and into mine
A woman beautiful, of grandiose mien,
Yet terrible, alarming and instinct
With nameless menace. And the world was full
With clashing and with cries. It seemed to me
Angels and Gods and men strove violently
To touch her robe, to occupy the place
Her beautiful and ominous feet had trod,
Crying, "Daughter of Lucifer, be ours,
O sweet, adorable and mighty Sin!"
Therefore I came to thee.

Lucifer:

Sirioth, await
Her birth, if she must be. For this I know,
Necessity rules all the infinite world,
And even He perhaps submits unknown
To a compulsion. When the time is ripe,
We will consult once more what we shall do.
1902 - 1930

Epiphany

Majestic, mild, immortally august,
In silence throned, to just and to unjust
One Lord of deep unutterable love,
I saw Him, Shiva, like a brooding dove
Close-winged upon her nest. The outcaste came,
The sinners gathered round that tender Flame,
The demons, by the other sterner gods
Rejected from their luminous abodes,
Gathered around the Refuge of the lost,
Soft-smiling on that wild and grisly host.
All who were refugeless, wretched, unloved,
The wicked and the good together moved
Naturally to Him, the asylum sweet,
And found their heaven at their Master's feet.
The vision changed and in His place there stood
A Terror red as lightning or as blood;
His fierce right hand a javelin advanced
And, as He shook it, earthquake reeling danced
Across the hemisphere, ruin and plague
Rained out of heaven, disasters swift and vague
Threatened, a marching multitude of ills.
His foot strode forward to oppress the hills,
And at the vision of His burning eyes
The hearts of men grew faint with dread surmise
Of sin and punishment; their cry was loud,
"O Master of the stormwind and the cloud,
Spare, Rudra, spare. Show us that other form
Auspicious, not incarnate wrath and storm."
 
The God of Wrath, the God of Love are one,
Nor least He loves when most He smites. Alone
Who rises above fear and plays with grief,
Defeat and death, inherits full relief
From blindness and beholds the single Form,
Love masking Terror, Peace supporting storm.
The Friend of Man helps him with Life and Death,
Until he knows. Then freed from mortal breath
He feels the joy of the immortal play;
Grief, pain, resentment, terror pass away.
He too grows Rudra fierce, august and dire,
And Shiva, sweet fulfiller of desire.
1902 - 1930

To R.

On Her Birthday

The repetition of thy gracious years
        Brings back once more thy natal morn.
Upon the crest of youth thy life appears, -
        A wave upborne.

Amid the hundreds thronging Ocean's floor
        A wave upon the crowded sea
With regular rhythm pushing towards the shore
        Our life must be.

The power that moves it is the Ocean's force
        Invincible, eternal, free,
And by that impulse it pursues its course
        Inevitably.

We, too, by the Eternal Might are led
        To whatsoever goal He wills.
Our helm He grasps, our generous sail outspread
        His strong breath fills.

Exulting in the grace and strength of youth
        Pursue the Ocean's distant bound,
Trusting the Pilot's voice, the Master's ruth
        That rings us round.

Rejoice and fear not for the waves that swell,
        The storms that thunder, winds that sweep;
Always our Captain holds the rudder well,
        He does not sleep.

If in the trough of the enormous sea
        Thou canst not find the sky for spray,
Fear never, for our Sun is there with thee
        By night and day.

Even those who sink in the victorious flood,
        Where do they sink? Into His breast.
He who to some gives victory, joy and good,
        To some gives rest.

But thou, look to the radiant days that wait
        Beyond the driving rain and storm.
I have seen the vision of a happier fate
        Brightening thy form.

Confident of His grace, expect His will;
        Let Him lead; though hidden be the bourne,
See Him in all that happens; that fulfil
        For which thou wert born.
1902 - 1930

The Rakshasas

The Rakshasa, the violent kinetic Ego, establishes his claim to mastery of the world replacing the animal Soul, - to be followed by controlled and intellectualised but unregenerated Ego, the Asura. Each such type and level of consciousness sees the Divine in its own image and its level in Nature is sustained by a differing form of the World-Mother.

"Glory and greatness and the joy of life,
Strength, pride, victorious force, whatever man
Desires, whatever the wild beast enjoys,
Bodies of women and the lives of men -
I claim to be my kingdom. I have fores
My title to substantiate, I seek
No crown unearned, no lordship undeserved.
Ask what austerity Thou wilt, Maker of man,
Expense of blood or labour or long years
Spent in tremendous meditation, lives
Upon Thy altar spent of brutes or men;
Or if with gold Thy favour purchasable,
I may command rich offerings to glut
Thy triumphs and Thy priests. I have a heart,
A hand for any mighty sacrifice,
A fiery patience in my vehement mood;
I will submit. But ask not this of me,
Meek silence and a pale imprisoned soul
Made colourless of its humanity,
Ask not the heart that quakes, the hand that spares,
What strength can give, not weakness, that demand.
O Rudra! O eternal Mahadev!
Thou too art fierce and mighty, wrathful, bold,
Snuffing Thy winds for blood of sacrifice
And angrily Thou rul'st a prostrate world.
O Rakshasa Almighty, look on me,
Ravan, the lord of all Thy Rakshasas,
Give me Thy high command to smite Thy foes;
But most I would afflict, chase and destroy
Thy devotees who traduce Thee, making Thee
A God of Love, a God too sweet to rule.
I have the knowledge, what Thou art I know
And know myself, for Thou and I are one."
So prayed the Lord of Lanka, and in heaven
Sri Krishna smiled, the Friend of all mankind,
And asked, "O masters of the knowledge. Seers
Who help me by your thoughts to help mankind,
Hearken what Ravan cries against the stars
Demanding earth for heritage. Advise,
Shall he then have it?" And a cry arose,
"He would root out the Brahmin from the earth,
Impose his dreadful Yoga on mankind
And make the violent heart, the iron hand
Sovereign of all." Sri Krishna made reply,
"From out Myself he went to do My will.
He has not lied, he has the knowledge. He
And I are one. How then shall I refuse?
Does it not say, the Veda that you know,
'When one knows That, then whatso he desires,
It shall be his'?" And Atri sage replied,
"Let him then rule a season and be slain."
And He who reigns, "Something you know, O Seers,
Not all my purpose. It is long decreed,
The Rakshasa shall rule the peopled earth.
He takes the brute into himself for man
Yielding it offerings, while with grandiose thoughts
And violent aspirations he controls;
He purifies the demon in the race
Slaying in wrath, not cruelty. Awhile
He puts the Vanara out of the world,
Accustoming to grandeur all mankind;
The Ifrit he rejects. Were he denied
His period, man could not progress. But since
He sees himself as Me, not Me in him,
And takes the life and body for the whole,
He cannot last. Therefore is Atri's word
Accepted." And before the Rakshasa,
Out of the terror of the sacrifice,
Naked and dark, with a blood-dripping sword
And dreadful eyes that seemed to burn the world,
Kali the Rakshasi in flames arose.
"Demand a boon," she cried, and all the gods
Trembled. "Give me the earth for my delight,
Her gods to be my slaves", the Rakshasa cried,
"Of strength and pride." "So let it be,"
She answered. "Shall it be eternal then?"
Ravan demanded and she thundered, "No,
For neither thou nor I are best nor last.
The Asuri shall arise to fill my place,
The Asura thy children shall dethrone.
An aeon thou hast taken to evolve,
An aeon thou shalt rule. But since thy wish
I have denied, ask yet another boon."
"Let this be mine then, when at last I sink,
Nor brute nor demon, man nor Titan's hand,
Nor any lesser creature shall o'erthrow,
But only God himself compel my fall."
And Kali answered, smiling terribly,
"It is decreed," and laughing loud she passed.
Then Ravan from his sacrifice arose.
1902 - 1930

Kama

According to one idea Desire is the creator and sustainer of things, - Desire and Ignorance. By losing desire one passes beyond the Ignorance, as by passing beyond Ignorance one loses desire; then the created world is surpassed and the soul enters into the Divine Reality Kama here speaks as Desire the Creator, an outgoing power from the Bliss of the Divine Reality to which, abandoning desire, one returns, anandam brahmano vidvan, possessing the bliss of the Brahman.

O desolations vast, O seas of space
Unpeopled, realms of an unfertile light,
Grow multitudinous with living forms,
Enamoured of desire! I send My breath
Into the heart of being and the storm
Of sweet attraction shall break up its calm
With quivering passionate intensity,
And silence change to a melodious cry,
And all the world be rose. Out of my heart
Suns shall flame up into the pitiless void
And the stars wheel in magic dances round
Weaving the web of mortal life. For I
Am love, am passion. I create the world.
I am the only Brahma. My desire
Takes many forms; I change and wheel and race
And with me runs creation. I preserve,
For I am love. I weary of myself,
And the world circles back into the Vast.
Delight and laughter walking hand in hand
Go with me, and I play with grief and pain.
I am the dance of Krishna, I the dance
Of Kali, Might and Majesty are mine.
And I can make the heart a child at play,
The soul of things a woman full of bliss.
Hunger and Thirst, arise and make the world!
Delight, go down and give it strength to live!
O ether, change! O breath of things, grow full
Of the perpetual whirl! Break out, O fire,
In seas of magic colour, infinite waves
Of rainbow light! Thou liquid element,
Be sap, be taste in all created things
To please the senses. Thou, O solid earth,
Enter into all life, support the worlds.
I send forth joy to cheer the hearts of men,
I send forth law to harmonise and rule.
And when these things are done, when men have learned
My beauty. My desirability, My bliss,
I will conceal myself from their desire
And make this rule of the eternal chase,
"They who abandon Me, shall to all time
Clasp and possess; they who pursue, shall lose."
1902 - 1930

Kamadeva

When in the heart of the valleys and hid by the roses
        The sweet Love lies,
Has he wings to rise to his heavens or in the closes
        Lives and dies?

On the peaks of the radiant mountains if we should meet him
        Proud and free,
Will he not frown on the valleys ? Would it befit him
        Chained to be?

Will you then speak of the one as a slave and a wanton,
        The other too bare?
But God is the only slave and the only monarch
        We declare.

It is God who is Love and a boy and a slave for our passion
        He was made to serve;
It is God who is free and proud and the limitless tyrant
        Our souls deserve.
1902 - 1930

The Mahatmas

Kuthumi

This poem is purely a play of the imaginative, a poetic reconstruction of the central idea only of Mahatmahood.

The seven mountains and the seven seas
Surround me. Over me the eightfold Sun
Blazing with various colours - green and blue,
Scarlet and rose, violet and gold and white,
And the dark disk that rides in the mortal cave -
Looks down on me in flame. Below spread wide
The worlds of the immortals, tier on tier
Like a great mountain climbing to the skies,
And on their summit Shiva dwells. Of old
My doings were familiar with the earth,
The mortals over whom I hold control
Were then my fellows. But I followed not
The usual path, the common thoughts of men.
A thirst of knowledge and a sense of power,
A passion of divine beneficence
Pursued me through a hundred lives. I rose
From birth to birth, until I reached the peak
Of human knowledge, then in Bharat born,
I, Kuthumi, the Kshatriya, the adept,
The mighty Yogin of Dwaipayan's school,
To Vyasa came, our great original sage.
He looked upon me with the eyes that see
And smiled august and awful. "Kuthumi,"
He cried, "now gather back what thou hast earned
In many lives, remember all thy past,
Cease from thy round of human births, resume
The eightfold powers that make a man as God.
Then come again and learn thy grandiose work,
For thou art of the souls to death denied."
I went into the mountains by the sea
That thunders pitilessly from night to morn,
And sung to by that rude relentless sound
Amidst the cries of beasts, the howl of winds,
Surrounded by the gnashing demon hordes,
I did the Hathayoga in three days,
Which men with anguish through ten lives effect,
Not that now practised by earth's feeble race,
But that which Ravan knew in Lanka, Dhruv
Fulfilled, Hiranyakashipu performed,
The Yoga of the old Lemurian Kings.
I felt the strength of Titans in my veins,
The joy of Gods, the pride of Siddhas. Tall
And mighty like a striding God I came
To Vyasa; but he shook his dense piled locks,
Denying me; "Thou art not pure," he cried.
I went in anger to Himaloy's peaks
And on the highest in the breathless snow
Sat dumb for many years. Then knowledge came
Streaming upon me and the hills around
Shook with the feet of the descending power.
I did the Rajayoga in three days,
Which men with care and accuracy minute
Ceaselessly follow for an age in vain -
Not Kali's Rajayoga, but the means
Of perfect knowledge, purity and force
Bali the Titan learned and gave to men,
The Yoga of the old Atlantic Kings.
I came to Vyasa, shining like a sun.
He smiled and said, "Now seek the world's Great Soul,
Sri Krishna, where he lives on earth concealed,
Give up to him all that thou know'st and hast;
For thou art he, elect from mortal men
To guard the knowledge, yet an easy task
While the third age preserves man's godlike form.
But when thou seest the iron Kali come
And he from Dwarca leaves the Earth, know then
The time of trial, help endangered men,
Preserve the knowledge that preserves the world,
Until Sri Krishna utterly returns.
Then art thou from thy mighty work released
Into the worlds of bliss for endless years
To rest, until another aeon comes,
When of the seven Rishis thou art one."
I sent my knowledge forth across the land.
It found him not in Bharat's princely halls,
In quiet asrams, nor in temples pure,
Nor where the wealthy traffickers resort -
Brahmin nor Kshatriya body housed the Lord,
Vaisya nor Sudra nor outcaste. At length
To a bare hut on a wild mountain's verge
Led by the star I came. A hermit mad
Of the wild Abhirs, who sat dumbed or laughed
And ran and leaped and danced upon the hills
But told the reason of his joy to none,
In him I saw the Lord, behind the man
Perceived the spirit that contains the world.
I fell before him, but he leapt and ran
And smote me with his foot and out of me
All knowledge, all desire, all strength was gone
Into its source. I sat an infant child.
He laughed aloud and said, "Take back thy gifts,
O beggar!" and went leaping down the slope.
Then full of light and strength and bliss I soared
Beyond the spheres, above the mighty Gods
And left my human body on the snows.
And others gathered to me, more or less
In puissance to assist, but mine the charge
By Vishnu given. I gather knowledge here,
Then to my human frame awhile descend
And walk mid men, choosing my instruments,
Testing, rejecting and confirming souls -
Vessels of the Spirit; for the golden age
In Kali comes, the iron lined with gold,
The Yoga shall be given back to men,
The sects shall cease, the grim debates die out
And atheism perish from the Earth,
Blasted with knowledge; love and brotherhood
And wisdom repossess Sri Krishna's world.
1902 - 1930

The Meditations of Mandavya

One

O joy of gaining all the soul's desire!
O stranger Joy of the defeat and loss!
O heart that yearnest to uplift the world!
O fiercer heart that bendest o'er its pain
And drinkst the savour! I will love thee, O Love,
Naked or veiled or dreadfully disguised;
Not only when thou flatterest my heart
But when thou tearst it! Thy sweet pity I love
And mother's care for creatures, for the joys
I love thee that the lives of things possess,
And love thee for the torment of our pains;
Nor cry, as some, against thy will, nor say,
Thou art not. Easy is the love that lasts
Only with favours in the shopman heart!
Who, tortured, takes and gives the kiss, he loves.

*

Blue-winged like turquoise, crimson-throated, beaked,
Enormous, fluttering over the garden wall
Thou cam'st to me; some moments on a bough
Wast perched, then flewst away, leaving my heart
Enchanted. It was as if thou saidst, "Behold, my love,
How beautiful I am! To show thee this,
I came, my beauty. Now I flee away
Since thou hast seen and lov'st." So dealst thou always,
Luring and fleeing; but our hearts pursue.

*

While on a terrace hushed I walked at night,
He came and stung my foot. My soul surprised
Rejoiced in lover's contact; but the mind
Thought of a scorpion and was snared by forms.
Still, still my soul remembered its delight
Denying mind, and midst the body's pain,
I laughed contented.

*

All is attained, attained! The pain is dead,
The striving. O thou joy that since this world
Began, wast waiting for me in thy lair.
O Wild Beast of the ways! Thou tearst my soul
With rapture, O thou fierce delightful God.
O cruelly divine! O pity fierce!
O timeless rapture of the nights that pass
Embraced! O terror pure of Thy caress!
Humanity, acceptable I find
Thy ages that have wept out sweat and blood,
Since all was made to give its utter price
To one wild moment of thy hidden God.
Let the whole world end now, since all for which
It was created is fulfilled at last
And I am swallowed up in thee, O God.

Two

Who made of Nature here a tyrant? Who
Condemned us to be slaves? It was not God.
Nay, we ourselves chose our own servitude
And we ourselves have forged and heaped our chains
On our own members. God only watched the while
And mocked us sweetly at our childish task.
Then if He seized us helpless in our bonds,
Then if He played with us despite our cries
And answered with His dreadful laugh our wrath,
Ours was the fault who chose the bondage first,
Ours is the folly whom His play affrights
While all the time He tells us, "It is nought."
And now we say we never can be free,
For Nature binds us, for the fire must burn,
The water drown and death must seize his prey,
And grief and torture do their will with us
And sin be like a lion with the world,
Because 'tis Nature. Man's not infinite,
The proof is with us every day, they cry,
And God Himself's a huge machine at last.
Yet over us all the while Thought's lightning plays
And all the while within us works His love.
Now more than when the play began, He laughs.

*

Now I believe that it is possible
To manage the arising clouds, to silence
The thunder when it roars and put our rein
Upon the lightnings. Only first within
The god we must coerce who wallows here
In love with his subjection and confined
By his own servants, wantonly enslaved
To every lure and every tempting bond.
And therefore man loves power, but power o'ercome,
Force that accepts its limits. Wherefore then
A limit? Why not dare the whole embrace,
The vast attraction? Let us risk extinction then
If by that venture immortality
And high omnipotence come near our grasp.
'Tis not the little rippling wayward seas,
Nor all huge ocean tumbled by its storms
That can be our exemplar. The vault of heaven
Is not a true similitude for man
Whose space outgyres thought's last horizon. Something
There is in us fears not the night beyond,
But breathless sails, unanchored, without helm,
Where all the senses end. Our naked soul
Can journey to the farther unshaped void
Where nothing is except ourselves, arrive, hold on,
Not shake, not ask return. Who accepts at last
His limit save the beast and plant and clod?
O to be perfect here, to exceed all bounds,
To feel the world a toy between our hands!
Yet now enough that I have seized one current
Of the tremendous Force that moves the world.
I know, O God, the day shall dawn at last
When man shall rise from playing with the mud
And taking in his hands the sun and stars
Remould appearance, law and process old.
Then, pain and discord vanished from the world,
Shall the dead wilderness accept the rose
And the hushed desert babble of its rills;
Man once more seem the image true of God.

*

I will not faint, O God. There is the thirst,
And thirst supposes water somewhere. Yes,
But in this life we may not ever find;
Old nature sits a phantom by the way,
Old passions may forbid, old doubts return.
Then are there other lives here or beyond
To satisfy us? I will persist, O Lord.

Three

What is this Love that I have never found?
I have imagined in the skies a God
And seen Him in the stirring of the leaves
And heard Him in the purling of the brooks
And feared Him in the lightning's flashing tusk
And missed Him in the mute eternal night
And woke to Him in the returning Dawns.
And now I say there is no God at all,
But only a dumb Void that belches forth
Numberless larvae and phantasmal shapes
Into a void less happy than itself
Because this feels. O if this dream were true,
This iron, brute, gigantic, helpless toy
They call a world, this thing that turns and turns
And shrieks and bleeds and cannot stop, this victim
Broken and living yet on its iron wheel,
And if a Will created this, what name
Shall best blaspheme against that tyrant God?
Let all men seek it out and hurl it up
Against Him with one cry, if yet perchance
Complete denial may destroy His life
With happy end to His unhappy world.
For where in all these stars is any sign of Love?
It is not here, but that which seems like Love
Is a sleek cruel cheat that soon unmasks,
Sent here to make the final suffering worse, -
Not Love, but Death disguised that strokes its food!
And all good in the world is only that,
A death that eats and eating is devoured,
This is the brutal image of the world.

*

Lo, I have cursed Thee, lo, I have denied
Thy love, Thy being. Strike me with Thy rod,
Convince me that Thou art. O leave it not
To Thy dumb messengers that have no heart,
No wrath in the attack, no angered love,
No exultation in the blow that falls,
The cry that answers. Let me feel a Heart,
Even though an evil one, that throbs and is
Against our tears, our pressure and our search.
Beware, for I will send my soul across the earth
And all men turn against Thee at my word.
There is no sign, there comes not any voice.
And yet, alas! I know He will return
And He will soothe my wounds and charm my heart;
I shall again forgive, again shall love,
Again shall suffer, be again deceived.
And where is any end, O Heaven, O Earth?
But there is never any end when one has loved.

*

A sudden silence and a sudden sound,
The sound above and in another world,
The silence here and from the two a thought.
Perhaps the heart of God for ever sings
And worlds come throbbing out from every note;
Perhaps His soul sits ever calm and still
And listens to the music rapturously,
Himself adoring, by Himself adored.
So were the singer and the hearer one
Eternally. The anthem buoyant rides
For ever on the seas of Space and Time
And worships the white Bliss from which 'twas born;
The ineffable Delight leans silent down
And clasps the creatures of its mystic cry
For ever and for ever - without end.

*

Who art thou that pursuest my desire
Like a wild beast behind the jungle's screen
And throw'st a dread upon its fiercest fire,
A shadow on its flowering joy and green?
Thou madest and deniest me my need,
Thou jealous Lover and devouring Greed!

*

Who spoke of God? There is a hungry Beast
In ambush for the world who all devours,
Yet is his hunger sated not the least.
He tears our beauty, strength and happiest hours,
And eats our flesh and drinks our blood and tears,
Ranging as in a thicket through the years.

*

Dost thou desire my last vain hope? Take it, rejoice!
Wilt thou exact my dying bliss? Tear it and end!
But give me this at least, dying, to hear thy voice,
By thee as foeman slain if never clasped as friend.

*

Foeman or friend, lover or slayer, only thee
I need and feel, O personal eternity.

*

If what thou gavest, thou must needs again exact,
Cancel thy forms, deny thy own accomplished fact,
With what wilt thou replace them? Is thy void
Embraceable by arms? Or can the soul upbuoyed
Rest on a shoreless emptiness without a name?
Can Love find rapture by renouncing all his flame?
Thou hast forgotten or our nature is misled,
Lur'st thou to utter life beyond the silence dead?

*

Not sound, nor silence, neither world nor void,
But the unthinkable, absolute, unalloyed
One, multitudinous, nameless, yet a Name,
Innumerably other, yet the same.
Immeasurable ecstasy where Time
And Space have fainted in a swoon sublime!

*

Of silence I have tired, from the profounder Night
I come rejected. All the immensities overhead
Are given to my fierce upwinging soul at last
Rapt into high impossible ranges huge outspread.
Unnumbered voices thrill the silent waiting Vast,
A million flames converge into the rayless Light.
12.04.1913

Hell and Heaven

In the silence of the night-time,
        In the grey and formless eve
When the thought is plagued with loveless
        Memories that it cannot leave,

When the dawn makes sudden beauty
        Of a peevish clouded sky,
And the rain is sobbing slowly
        And the wind makes weird reply,

Always comes her face before me
        And her voice is in my ear,
Beautiful and sad and cruel
        With the azure eyes austere.

Cloudy figure once so luminous
        With the light and life within
When the soul came rippling outwards
        And the red lips laughed at sin,

Com'st thou with that marble visage
        From what world instinct with pain
Where we pay the price of passion
        By a law our hearts disdain?

Cast it from thee, O thou goddess!
        Earning with a smile release
From these sad imaginations,
        Rise into celestial peace.

Travel from the loveless places
        That our mortal fears create,
Where thy natural heavens claim thee
        And the gods, thy brothers, wait.

Then descend to me grown radiant,
        Lighting up terrestrial ground
With the feet that brighten heaven
        When the mighty dance goes round

And the high Gods beating measure
        Tread the maze that keeps the stars
Circling in their luminous orbits
        Through the eternal thoroughfares.

All below is but confusion
        Of desires that strive and cry,
Some forbidden, some achieving
        Anguish after ecstasy.

But above our radiant station
        Is from which by doubt we fell,
Reaching only after Heaven
        And achieving only Hell.

Let the heart be king and master,
        Let the brain exult and toil,
Disbelieve in good and evil,
        God with Nature reconcile.

Therefore, O rebellious sweetness,
        Thou tookst arms for joy and love.
There achieve them! Take possession
        Of our radiant seats above.
1902 - 1930

Life

Mystic Miracle, daughter of Delight,
        Life, thou ecstasy,
Let the radius of thy flight
        Be eternity.

On thy wings thou bearest high
        Glory and disdain,
Godhead and mortality,
        Ecstasy and pain.

Take me in thy wild embrace
        Without weak reserve
Body dire and unveiled face;
        Faint not, Life, nor swerve.

All thy bliss I would explore,
        All thy tyranny.
Cruel like the lion's roar,
        Sweet like springtide be.

Like a Titan I would take,
        Like a God enjoy,
Like a man contend and make,
        Revel like a boy.

More I will not ask of thee,
        Nor my fate would choose;
King or conquered let me be,
        Live or lose.

Even in rags I am a god;
        Fallen, I am divine;
High I triumph when down-trod,
        Long I live when slain.
1902 - 1930  

Short poems 1930 - 1950

A God's Labour

I have gathered my dreams in a silver air
        Between the gold and the blue
And wrapped them softly and left them there,
        My jewelled dreams of you.

I had hoped to build a rainbow bridge
        Marrying the soil to the sky
And sow in this dancing planet midge
        The moods of infinity.

But too bright were our heavens, too far away,
        Too frail their ethereal stuff;
Too splendid and sudden our light could not stay;
        The roots were not deep enough.

He who would bring the heavens here
        Must descend himself into clay
And the burden of earthly nature bear
        And tread the dolorous way.

Coercing my godhead I have come down
        Here on the sordid earth,
Ignorant, labouring, human grown
        Twixt the gates of death and birth.

I have been digging deep and long
        Mid a horror of filth and mire
A bed for the golden river's song,
        A home for the deathless fire.

I have laboured and suffered in Matter's night
        To bring the fire to man;
But the hate of hell and human spite
        Are my meed since the world began.

For man's mind is the dupe of his animal self;
        Hoping its lusts to win,
He harbours within him a grisly Elf
        Enamoured of sorrow and sin.

The grey Elf shudders from heaven's flame
        And from all things glad and pure;
Only by pleasure and passion and pain
        His drama can endure.

All around is darkness and strife;
        For the lamps that men call suns
Are but halfway gleams on this stumbling life
        Cast by the Undying Ones.

Man lights his little torches of hope
        That lead to a failing edge;
A fragment of Truth is his widest scope,
        An inn his pilgrimage.

The Truth of truths men fear and deny,
        The Light of lights they refuse;
To ignorant gods they lift their cry
        Or a demon altar choose.

All that was found must again be sought,
        Each enemy slain revives,
Each battle for ever is fought and refought
        Through vistas of fruitless lives.

My gaping wounds are a thousand and one
        And the Titan kings assail,
But I cannot rest till my task is done
        And wrought the eternal will.

How they mock and sneer, both devils and men!
        "Thy hope is Chimera's head
Painting the sky with its fiery stain;
        Thou shalt fall and thy work lie dead.

"Who art thou that babblest of heavenly ease
        And joy and golden room
To us who are waifs on inconscient seas
        And bound to life's iron doom?

"This earth is ours, a field of Night
        For our petty flickering fires.
How shall it brook the sacred Light
        Or suffer a god's desires?

"Come, let us slay him and end his course!
        Then shall our hearts have release
From the burden and call of his glory and force
        And the curb of his wide white peace."

But the god is there in my mortal breast
        Who wrestles with error and fate
And tramples a road through mire and waste
        For the nameless Immaculate.

A voice cried, "Go where none have gone!
        Dig deeper, deeper yet
Till thou reach the grim foundation stone
        And knock at the keyless gate."

I saw that a falsehood was planted deep
        At the very root of things
Where the grey Sphinx guards God's riddle sleep
        On the Dragon's outspread wings.

I left the surface gods of mind
        And life's unsatisfied seas
And plunged through the body's alleys blind
        To the nether mysteries.

I have delved through the dumb Earth's dreadful heart
        And heard her black mass' bell.
I have seen the source whence her agonies part
        And the inner reason of hell.

Above me the dragon murmurs moan
        And the goblin voices flit;
I have pierced the Void where Thought was born,
        I have walked in the bottomless pit.

On a desperate stair my feet have trod
        Armoured with boundless peace,
Bringing the fires of the splendour of God
        Into the human abyss.

He who I am was with me still;
        All veils are breaking now.
I have heard His voice and borne His will
        On my vast untroubled brow.

The gulf twixt the depths and the heights is bridged
        And the golden waters pour
Down the sapphire mountain rainbow-ridged
        And glimmer from shore to shore.

Heaven's fire is lit in the breast of the earth
        And the undying suns here burn;
Through a wonder cleft in the bounds of birth
        The incarnate spirits yearn

Like flames to the kingdoms of Truth and Bliss:
        Down a gold-red stair-way wend
The radiant children of Paradise
        Clarioning darkness's end.

A little more and the new life's doors
        Shall be carved in silver light
With its aureate roof and mosaic floors
        In a great world bare and bright.

I shall leave my dreams in their argent air,
        For in a raiment of gold and blue
There shall move on the earth embodied and fair
        The living truth of you.
31.7.1935, 1.1.1936

Bride of the Fire

Bride of the Fire, clasp me now close, -
        Bride of the Fire!
I have shed the bloom of the earthly rose,
        I have slain desire.

Beauty of the Light, surround my life, -
        Beauty of the Light!
I have sacrificed longing and parted from grief,
        I can bear thy delight.

Image of ecstasy, thrill and enlace, -
        Image of bliss!
I would see only thy marvellous face,
        Feel only thy kiss.

Voice of Infinity, sound in my heart, -
        Call of the One!
Stamp there thy radiance, never to part,
        O living Sun.
11.11.1935

The Blue Bird

I am the bird of God in His blue;
        Divinely high and clear
I sing the notes of the sweet and the true
        For the god's and the seraph's ear.

I rise like a fire from the mortal's earth
        Into a griefless sky
And drop in the suffering soil of his birth
        Fire-seeds of ecstasy.

My pinions soar beyond Time and Space
        Into unfading Light;
I bring the bliss of the Eternal's face
        And the boon of the Spirit's sight.

I measure the worlds with my ruby eyes;
        I have perched on Wisdom's tree
Thronged with the blossoms of Paradise
        By the streams of Eternity.

Nothing is hid from my burning heart;
        My mind is shoreless and still;
My song is rapture's mystic art,
        My flight immortal will.
11.11.1935

The Mother of God

A conscious and eternal Power is here
Behind unhappiness and mortal birth
And the error of Thought and blundering trudge of Time.
The Mother of God, his sister and his spouse,
Daughter of his wisdom, of his might the mate,
She has leapt from the Transcendent's secret breast
To build her rainbow worlds of mind and life.
Between the superconscient absolute Light
And the Inconscient's vast unthinking toil
In the rolling and routine of Matter's sleep
And the somnambulist motion of the stars
She forces on the cold unwilling Void
Her adventure of life, the passionate dreams of her lust.
Amid the work of darker Powers she is here
To heal the evils and mistakes of Space
And change the tragedy of the ignorant world
Into a Divine Comedy of joy
And the laughter and the rapture of God's bliss.
The Mother of God is master of our souls;
We are the partners of his birth in Time,
Inheritors we share his eternity.
1945

The Island Sun

I have sailed the golden ocean
        And crossed the silver bar;
I have reached the Sun of knowledge
        The earth-self's midnight star.

Its fields of flaming vision,
        Its mountains of bare might,
Its peaks of fiery rapture,
        Its air of absolute light,

Its seas of self-oblivion,
        Its vales of Titan rest,
Became my soul's dominion,
        Its Island of the Blest.

Alone with God and silence,
        Timeless it lived in Time;
Life was His fugue of music,
        Thought was Truth's ardent rhyme.

The Light was still around me
        When I came back to earth
Bringing the Immortal's knowledge
        Into man's cave of birth.
3/13.10.1939

Silence is all

1

Silence is all, say the sages.
Silence watches the work of the ages;
In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages;
Silence is all, say the sages.

2

What then of the word, O speaker?
What then of the thought, O thinker?
Thought is the wine of the soul and the word is the beaker;
Life is the banquet-table - the soul of the sage is the drinker.

3

What of the wine, O mortal?
I am drunk with the wine as I sit at Wisdom's portal,
Waiting for the Light beyond thought and the Word immortal.
Long I sit in vain at Wisdom's portal.

4

How shalt thou know the Word when it comes, O seeker?
How shalt thou know the Light when it breaks, O witness?
I shall hear the voice of the God within me and grow wiser and meeker;
I shall be the tree that takes in the light as its food, I shall drink its nectar of sweetness.
14.1.1946

Is this the end

Is this the end of all that we have been,
        And all we did or dreamed, -
A name unremembered and a form undone, -
        Is this the end?

A body rotting under a slab of stone
        Or turned to ash in fire,
A mind dissolved, lost its forgotten thoughts, -
        Is this the end ?

Our little hours that were and are no more,
        Our passions once so high
Being mocked by the still earth and calm sunshine, -
        Is this the end?

Our yearnings for the human Godward climb
        Passing to other hearts
Deceived, while smiles towards death and hell the world, -
        Is this the end ?

Fallen is the harp; shattered it lies and mute;
        Is the unseen player dead ?
Because the tree is felled where the bird sang,
        Must the song too hush?

One in the mind who planned and willed and though
        Worked to reshape earth's fate,
One in the heart who loved and yearned and hoped,
        Does he too end?

The Immortal in the mortal is his Name;
        An artist Godhead here
Ever remoulds himself in diviner shapes,
        Unwilling to cease

Till all is done for which the stars were made,
        Till the heart discovers God
And the soul knows itself. And even then
        There is no end.
3.6.1945

Who art thou that camest

Who art thou that camest
        Bearing the occult Name,
Wings of regal darkness
        Eyes of an unborn flame?

Like the august uprising
        Of a forgotten sun
Out of the caverned midnight
        Fire-trails of wonder run.

Captured the heart renouncing
        Tautness of passion-worn strings
Allows the wide-wayed sweetness
                Of free supernal things.
22.3.1944

One Day

The Little More

One day, and all the half-dead is done,
One day, and all the unborn begun;
A little path and the great goal,
A touch that brings the divine whole.
 
Hill after hill was climbed and now,
Behold, the last tremendous brow
And the great rock that none has trod:
A step, and all is sky and God.
1938 - 39

The Dwarf Napoleon

Hitler, October 1939

Behold, by Maya's fantasy of will
A violent miracle takes sudden birth,
The real grows one with the incredible.
In the control of her magician wand
The small achieves things great, the base things grand.
This puny creature would bestride the earth
Even as the immense colossus of the past.
Napoleon's mind was swift and bold and vast,
His heart was calm and stormy like the sea,
His will dynamic in its grip and clasp.
His eye could hold a world within its grasp
And see the great and small things sovereignly.
A movement of enormous depth and scope
He seized and gave cohesion to its hope.
Far other this creature of a nether clay,
Void of all grandeur, like a gnome at play,
Iron and mud his nature's mingled stuff,
A little limited visionary brain
Cunning and skilful in its narrow vein,
A sentimental egoist poor and rough,
Whose heart was never sweet and fresh and young,
A headlong spirit driven by hopes and fears,
Intense neurotic with his shouts and tears,
Violent and cruel, devil, child and brute,
This screaming orator with his strident tongue,
The prophet of a scanty fixed idea,
Plays now the leader of our human march;
His might shall build the future's triumph arch.
Now is the world for his eating a ripe fruit.
His shadow falls from London to Korea.
Cities and nations crumble in his course.
A terror holds the peoples in its grip:
World-destiny waits upon that foaming lip.
A Titan Power supports this pigmy man,
The crude dwarf instrument of a mighty Force.
Hater of the free spirit's joy and light,
Made only of strength and skill and giant might,
A Will to trample humanity into clay
And unify earth beneath one iron sway,
Insists upon its fierce enormous plan.
Trampling man's mind and will into one mould
Docile and facile in a dreadful hold,
It cries its demon slogans to the crowd;
But if its tenebrous empire were allowed,
Its mastery would prepare the dismal hour
When the Inconscient shall regain its right,
And man who emerged as Nature's conscious power,
Shall sink into the deep original night
Sharing like all her forms that went before
The doom of the mammoth and the dinosaur.
It is the shadow of the Titan's robe
That looms across the panic-stricken globe.
In his high villa on the fatal hill
Alone he listens to that sovereign Voice,
Dictator of his action's sudden choice,
The tiger leap of a demoniac skill.
Too small and human for that dreadful Guest,
An energy his body cannot invest, -
A tortured channel, not a happy vessel,
Drives him to think and act and cry and wrestle.
Thus driven he must stride on conquering all,
Threatening and clamouring, brutal, invincible,
Perhaps to meet upon his storm-swept road
A greater devil - or thunderstroke of God.
16.10.1939

The Children of Wotan (1940)

"Where is the end of your armoured march, O children of Wotan?
Earth shudders with fear at your tread, the death-flame laughs in your eyes."
"We have seen the sign of Thor and the hammer of new creation,
A seed of blood on the soil, a flower of blood in the skies.
We march to make of earth a hell and call it heaven.
The heart of mankind we have smitten with the whip of the sorrows seven;
The Mother of God lies bleeding in our black and gold sunrise."
 
"I hear the cry of a broken world, O children of Wotan."
"Question the volcano when it burns, chide the fire and bitumen!
Suffering is the food of our strength and torture the bliss of our entrails.
We are pitiless, mighty and glad, the gods fear our laughter inhuman.
Our hearts are heroic and hard; we wear the belt of Orion:
Our will has the edge of the thunderbolt, our acts the claws of the lion.
We rejoice in the pain we create as a man in the kiss of a woman."
 
"Have you seen your fate in the scales of God, O children of Wotan,
And the tail of the Dragon lashing the foam in far-off seas?"
"We mock at God, we have silenced the mutter of priests at his altar.
Our leader is master of Fate, medium of her mysteries.
We have made the mind a cypher, we have strangled Thought with a cord;
Dead now are pity and honour, strength only is Nature's lord.
We build a new world-order; our bombs shout Wotan's peace.
 
"We are the javelins of Destiny, we are the children of Wotan,
We are the human Titans, the supermen dreamed by the sage.
A cross of the beast and demoniac with the godhead of power and will,
We are born in humanity's sunset, to the Night is our pilgrimage.
On the bodies of perishing nations, mid the cry of the cataclysm coming,
To a presto of bomb and shell and the aeroplanes' fatal humming,
We march, lit by Truth's death-pyre, to the world's satanic age."
August 1940

Despair on the Staircase

Mute stands she, lonely on the topmost stair,
An image of magnificent despair;
The grandeur of a sorrowful surmise
Wakes in the largeness of her glorious eyes.
In her beauty's dumb significant pose I find
The tragedy of her mysterious mind.
Yet is she stately, grandiose, full of grace.
A musing mask is her immobile face.
Her tail is up like an unconquered flag,
Its dignity knows not the right to wag.
An animal creature wonderfully human,
A charm and miracle of fur-footed Brahman,
Whether she is spirit, woman or a cat,
Is now the problem I am wondering at.
October 1939

Surrealist

I have heard a foghorn shouting at a sheep,
And oh the sweet sound made me laugh and weep
But alas, the sheep was on the hither shore
Of the little less and the ever-never more.
I sprang on its back; it jumped into the sea.
I was near to the edges of eternity.
Then suddenly the foghorn blared again.
There was no sheep - it had perished of ear pain.
I took a boat and steered to the Afar
Hoping to colonise the polar star.
But in the boat there was a dangerous goose
Whom some eternal idiot had let loose.
To this wild animal I said not "Bo!"
But it was not because I did not know.
Full soon I was on shore with dreadful squeals
And the fierce biped cackling at my heels.
Alarmed I ran into a lion's den
And after me ran three thousand armoured men.
The lion bolted through his own backdoor
And set up a morose dissatisfied roar.
At this my courage rose; I grew quite brave
And shoved myself into a tiger's cave.
The tiger snarled; I thought it best instead
To don my pyjamas and go to bed.
But the tiger had a strained objecting face,
So I turned my eyes away from his grimace.
At night the beast began my back to claw
And growled out that I was his brother-in-law.
I rose and thought it best to go away
To a doctor's house: besides 'twas nearly day.
The doctor shook his head and cried "For a back
Pepper and salt are the remedy, alack."
But I objected to his condiments
And thought the doctor had but little sense.
Then I returned to my own little cot
For really things were now extremely hot.
Then fierily the world cracked Nazily down
And I looked about to find my dressing gown.
I was awake (I had tumbled on the floor).
A shark was hammering away at my front-door.
1930 - 1950  

Short Poems - Fragments

Morcundeya

O will of God that stirrest and the Void
Is peopled, men have called thee force, upbuoyed
Upon whose wings the stars borne round and round
Need not one hour of rest; light, form and sound
Are marks of thy eternal movement. We
See what thou choosest, but 'tis thou we see.
 
I Morcundeya whom the worlds release,
The Seer, - but it is God alone that sees ! -
Soar up above the bonds that hold below
Man to his littleness, lost in the show
Perennial which the senses round him build;
I find them out and am no more beguiled.
But ere I rise, ere I become the vast
And luminous Infinite and from the past
And future utterly released forget
These beings who themselves their bonds create,
Once I will speak and what I see declare.
The rest is God. There's silence everywhere.
 
My eyes within were opened and I saw.

A voice arose

(Alexandrines)

A voice arose that was so sweet and terrible
It thrilled the heart with love and pain, as if all hell
Tuned with all heaven in one inextricable note.
Born from abysmal depths on highest heights to float,
It carried all sorrow that the souls of creatures share,
Yet hinted every rapture that the gods can bear.
O Sun of God who camst into my blackest Night
To sound and know its gulfs and bring the immortal light.
 

I walked beside the waters

(Alexandrines)

I walked beside the waters of a world of light
On a gold ridge guarding two seas of high-rayed night.
One was divinely topped with a pale bluish moon
And swam as in a happy deep spiritual swoon
More conscious than earth's waking; the other's wide delight
Billowed towards an ardent orb of diamond white.
But where I stood, there joined in a bright marvellous haze
The miracled moons with the long ridge's golden blaze.
I knew not if two wakings or two mighty sleeps
Mixed the great diamond fires and the pale pregnant deeps,
But all my glad expanding soul flowed satisfied
Around me and became the mystery of their tide.
As one who finds his own eternal self, content,
Needing naught else beneath the spirit's firmament,
It knew not Space, it heard no more Time's running feet,
Termless, fulfilled, lost richly in itself, complete.
And so it might have lain for ever. But there came
A dire intrusion wrapped in married cloud and flame,
Across the blue-white moon-hush of my magic seas
A sudden sweeping of immense peripheries
Of darkness ringing lambent lustres; shadowy-vast
A nameless dread, a Power incalculable passed
Whose feet were death, whose wings were immortality;
Its changing mind was time, its heart eternity.
All opposites were there, unreconciled, uneased,
Struggling for victory, by victory unappeased.
All things it bore, even that which brings undying peace,
But secret, veiled, waiting for some supreme release.
I saw the spirit of the cosmic Ignorance;
I felt its power besiege my gloried fields of trance.
25.4.1934

Urvasie

Pururavus from converse held with Gods
On unseen crest of Nature high, occult,
Traversed the tumult of the flame-tossed seas
That cast their fire between the spirit's poles.
Alone like a bright star twixt earth and heaven,
He reached the crossways of infinity.
A Soul to our apparent life reborn
Out of the vastness of the original Self,
Journeying in dim momentous solitude
Led by the nickering of uncertain suns,
He essayed the fringe of Night's tremendous home.
Before him lay the subtle realm of light
Our organed sense conceals, the light that gleams
Across the sealless musings of the seer,
A slumberless wide eye upon our scene.
Attracted to earth's darkly pregnant dream
He tarried not on these mysterious shores
But still descended the divine abyss
To new adventure in the eternal Night,
Transgressed the wonder-line of things beyond
Abruptly into mortal space and time.
A universe appeared of difficult birth,
The labour of eclipsed and ignorant gods,
An immortality of chance and change.
Bridging the gulf between antagonist planes
He saw the circles of Heaven's rash advance,
Sun upon sun. God's sentinels in the void;
Life's radiant and immeasurable camp
Blazed in the order of the aeonic Will.
But with the menace of the dragon depths
The old blind vigilant Nescience stretched afar
Hungering in serpent dumb infinitude,
And her dark shade besieged the luminaries.
Silence and Death opposed the invading Fire.
And even before he broke into our pale
There came on him a breath from tarnished worlds.
Averse from an obscure material touch
The images of the supernal realms
That he had left sank from the front of thought
And held their session in the heart's dumb cave.
The glory and grace, the light, the sacred life
Receded as behind a burning door:
Subliminal beneath the lid of mind
The grandeur and the passion and the calm.
His mind became a beat of memory.
Sight, hearing changed towards our diminished scale;
The little views grew great, the great grew small.
As yet some largeness was of inmost things
And he remembered in the formless sense
Proud kingdoms of intense and beautiful life
And love left free to do his absolute will
And dreams at once commuted into power.
Affronting many starfields of our space
And shortening ever the vast lens of Time
He met a smaller movement of desire
Prisoned in the orbit of a few pale globes
And knew in front our little solar belt
Hung casually among the giant stars.
Then earth received him mid her living forms.
Her deep inconscient motions packed and mute,
Her darknesses more wise than her small lights
Oppressed again his young divinity.
 

The Cosmic Man

I look across the world and no horizon walls my gaze;
I see Paris and Tokio and New York,
I see the bombs bursting on Barcelona and on Canton streets.
Man's numberless misdeeds and rare good deeds take place within my single self.
I am the beast he slays, the bird he feeds and saves.
The thoughts of unknown minds exalt me with their thrill,
I carry the sorrow of millions in my lonely breast.
25.9.1938  

II. Sonnets - early period

To the Cuckoo

Sounds of the wakening world, the year's increase,
Passage of wind and all his dewy powers
With breath and laughter of new-bath`ed flowers
And that deep light of heaven above the trees
Awake mid leaves that muse in golden peace
Sweet noise of birds, but most in heavenly showers
The cuckoo's voice pervades the lucid hours,
Is priest and summoner of these melodies.
The spent and weary streams refresh their youth
At that creative rain and barren groves
Regain their face of flowers; in thee the ruth
Of Nature wakening her dead children moves.
But chiefly to renew thou hast the art
Fresh childhood in the obscured human heart.
1890 - 92

Transiit, non Periit

(My grandfather, Rajnarayan Bose, died September 1899)

Not in annihilation lost, nor given
To darkness art thou fled from us and light,
O strong and sentient spirit; no mere heaven
Of ancient joys, no silence eremite
Received thee; but the omnipresent Thought
Of which thou wast a part and earthly hour,
Took back its gift. Into that splendour caught
Thou hast not lost thy special brightness. Power
Remains with thee and the old genial force
Unseen for blinding light, not darkly lurks:
As when a sacred river in its course
Dives into ocean, there its strength abides
Not less because with vastness wed and works
Unnoticed in the grandeur of the tides.
 

What is this talk

What is this talk of slayer and of slain?
Swords are not sharp to slay nor floods assuage
This flaming soul. Mortality and pain
Are mere conventions of a mightier stage.
As when a hero by his doom pursued
Falls like a pillar of the world uptorn,
Shaking the hearts of men, and awe-imbued
Silent the audience sits of joy forlorn,
Meanwhile behind the stage the actor sighs
Deep-lunged relief, puts by what he has been
And talks with friends that waited, or from the flies
Watches the quiet of the closing scene,
Even so the unwounded spirits of slayer and slain
Beyond our vision passing live again.
 

To weep because a glorious sun

To weep because a glorious sun has set
Which the next morn shall gild the east again;
To mourn that mighty strengths must yield to fate
Which by that force a double strength attain;
To shrink from pain without whose friendly strife
Joy could not be, to make a terror of death
Who smiling beckons us to farther life,
And is a bridge for the persistent breath;
Despair and anguish and the tragic grief
Of dry set eyes, or such disastrous tears
As rend the heart, though meant for its relief,
And all man's ghastly company of fears
Are born of folly that believes the span
Of life the limit of immortal man.
 

I have a hundred lives

I have a hundred lives before me yet
To grasp thee in, O Spirit ethereal,
Be sure I will with heart insatiate
Pursue thee like a hunter through them all.
Thou yet shalt turn back on the eternal way
And with awakened vision watch me come
Smiling a little at errors past and lay
Thy eager hand in mine, its proper home.
Meanwhile made happy by thy happiness
I shall approach thee in things and people dear,
And in thy spirit's motions half-possess,
Loving what thou hast loved, shall feel thee near,
Until I lay my hands on thee indeed
Somewhere among the stars, as 'twas decreed.
 

Sonnets 1930 - 1950

The Kingdom Within

There is a kingdom of the spirit's ease.
      It is not in this helpless swirl of thought,
      Foam from the world-sea or spray-whisper caught,
With which we build mind's shifting symmetries,
Nor in life's stuff of passionate unease,
      Nor the heart's unsure emotions frailty wrought
      Nor trivial clipped sense-joys soon led to nought
Nor in this body's solid transiences.
 
Wider behind than the vast universe
      Our spirit scans the drama and the stir,
            A peace, a light, an ecstasy, a power
Waiting at the end of blindness and the curse
      That veils it from its ignorant minister,
            The grandeur of its free eternal hour.
14-3-1936  

The Yogi on the Whirlpool

On a dire whirlpool in the hurrying river
      A life-stilled statue naked, bronze, severe
      He kept the posture of a deathless seer
Unshaken by the mad water's leap and shiver.
Thought could not think in him; flesh could not quiver;
      The feet of Time could not adventure here:
      Only some unborn Power nude and austere,
Only a Silence mighty to deliver.
 
His spirit world-wide and companionless
      Seated above the torrent of the days
            On the deep eddy that our being forms,
Silent, sustained the huge creation's stress,
            Unchanged supporting Nature's rounds and norms,
      Immobile background of the cosmic race.
14-3-1936

The Divine Hearing

All sounds, all voices have become Thy voice:
      Music and thunder and the cry of birds,
Life's babble of her sorrows and her joys,
      Cadence of human speech and murmured words,
 
The laughter of the sea's enormous mirth,
      The winged plane purring through the conquered air,
The auto's trumpet-song of speed to earth,
      The machine's reluctant drone, the siren's blare
 
Blowing upon the windy horn of Space
      A call of distance and of mystery,
Memories of sun-bright lands and ocean-ways, -
      All now are wonder-tones and themes of Thee.
 
A secret harmony steals through the blind heart
And all grows beautiful because Thou art.
24-10-1936  

Electron

The electron on which forms and worlds are built,
      Leaped into being, a particle of God.
A spark from the eternal Energy spilt,
      It is the Infinite's blind minute abode.
 
In that small flaming chariot Shiva rides.
      The One devised innumerably to be;
His oneness in invisible forms he hides,
      Time's tiny temples of eternity.
 
Atom and molecule in their unseen plan
      Buttress an edifice of strange oneness,
Crystal and plant, insect and beast and man, -
      Man on whom the World-Unity shall seize,
 
Widening his soul-spark to an epiphany
Of the timeless vastness of Infinity.
15-7-1938

The Indwelling Universal

I contain the whole world in my soul's embrace:
      In me Arcturus and Belphegor burn.
      To whatsoever living form I turn
I see my own body with another face.
 
All eyes that look on me are my sole eyes;
      The one heart that beats within all breasts is mine.
      The world's happiness flows through me like wine,
Its million sorrows are my agonies.
 
Yet all its acts are only waves that pass
      Upon my surface; inly for ever still,
      Unborn I sit, timeless, intangible:
All things are shadows in my tranquil glass.
 
My vast transcendence holds the cosmic whirl;
I am hid in it as in the sea a pearl.
15-7-1938  

The Witness Spirit

I dwell in the spirit's calm nothing can move
      And watch the actions of Thy vast world-force,
Its mighty wings that through infinity move
      And the Time-gallopings of the deathless Horse.
 
This mute stupendous Energy that whirls
      The stars and nebulae in its long train,
Like a huge Serpent through my being curls
      With its diamond hood of joy and fangs of pain.
 
It rises from the dim inconscient deep
      Upcoiling through the minds and hearts of men,
Then touches on some height of luminous sleep
      The bliss and splendour of the eternal plane.
 
All this I bear in me, untouched and still
Assenting to Thy all-wise inscrutable will.
26-7-1938 (revised 21-3-1944)

The Pilgrim of the Night

I made an assignation with the Night;
      In the abyss was fixed our rendezvous:
In my breast carrying God's deathless light
      I came her dark and dangerous heart to woo.
I left the glory of the illumined Mind
      And the calm rapture of the divinised soul
And travelled through a vastness dim and blind
      To the grey shore where her ignorant waters roll.
I walk by the chill wave through the dull slime
      And still that weary journeying knows no end;
Lost is the lustrous godhead beyond Time,
      There comes no voice of the celestial Friend,
And yet I know my footprints' track shall be
A pathway towards Immortality.
26-7-1938, revised 18-3-1944  

The Hidden Plan

However long Night's hour, I will not dream
      That the small ego and the person's mask
Are all that God reveals in our life-scheme,
      The last result of Nature's cosmic task.
A greater Presence in her bosom works;
      Long it prepares its far epiphany:
Even in the stone and beast the godhead lurks,
      A bright Persona of eternity.
It shall burst out from the limit traced by Mind
      And make a witness of the prescient heart;
It shall reveal even in this inert blind
      Nature, long veiled in each inconscient part,
Fulfilling the occult magnificent plan,
The world-wide and immortal spirit in man.
26-7-1938, revised 21-3-1944

The Inconscient

Out of a seeming void and dark-winged sleep
      Of dim inconscient infinity
A Power arose from the insentient deep,
      A flame-whirl of magician Energy.
 
Some huge somnambulist Intelligence
      Devising without thought process and plan
Arrayed the burning stars' magnificence,
      The living bodies of beasts and the brain of man.
 
What stark Necessity or ordered Chance
      Became alive to know the cosmic whole?
What magic of numbers, what mechanic dance
      Developed consciousness, assumed a soul?
 
The darkness was the Omnipotent's abode,
Hood of omniscience, a blind mask of God.
27-7-1938, (revised 21-3-1944)  

Liberation

I have thrown from me the whirling dance of mind
      And stand now in the spirit's silence free,
Timeless and deathless beyond creature-kind,
      The centre of my own eternity.
 
I have escaped and the small self is dead;
      I am immortal, alone, ineffable;
I have gone out from the universe I made,
      And have grown nameless and immeasurable.
 
My mind is hushed in a wide and endless light,
      My heart a solitude of delight and peace,
My sense unsnared by touch and sound and sight,
      My body a point in white infinities.
 
I am the one Being's sole immobile Bliss:
No one I am, I who am all that is.
27-7-1938, (revised 22-3-1944)

Cosmic Consciousness

I have wrapped the wide world in my wider self
      And Time and Space my spirit's seeing are.
I am the god and demon, ghost and elf,
      I am the wind's speed and the blazing star.
All Nature is the nursling of my care,
      I am its struggle and the eternal rest;
The world's joy thrilling runs through me, I bear
      The sorrow of millions in my lonely breast.
I have learned a close identity with all,
      Yet am by nothing bound that I become;
Carrying in me the universe's call
      I mount to my imperishable home.
I pass beyond Time and life on measureless wings,
Yet still am one with born and unborn things.
28-7-1938  

The Golden Light

Thy golden Light came down into my brain
      And the grey rooms of mind sun-touched became
A bright reply to Wisdom's occult plane,
      A calm illumination and a flame.
 
Thy golden Light came down into my throat,
      And all my speech is now a tune divine,
A paean-song of Thee my single note;
      My words are drunk with the Immortal's wine.
 
Thy golden Light came down into my heart
      Smiting my life with Thy eternity;
Now has it grown a temple where Thou art
      And all its passions point towards only Thee.
 
Thy golden Light came down into my feet,
My earth is now Thy playfield and Thy seat.
8-8-1938, (revised 22-3-1944)

Life-Unity

I housed within my heart the life of things,
      All hearts athrob in the world I felt as mine;
I shared the joy that in creation sings
      And drank its sorrow like a poignant wine.
 
I have felt the anger in another's breast,
      All passions poured through my world-self their waves;
One love I shared in a million bosoms expressed.
      I am the beast man slays, the beast he saves.
 
I spread life's burning wings of rapture and pain;
      Black fire and gold fire strove towards one bliss:
I rose by them towards a supernal plane
      Of power and love and deathless ecstasies.
 
A deep spiritual calm no touch can sway
Upholds the mystery of this Passion-play.
8-8-1938, (revised 22-3-1944)  

Bliss of Identity

All nature is taught in radiant ways to move,
      All beings are in myself embraced.
O fiery boundless Heart of joy and love,
      How art thou beating in a mortal's breast!
 
It is Thy rapture flaming through my nerves
      And all my cells and atoms thrill with Thee;
My body Thy vessel is and only serves
      As a living wine-cup of Thy ecstasy.
 
I am a center of Thy golden light
      And I its vast and vague circumference,
Thou art my soul great, luminous and white
      And Thine my mind and will and glowing sense.
 
Thy spirit's infinite breath I feel in me;
My life is a throb of Thy eternity.
25-7-1938, 21-3-1944

The Iron Dictators

I looked for Thee alone, but met my glance
      The iron dreadful Four who rule our breath,
Masters of falsehood, Kings of ignorance,
      High sovereign Lords of suffering and death.
 
Whence came these formidable autarchies,
      From what inconscient blind Infinity, -
Cold propagandists of a million lies,
      Dictators of a world of agony?
 
Or was it Thou who bor'st the fourfold mask?
      Enveloping Thy timeless heart in Time,
Thou has bound the spirit to its cosmic task,
      To find Thee veiled in this tremendous mime.
 
Thou, only Thou, canst raise the invisible siege,
O Light, O deathless Joy, O rapturous Peace!
14-11-1938  

Form

O worshipper of the formless Infinite,
      Reject not form, what lives in form is He.
      Each finite is that deep Infinity
Enshrining His veiled soul of pure delight.
Form in its heart of silence recondite
      Hides the significance of His mystery,
      Form is the wonder-house of eternity,
A cavern of the deathless Eremite.
 
There is a beauty in the depths of God,
      There is a miracle of the Marvellous
That builds the universe for its abode.
      The One, in His glory multitudinous,
Bursting into shape and colour like a rose,
Compels the great world-petals to unclose.
16-11-1938

Infinite Adventure

On the waters of a nameless Infinite
      My skiff is launched; I have left the human shore.
      All fades behind me and I see before
The unknown abyss and one pale pointing light.
An unseen Hand controls my rudder. Night
      Walls up the sea in a black corridor, -
      An inconscient Hunger's lion plaint and roar
Or the ocean sleep of a dead Eremite.
 
I feel the greatness of the Power I seek
      Surround me; below me are its giant deeps.
            Beyond, the invisible height no soul has trod.
I shall be merged in the Lonely and Unique
      And wake into a sudden blaze of God,
            The marvel and rapture of the Apocalypse.
11-9-1939  

The Greater Plan

I am held no more by life's alluring cry,
      Her joy and grief, her charm, her laughter's lute.
      Hushed are the magic moments of the flute,
And form and colour and brief ecstasy.
I would hear, in my spirit's wideness solitary
      The Voice that speaks when mortal lips are mute:
      I seek the wonder of things absolute
Born from the silence of Eternity.
 
There is a need within the soul of man
      The splendours of the surface never sate;
            For life and mind and their glory and debate
Are the slow prelude of a vaster theme,
      A sketch confused of a supernal plan,
            A preface to the epic of the Supreme.
12-9-1939

The Universal Incarnation

There is a Wisdom like a brooding Sun,
      A Bliss in the heart's crypt grown fiery white,
The heart of a world in which all hearts are one,
      A Silence on the mountains of delight.
 
A Calm that cradles Fate upon its knees;
      A wide Compassion leans to embrace earth's pain;
A Witness dwells within our secrecies,
      The incarnate Godhead in the body of man.
 
Our mind is a glimmering curtain of that Ray,
      Our strength a parody of the Immortal's power,
Our joy a dreamer on the Eternal's way
      Hunting the fugitive beauty of an hour.
 
Only on the heart's veiled door the word of flame
Is written, the secret and tremendous Name.
13-9-1939  

The Godhead

I sat behind the dance of Danger's hooves
      In the shouting street that seemed a futurist's whim,
And suddenly felt, exceeding Nature's grooves,
      In me, enveloping me the body of Him.
 
Above my head a mighty head was seen,
      A face with the calm of immortality
And an omnipotent gaze that held that scene
      In the vast circle of its sovereignty.
 
His hair was mingled with the sun and breeze;
      The world was in His heart and He was I:
I housed in me the Everlasting's peace,
      The strength of One whose substance cannot die.
 
The moment passed and all was as before;
Only that deathless memory I bore.
13-9-1939

The Stone Goddess

In a town of gods, housed in a little shrine,
      From sculptured limbs the Godhead looked at me, -
A living Presence deathless and divine,
      A Form that harboured all infinity.
 
The great World-Mother and her mighty will
      Inhabited the earth's abysmal sleep,
Voiceless, omnipotent, inscrutable,
      Mute in the desert and the sky and deep.
 
Now veiled with mind she dwells and speaks no word,
      Voiceless, inscrutable, omniscient,
Hiding until our soul has seen, has heard,
      The secret of her strange embodiment,
 
One in the worshipper and the immobile shape,
A beauty and mystery flesh or stone can drape.
13-9-1939  

Krishna

At last I find a meaning of soul's birth
      Into this universe terrible and sweet,
I who have felt the hungry heart of earth
      Aspiring beyond heaven to Krishna's feet.
 
I have seen the beauty of immortal eyes,
      And heard the passion of the Lover's flute,
And known a deathless ecstasy's surprise
      And sorrow in my heart for ever mute.
 
Nearer and nearer now the music draws,
      Life shudders with a strange felicity;
All Nature is a wide enamoured pause
      Hoping her lord to touch, to clasp, to be.
 
For this one moment lived the ages past;
The world now throbs fulfilled in me at last.
15-9-1939

The Cosmic Dance

Dance of Krishna, Dance of Kali

Two measures are there of the cosmic dance.
      Always we hear the tread of Kali's feet
Measuring in rhythms of pain and grief and chance
      Life's game of hazard terrible and sweet,
 
The ordeal of the veiled Initiate,
      The hero soul at play with Death's embrace,
Wrestler in the dread gymnasium of Fate -
      And sacrifice a lonely path to Grace.
 
Man's sorrows made a key to the Mysteries,
      Truth's narrow road out of Time's wastes of dream,
The soul's seven doors from Matter's tomb to rise,
      Are the common motives of her tragic theme.
 
But when shall Krishna's dance through Nature move,
His mask of sweetness, laughter, rapture, love?
15-9-1939  

Shiva


On the white summit of eternity
      A single Soul of bare infinities,
      Guarded he keeps by a fire-screen of peace
His mystic loneliness of nude ecstasy.
But, touched by an immense delight to be,
      He looks across unending depths and sees
      Musing amid the inconscient silences
The Mighty Mother's dumb felicity.
 
Half now awake she rises to his glance;
      Then, moved to circling by her heart-beats' will,
            The rhythmic worlds describe that passion-dance.
Life springs in her and Mind is born; her face
      She lifts to Him who is Herself, until
The Spirit leaps into the Spirit's embrace.
16-9-1939

The Word of the Silence

A bare impersonal hush is now my mind,
      A world of sight clear and illimitable,
A volume of silence by a Godhead signed,
      A greatness pure, virgin of will.
 
Once on its pages Ignorance could write
      In a scribble of intellect the blind guess of Time
And cast gleam-messages of ephemeral light,
      A food for souls that wander on Nature's rim.
 
But now I listen to a greater Word
      Born from the mute unseen omniscient Ray:
The Voice that only Silence' ear has heard
      Leaps missioned from an eternal glory of Day.
 
All turns from a wideness and unbroken peace
To a tumult of joy in a sea of wide release.
18/19-9-1939  

The Dual Being

There are two beings in my single self.
      A Godhead watches Nature from behind
At play in front with a brilliant surface elf,
      A time-born creature with a human mind.
 
Tranquil and boundless like a sea or sky,
      The godhead knows himself Eternity's son.
Radiant his mind and vast, his heart as free;
      His will is a sceptre of dominion.
 
The smaller self by Nature's passions driven,
      Thoughtful and erring learns his human task;
All must be known and to that Greatness given
      This mind and life, the mirror and the mask.
 
As with the figure of a symbol dance
The screened Omniscient plays at Ignorance.
19-9-1939

The Self's Infinity

I have become what before Time I was.
      A secret touch has quieted thought and sense:
All things by the agent Mind created pass
      Into a void and mute magnificence.
 
My life is a silence grasped by timeless hands;
      The world is drowned in an immortal gaze.
Naked my spirit from its vestures stands;
      I am alone with my own self for space.
 
My heart is a center of infinity,
      My body a dot in the soul's vast expanse.
All being's huge abyss wakes under me,
      Once screened in a gigantic Ignorance.
 
A momentless immensity pure and bare,
I stretch to an eternal everywhere.
18/19-9-1939  

Lila

In us is the thousandfold Spirit who is one,
      An eternal thinker calm and great and wise,
A seer whose eye is an all-regarding sun,
      A poet of the cosmic mysteries.
 
A critic Witness pieces everything
      And binds the fragments in his brilliant sheaf;
A World-adventurer borne on Destiny's wing
      Gambles with death and triumph, joy and grief.
 
A king of greatness and a slave of love,
      Host of the stars and guest in Nature's inn,
A high spectator Spirit throned above,
      A pawn of passion in the game divine,
 
One who has made in sport the suns and seas
Mirrors in our being his immense caprice.
20-9-1939

Surrender

O Thou of whom I am the instrument,
      O secret Spirit and Nature housed in me,
Let all my mortal being now be blent
      In Thy still glory of divinity.
 
I have given my mind to be dug Thy channel mind,
      I have offered up my will to be Thy will:
Let nothing of myself be left behind
      In our union mystic and unutterable.
 
My heart shall throb with the world-beats of Thy love,
      My body become Thy engine for earth-use;
In my nerves and veins Thy rapture's streams shall move;
      My thoughts shall be hounds of Light for Thy power to loose.
 
Leave only my soul to adore eternally
And meet Thee in each form and soul of Thee.
20-9-1939  

The Divine Worker

I face earth's happenings with an equal soul;
      In all are heard Thy steps: Thy unseen feet
Tread Destiny's pathways in my front. Life's whole
      Tremendous theorem is Thou complete.
 
No danger can perturb my spirit's calm:
      My acts are Thine; I do Thy works and pass;
Failure is cradled on Thy deathless arm,
      Victory is Thy passage mirrored in Fortune's glass.
 
In this rude combat with the fate of man
      Thy smile within my heart makes all my strength;
Thy force in me labours at its grandiose plan,
      Indifferent to the Time-snake's crawling length.
 
No power can slay my soul; it lives in Thee.
Thy presence is my immortality.
20-9-1939

The Guest

I have discovered my deep deathless being:
      Masked by my front of mind, immense, serene
It meets the world with an Immortal's seeing,
      A god-spectator of the human scene.
 
No pain and sorrow of the heart and flesh
      Can tread that pure and voiceless sanctuary.
Danger and fear, Fate's hounds, slipping their leash
      Rend body and nerve, - the timeless Spirit is free.
 
Awake, God's ray and witness in my breast,
      In the undying substance of my soul
Flamelike, inscrutable the almighty Guest.
      Death nearer comes and Destiny takes her toll;
 
He hears the blows that shatter Nature's house:
Calm sits He, formidable, luminous.
21-9-1939  

The Inner Sovereign

Now more and more the Epiphany within
      Affirms on Nature's soil His sovereign rights.
My mind has left its prison-camp of brain;
      It pours, a luminous sea from spirit heights.
 
A tranquil splendour, waits my Force of Life
      Couched in my heart, to do what He shall bid,
Poising wide wings like a great hippogriff
      On which the gods of the empyrean ride.
 
My senses change into gold gates of bliss;
      An ecstasy thrills through touch and sound and sight
Flooding the blind material sheath's dull ease:
      My darkness answers to His call of light.
 
Nature in me one day like Him shall sit
Victorious, calm, immortal, infinite.
22-9-1939

The Conscious Inconscient

Because Thou hadst all eternity to amuse,
      O dramatist of death and life and birth,
      O sculptor of the living shapes of earth,
World-artist revelling in forms and hues,
 
A mathematician Mind that never errs,
      Thou hast played with theorems, numbers, measures, cubes,
      Passed cells, electrons, molecules, through Thy tubes,
World-forces for Thy Science's ministers,
 
And made a universe of Thy theories,
      Craftsman minute, an architect of might.
      Protean is Thy Spirit of Delight,
An adept of a thousand mysteries.
 
Or built some deep Necessity, not Thy whim,
Fate and Inconscience and the snare of Time?
24/28-9-1939  

A Dream of Surreal Science

One dreamed and saw a gland write Hamlet, drink
      At the Mermaid, capture immortality;
A committee of hormones on the Aegean's brink
      Composed the Iliad and the Odyssey.
 
A thyroid, meditating almost nude
      Under the Bo-tree, saw the eternal Light
And, rising from its mighty solitude,
      Spoke of the Wheel and eightfold Path all right.
 
A brain by a disordered stomach driven
      Thundered through Europe, conquered, ruled and fell;
From St. Helena went, perhaps, to Heaven.
      Thus wagged on the surreal world, until
 
A scientist played with atoms and blew out
The universe before God had time to shout.
25-9-1939

In the Battle

Often, in the slow ages long retreat
      On Life's thin ridge through Time's enormous sea,
I have accepted death and borne defeat
      To some vantage by my fall for Thee.
 
For Thou hast given the Inconscient the dark right
      To oppose the shining passage of my soul
And levy at each step the tax of Night:
      Doom, her august accountant, keeps the roll.
 
All around me now the Titan forces press;
This world is theirs, they hold its days in fee;
I am full of wounds and the fight merciless.
      Is it not yet Thy hour of victory?
 
Even as Thou wilt! What still to Fate Thou owest,
O Ancient of the worlds, Thou knowest, Thou knowest.
25-9-1939  

The Little Ego

This puppet ego the World-Mother made,
      This little profiteer of Nature's works,
Her trust in his life-tenancy betrayed,
      Makes claim on claim, all debt to her he shirks.
 
Each movement of our life our ego fills;
      Inwoven in each thread of being's weft,
When most we vaunt our selflessness, it steals
      A sordid part; no corner void is left.
 
One way lies free our heart and soul to give,
      Our body and mind to Thee and every cell,
And steeped in Thy world-infinity to live.
      Then lost in light, shall fade the ignoble spell.
 
Nature, of her rebellion quit, shall be
A breath of the Spirit's vast serenity.
26/29-9-1939

The Miracle of Birth

I saw my soul a traveller through Time;
      From life to life the cosmic ways it trod,
Obscure in the depths and on the heights sublime,
      Evolving from the worm into the god.
 
A spark of the eternal Fire, it came
      To build a house in Matter for the Unborn.
The inconscient sunless Night received the flame;
      In the brute seed of things dumb and forlorn.
 
Life stirred and Thought outlined a gleaming shape
      Till on the stark inanimate earth could move,
Born to somnambulist Nature in her sleep
      A thinking creature who can hope and love.
 
Still by slow steps the miracle goes on,
The Immortal's gradual birth mid mire and stone.
27/29-9-1939  

Moments

If perfect moments on the peak of things,
      These tops of knowledge, greatness, ecstasy,
      Are only moments, this too enough could be.
I have assumed the rapid flaming wings
Of souls whom the Ignorance black-robed Nature brings
      And the frail littleness of mortality
      Can bind not always; a high sovereignty
      Makes them awhile creation's radiant kings.
 
These momentary upliftings of the soul
      Prepare the spirit's glorious permanence.
      The peace of God, a great calm immanence
            Is now my being's boundless atmosphere.
All parts are gathered into a timeless whole;
            All moments last in an eternal Year.
29-9-1939 & 02-10-1939

The Bliss of Brahman

I have become a foam-white sea of bliss,
      I am a curling wave of God's delight,
      A shapeless flow of happy passionate light,
A whirlpool of the streams of Paradise.
 
I am a cup of His felicities,
      A thunderblast of His golden ecstasy's might,
      A fire of joy upon creation's height,
I am His rapture's wonderful abyss.
 
I am drunken with the glory of the Lord,
      I am vanquished by the beauty of the Unborn;
            I have looked, alive, upon the Eternal's face.
My mind is cloven by His radiant sword,
      My heart by His beatific touch is torn;
            My life is a meteor-dust of His flaming Grace.
29-9-1939 & 21-10-1939  

The Human Enigma

A deep enigma is the soul of man.
      His conscious life obeys the Inconscient's rule,
      His need of joy is learned in sorrow's school;
His heart is a chaos and an empyrean.
His subtle ignorance borrows Wisdom's plan;
      His mind is the Infinite's sharp and narrow tool.
      He wades through mud to reach the Wonderful,
And does what Matter must of Spirit can.
 
All powers in his living's soil take root
      Hoping to grow and dominate the earth.
            This little creature mind that would be great
      Is Nature's fool and Godhead's struggling birth,
A demigod and a demon and a brute,
            The slave and the creator of his fate.
09-1939

The Body

This body which was once my universe,
      Is now a pittance carried by the soul, -
Its Titan's motion bears this scanty purse,
      Pacing through vastness to a vaster goal.
 
Too small was it to meet the giant need
      That only infinitude can satisfy:
He keeps it still, for in the folds is hid
      His secret passport to eternity.
 
In his front and endless Time and Space deploy
      The landscape of their golden happenings;
His heart is filled with sweet and violent joy,
      His mind is upon great and distant things.
 
How grown with all the world conterminous
Is the little dweller in this narrow house!
2-10-1939  

Liberation

My mind, my soul grow larger than all Space;
      Time founders in that vastness glad and nude:
The body fades, an outline, a dim trace,
      A memory in the spirit's solitude.
 
This universe is a vanishing circumstance
      In the glory of a white infinity,
Beautiful and bare for the Immortal's dance,
      House-room of my immense felicity.
 
In the thrilled happy giant void within
      Thought lost in light and passion drowned in bliss,
Changing into a stillness hyaline,
      Obey the edict of the Eternal's peace.
 
Life's now the Ineffable's dominion;
Nature is ended and the spirit alone.
2-10-1939, 3-10-1939

Light

Light, endless Light! Darkness has room no more.
      Life's ignorant gulfs give up their secrecy:
The huge inconscient depths unplumbed before
      Lie glimmering in vast expectancy.
 
Light, timeless Light immutable and apart!
      The holy sealed mysterious doors unclose.
Light, burning Light from the Infinite's diamond heart
      Quivers in my heart where blooms the deathless rose.
 
Light in its rapture leaping through the nerves!
      Light, brooding Light! Each smitten passionate cell
In a mute blaze of ecstasy preserves
      A living sense of the Imperishable.
 
I move in an ocean of stupendous Light
Joining my depths to His eternal height.
3-10-1939, 4-10-1939  

The Unseen Infinite

Arisen to voiceless unattainable peaks
      I meet no end, for all is boundless He,
An absolute Joy the wide-winged spirit seeks,
      A Might, a Presence, an Eternity.
 
In the inconscient dreadful dumb Abyss
      Are heard the heart-beats of the Infinite.
The insensible midnight veils His trance of bliss,
      A fathomless sealed astonishment of Light.
 
In His ray that dazzles our vision everywhere,
      Our half-closed eyes seek fragments of the One:
Only the eyes of Immortality dare
      To look unblinded on that living Sun.
 
Yet are our souls the Immortal's selves within,
Comrades and powers and children of the Unseen.
10-1939

Self

He said, "I am egoless, spiritual, free,"
      Then swore because his dinner was not ready.
I asked him why. He said, "It is not me,
      But the belly's hungry god who gets unsteady."
 
I asked him why. He said, "It is his play.
      I am unmoved within, desireless, pure.
I care not what may happen day by day."
      I questioned him, "Are you so very sure?"
 
He answered, "I can understand your doubt.
      But to be free is all. It does not matter
How you may kick and howl and rage and shout,
      Making a row over your daily platter.
 
"To be aware of self is liberty,
Self I have got and, having self, am free."
15-10-1939  

The Cosmic Spirit

I am a single Self all Nature fills.
      Immeasurable, unmoved the Witness sits:
He is the silence brooding on her hills,
      The circling motion of her cosmic mights.
 
I have broken the limits of embodied mind
      And am no more the figure of a soul.
The burning galaxies are in me outlined;
      The universe is my stupendous whole.
 
My life is the life of village and continent,
      I am earth's agony and her throbs of bliss;
I share all creatures' sorrow and content
      An feel the passage of every stab and kiss.
 
Impassive, I bear each act and thought and mood;
Time traverses my hushed infinitude.
15-10-1939, 5-11-1939

"I"

This strutting "I" of human self and pride
      Is a puppet built by Nature for her use,
And dances as her strong compulsions bid,
      Forcefully feeble, brilliantly obtuse.
 
Our thinking is her leap of fluttering mind,
      We hear and see by her constructed sense;
Our force is hers; her colors have combined
      Our fly-upon-the-wheel magnificence.
 
He sits within who turns on her machine
      These beings, portions of His mystery,
Many dwarfs beams of His great calm sunshine,
      A reflex of His sole infinity.
 
One mighty Self of cosmic act and thought
Employs this figure of a unit nought.
15-10-1939, 03-11-1939  

Omnipresence

He is in me, round me, facing everywhere.
      Self-walled in ego to exclude His right,
I stand upon its boundaries and stare
      Into the frontiers of the Infinite.
 
Each finite things I see is a facade;
      From its windows looks at me the Illimitable.
In vain was my prison of separate body made;
      His occult presence burns in every cell.
 
He has become my substance and my breath;
      He is my anguish and my ecstasy.
My birth is His eternity's sign, my death
      A passage of His immortality.
 
My dumb abysses are His screened abode;
In my heart's chamber lives the unworshipped God.
17-10-1939

The Inconscient Foundation

My mind beholds its veiled subconscient base,
      All the dead obstinate symbols of the past,
The hereditary moulds, the stamps of race
      Are upheld to sight, the old imprints effaced.
 
In a downpour of supernal light it reads
      The black Inconscient's enigmatic script -
Recorded in a hundred shadowy screeds
      An inert world's obscure enormous drift;
 
All flames, is torn and burned and cast away.
      There slept the tables of the Ignorance,
There the dumb dragon edicts of her sway,
      The scriptures of Necessity and Chance.
 
Pure is the huge foundation left and nude,
A boundless mirror of God's infinitude.
18-10-1939, 7-2-1940  

Adwaita

I walked on the high-wayed Seat of Solomon
      Where Shankaracharya's tiny temple stands
Facing Infinity from Time's edge, alone
      On the bare ridge ending earth's vain romance.
 
Around me was a formless solitude:
      All had become one strange Unnamable,
An unborn sole Reality world-nude,
      Topless and fathomless, for ever still.
 
A Silence that was Being's only word,
      The unknown beginning and the voiceless end
Abolishing all things moment-seen or heard,
      On an incommunicable summit reigned,
 
A lonely Calm and void unchanging Peace
On the dumb crest of Nature's mysteries.
19-10-1939

The Hill-Top Temple

After unnumbered steps of a hill-stair
      I saw upon earth's head brilliant with sun
      The immobile Goddess in her house of stone
In a loneliness of mediating air.
Wise were the human hands that sees her there
      Above the world and Time's dominion;
      The Soul of all that lives, calm, pure, alone,
Revealed its boundless self mystic and bare.
 
Our body is an epitome of some Vast
      That masks its presence by our humanness.
            In us the secret Spirit can indite
            A page and summary of the Infinite,
      A nodus of Eternity expressed
Live in an image and a sculptured face.
21-10-1939  

Because Thou art...

Because Thou art All-beauty and All-bliss,
      My soul blind and enamoured yearns for Thee;
It bears Thy mystic touch in all that is
      And thrills with the burden of that ecstasy.
 
Behind all eyes I meet Thy secret gaze
      And in each voice I hear Thy magic tune:
Thy sweetness haunts my heart through Nature's ways;
      Nowhere it beats now from Thy snare immune.
 
It loves Thy body in all living things;
      Thy joy is there in every leaf and stone:
The moments bring Thee on their fiery wings;
      Sight's endless artistry is Thou alone.
 
Time voyages with Thee upon its prow, -
And all the future's passionate hope is Thou.
25-10-1939

Divine Sight

Each sight is now immortal with Thy bliss:
      My soul through the rapt eyes has come to see;
A veil is rent and they no more can miss
      The miracle of Thy world-epiphany.
 
Into an ecstasy of vision caught
      Each natural object is of Thee a part,
A rapture-symbol from Thy substance wrought,
      A poem shaped in Beauty's living heart,
 
A master-work of colour and design,
      A mighty sweetness borne on grandeur's wings;
A burdened wonder of significant line
      Reveals itself in even commonest things.
 
All forms are the dream-dialect of delight,
O Absolute, O vivid Infinite.
26-1-1939  

Divine Sense

Surely I take no more an earthly food
      But eat the fruits and plants of Paradise!
For Thou hast changed my sense's habitude
      From mortal pleasure to divine surprise.
 
Hearing and sight are now an ecstasy,
      And all the fragrances of earth disclose
A sweetness matching in intensity
      Odour of the crimson marvel of the rose.
 
In every contact's deep invading thrill,
      That lasts as if its source were infinite,
I feel Thy touch; Thy bliss imperishable
      Is crowded into that moment of delight.
 
The body burns with Thy rapture's sacred fire,
Pure, passionate, holy, virgin of desire.
1-11-1939

Immortality

I have drunk deep of God's own liberty
      From which an occult sovereignty derives:
      Hidden in an earthly garment that survives,
I am the wordless being vast and free.
A moment stamped with that supremacy
      Has rescued me from cosmic hooks and gyves;
      Abolishing death and time my nature lives
In the deep heart of immortality.
 
God's contract signed with Ignorance is torn;
      Time has become the Eternal's endless year,
            My soul's wide self of living infinite Space,
Outlines its body luminous and unborn
      Behind the earth-robe; under the mask grows clear
            The mould of an imperishable face.
1939 (?), 8-2-1940  

Man, the Despot of Contraries

I am greater than the greatness of the seas,
      A swift tornado of God-energy;
A helpless flower that quivers in the breeze
      I am weaker than the reed one breaks with ease.
 
I harbour all the wisdom of the wise
      In my nature of stupendous Ignorance;
On a flame of righteousness I fix my eyes
      While I wallow in sweet sin and join hell's dance.
 
My mind is brilliant like a full-orbed moon,
      Its darkness is the caverned troglodyte's.
I gather long Time's wealth and squander soon;
      I am an epitome of opposites.
 
I with repeated life death's sleep surprise;
I am a transience of the eternities.
(written ?, revised 29-7-1940)

Evolution

I passed into a lucent still abode
      And saw as in a mirror crystalline
      A ancient Force ascending serpentine
The unhasting spirals of the aeonic road.
Earth was a cradle for the arriving god
      And man but a half-dark half-luminous sign
      Of the transition of the veiled Divine
From Matter's sleep and the tormented load
Of ignorant life and death to the Spirit's light.
      Mind liberated swam Light's ocean vast
            And life escaped from its grey tortured line;
I saw Matter illumining its parent Night.
      The soul could feel into infinity cast
            Timeless God-bliss the heart incarnadine.
1838, 22-3-1944  

The Silver Call

There is a godhead of unrealised things
      To which Time's splendid gains are hoarded dross;
A cry seems near, a rustle of silver wings
      Calling to heavenly joy by earthly loss.
 
All eye has seen and all the ear has heard
      Is a pale illusion by some greater voice
And mightier vision; no sweet sound or word,
      No passion of hues that make the heart rejoice
 
Can equal these diviner ecstasies.
      A Mind beyond our mind has sole the ken
Of those yet unimagined harmonies,
      The fate and privilege of unborn men.
 
As rain-thrashed mire the marvel of the rose,
Earth waits that distant marvel to disclose.
1938, (revised 23-3-1944)

The Inner Fields

There is a brighter ether than this blue
      Pretence of an enveloping heavenly vault,
      A deeper greenness than this laughing assault
Of emerald rapture pearled with tears of dew.
Immortal spaces of cerulean hue
      Are in our reach and fields without this fault
      Of drab brown earth and streams that never halt
In their deep murmur which white flowers strew
 
Floating like stars upon a strip of sky.
      This world behind is made of truer stuff
            Than the manufactured tissue of earth's grace.
There we can walk and see the gods go by
      And sip from Hebe's cup nectar enough
            To make for us heavenly limbs and deathless face.
14-3-1947  

6. Sonnets Undated

Transformation

My breath runs in a subtle rhythmic stream;
      It fills my members with a might divine:
      I have drunk the Infinite like a giant's wine.
Time is my drama or my pageant dream.
Now are my illumined cells joy's flaming scheme
      And changed my thrilled and branching nervers to fine
      Channels of rapture opal and hyaline
For the influx of the Unknown and the Supreme.
 
I am no more a vassal of the flesh,
      A slave to Nature and her leaden rule;
I am caught no more in the senses' narrow mesh.
My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,
      My body is God's happy living tool,
My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.
 

Nirvana

All is abolished but the mute Alone.
      The mind from thought released, the heart from grief
      Grow inexistent now beyond belief;
There is no I, no Nature, known-unknown.
The city, a shadow picture without tone,
      Floats, quivers unreal; forms without relief
      Flow, a cinema's vacant shapes; like a reef
Foundering in shoreless gulfs the world is done.
 
Only the illimitable Permanent
      Is here. A Peace stupendous, featureless, still,
            Replaces all, - what once was I, in It
A silent unnamed emptiness content
      Either to fade in the Unknowable
            Or thrill with the luminous seas of the Infinite.
 

The Other Earths

An irised multitude of hills and seas,
      And glint of brooks in the green wilderness,
And tracked stars, and miracled symphonies
      Of hues that float in ethers shadowless,
A dance of fire-flies in the fretted gloom,
      In a pale moonlight the moon's silver flare,
Fire-importunities of scarlet bloom
      And bright suddenness of wings in a golden air,
Strange bird and animal forms like memories cast
      On the rapt silence of unearthly woods,
Calm faces of the gods on backgrounds vast
      Bringing the marvel of the infinitudes,
Through glimmering veils of wonder and delight
World after world bursts on the awakened sight.
 

Contrasts

What opposites are here! A trivial life
      Specks the huge dream of Dream called Matter; intense
      In its struggle of weakness towards omnipotence,
A thinking mind starts from the unthinking strife
In the order of the electric elements.
      Immortal life breathed in that monstrous death,
      A mystery of Knowledge wore as sheath
Matter's mute nescience. Its enveloped sense
Or dumb somnambulist will obscurely reigns
      Driving the atoms in their cosmic course
      Whose huge unhearing movement serves perforce
The works of a strange blind omniscience.
The world's deep contrasts are but figures spun
Draping the unanimity of the One.
 

Man, the Thinking Animal

A trifling unit in a boundless plan
      Amidst the enormous insignificance
      Of the unpeopled cosmos' fire-whirl dance,
Earth as by accident engendered man,
 
A creature of his own grey ignorance,
      A mind half-shadow and half-gleam, a breath
      That wrestles, captive in a world of death,
To live some lame brief years. Yet his advance,
 
Attempt of a divinity within,
      A consciousness in the inconscient Night,
      To realise its own supernal Light
Confronts the ruthless forces of the Unseen.
 
Aspiring to godhead from insensible clay
He travels slow-footed towards the eternal day.
 

The Dumb Inconscient

The dumb inconscient drew life's stumbling maze;
      A night of all things, packed and infinite,
It made our consciousness a torch that plays
      Between the abyss and a supernal Light;
 
It framed our mind a lens of segment sight,
      Piecing out inch by inch the world's huge mass,
And reason a small hard theodolite
      Measuring unreally the measureless ways.
 
Yet is the dark Inconscient whence come all,
      The self-same Power that shines on high unwon;
Our night shall be a sky purpureal,
      The torch transmute to a vast godhead's sun.
 
Man is a narrow bridge, a call that grows,
His soul the dim bud of God's flaming rose.
 

The Infinitesimal Infinite

Out of a still Immensity all came!
      These million universes were to it
The poor light-bubbles of a trivial game,
      A fragile glimmer in the Infinite.
 
It could not find its soul in all that vast:
      It drew itself into a little speck
Infinitesimal, ignobly cast
      Out of earth's mud and slime strangely awake, -
 
A tiny plasm on a little globe,
      In the small system of a dwarflike sun,
A little life wearing the flesh for robe,
      A little mind winged through wide space to run!
 
It lived, it knew, it saw its self sublime,
Deathless, outmeasuring Space, outlasting Time.
 

Evolution

All is not finished in the Unseen's decree!
      A mind beyond our mind demands our ken;
A life of unimagined harmony
      Awaits, concealed, the grasp of unborn men.
 
The crude beginnings of the lifeless earth
      And mindless stirrings of the plant and tree
Prepared our thought; thought for a godlike birth
      Broadens the mould of our mortality.
 
A might no human will or force could gain,
      A knowledge seated in eternity,
A joy beyond our struggle and our pain
      Is this earth-hampered creature's destiny.
 
O Thou who climbedst to mind from the dull stone,
Turn to the miracled summits yet unwon.
 

The One Self

All are deceived, do what the One Power dictates,
      Yet each thinks his own will his nature moves;
The hater knows not 'tis himself he hates,
The lover knows not 'tis himself he loves.
 
In all is one being many bodies bear,
      There Krishna flutes upon the forest mood
There Shiva sits ash-smeared, with matted hair.
      But Shiva and Krishna are the single God.
 
In us too Krishna seeks for love and joy,
      In us too Shiva struggles with the world's grief.
One Self in all of us endures annoy,
      Cries in his pain and asks his fate's relief.
 
My rival's downfalls is my own disgrace,
I look on my enemy and see Krishna's face.
 

Our godhead calls us

Our godhead calls us in unrealised things.
      Asleep in the wide fields of destiny,
A world guarded by Silence' rustling wings
      Sheltered their fine impossibility.
 
But part, but quiver the cerulean gates,
      Close splendours look into our dreaming eyes;
We bear proud deities and magnificent fates;
      Faces and hands come near from Paradise.
 
What shone thus far above is here in us;
      Bliss unattained our future's birthright is;
Beauty of our dim soul is amorous,
      We are the heirs of infinite widenesses.
 
The impossible is the hint of what shall be,
Mortal the door to immortality.
 

Discoveries of Science I

Only by electric hordes your world is run?
      But they are motes and spark-whirls of a Light,
A Fire of which your nebula and your sun
      Are glints and flame-drops scattered eremite.
 
Veiled by the unseen Light act other Powers,
      An Air of endless movement unbegun
Expanding and contracting in Time-hours,
      And the intangible Ether of the One.
 
These surface findings - screen-phenomenon -
      Are nature's offered reasons but behind
Her occult mysteries lurk safe unknown
      To the crude handling of the empiric Mind.
 
All yet discovered are but mire and trace
Of the eternal Energy in her race.
 

Discoveries of Science II

How shall ascending Nature near her goal?
      Not through man's stumbling tardy intellect
      Patient all forms and powers to dissect,
But by the surer vision of his soul.
 
An algebra of mind, a scheme of sense,
      A symbol language without depth or wings,
      A power to handle deftly outward things
Are our scant earnings of intelligence.
 
The Truth is greater and asks deeper ways:
      A sense that gathers all in its own being,
      A close and luminous touch, an intimate seeing,
A thought flung free from the words' daedal maze,
 
A tranquil heart in sympathy with all,
A will one-pointed, wide, imperial.
 

Discoveries of Science III

Our science is an abstract cold and brief
      That cuts in formulas the living whole.
      It has a brain and head but not a soul:
It sees all things in outward carved relief.
 
But how without its depths can the world be known?
      The visible has its roots in the unseen
      And each invisible hides what it can mean
In a yet deeper invisible, unshown.
 
The objects that you probe are not their form.
      Each is a mass of forces thrown in shape.
      The forces caught, their inner lines escape
In a fathomless consciousness beyond mind's norm.
 
Probe it and you shall meet a Being still
Infinite, nameless, mute, unknowable.
 


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2005 Jul 08 Fr