Poem 16

You can endure the monotony of evenings,
of pleasures, of seas, mornings,
trains and motor cars, because all these are beings
born of your certitude. They are your singings from solitude.

The hive of your hair brings nectar from the flowers of stars to store
under your tongue, so that when you speak men everywhere,
according to their hungers, will obtain their share of Word-food – all, except the horsemen
who sleep under the plains and dream of cities to sack again.

The heifer of your cheek grazes on the sky’s velvet herbage;
Your laughter comforts the ashes of the moon cast into the sea;
the river of your tears bears both the song of the hills and human garbage;
winds seek your throat, and jewels your hands, to become mosaics of poetry.

‘The one in the many and the many in the one’; it sounds so boring put like this. But the poem puzzles, surprises, and intrigues to convey the wonder. The ‘you’, as we gradually become aware, is the divine. This is why the poet can call even trains and cars ‘beings’ because they participate in the immanent presence. They are all in the song of time sung by the One, the creator and enjoyer of the dream. And the metaphors fly. The stars are like the blowing of the divine hair in space. The perfume of the vast cosmos is distilled in the words of the God-man, in a sacramental meal for all, yet even the Avatar cannot obliterate the savage nature of some and their wild sanskaras.

Then we have a note of playful dream vision, God as cosmic heifer, a surrealistic image. The moon here stands for the remorseless passage of time and change. The river bears all to the ocean, weathering and cleansing. The winds of His inspiration of both hands and voice create the living word of poetry. It is a mosaic because like those of Ravenna or Constantinople it will last through time conveying a holy beauty. In the intensity of vision everything, including the poem is part of God, part of His exuberant humour.

The irregular line pattern helps give the poem its spontaneous visionary quality.