23 January 2011

Now it seems I do not have another essay on poetry to write today.

I thought about reading the whole of Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol. This is an epic poem by Sri Aurobindo. It is over 23,000 lines of blank verse. The language is archaic, which I love; but I find it next to impossible to read at length. There is just such vastness in the writing which is foreign to our quotidian apprehension. A line I have always found particularly appealing is: '...trooping spotted deer against the vesper sky became a song of evening to the silence of my soul.' This line is from Book V: The Book of Love, Canto 3: Satyavan and Savitri...

The neighing pride of rapid life that roams
Wind-maned through our pastures, on my seeing mood
Cast shapes of swiftness; trooping spotted deer
Against the vesper sky became a song
Of evening to the silence of my soul.
I caught for some eternal eye the sudden
King-fisher flashing to a darkling pool;
A slow swan silvering the azure lake,
A shape of magic whiteness, sailed through dream;
Leaves trembling with the passion of the wind,
Pranked butterflies, the conscious flowers of air,
And wandering wings in blue infinity
Lived on the tablets of my inner sight;
Mountains and trees stood there like thoughts from God.
The brilliant long-bills in their vivid-dress,
The peacock scattering on the breeze his moons
Painted my memory like a frescoed wall.
I carved my vision out of wood and stone;
I caught the echoes of a word supreme
And metred the rhythm-beats of infinity
And listened through music for the eternal Voice.

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