Poem 75

Slowly, slowly the drop-lover rises from the tangled sea floor;
Slowly, at last, by wave and current he makes his way to the shore.

Before him now stretches the illimitable Ocean of Bliss:
Pure shining Being, the divine Beloved; indivisible Is.

But between him and his Beloved is a chasm unbridgeable except by Grace;
But the Beloved, in the form of the master now, averts his face

Saying: That is your affair not mine – cross it by what means you can find;
Millions are still being tossed about in the seas you have left behind.

This chasm is the terrible void of absolute separation –
For which all the lonelinesses of dropness were but a probation.

In this separation all the Beloved’s promises turn into the smoke
Of the soul’s gutted, burnt- out candle of once fair, radiant hope.

Tears are the only helper of the helpless; and the lover’s tears become a flood
Which fills the chasm – and he swims over to his union with beloved God.

How this grand picture flows along. The chasm is unbridgeable – yet we can swim, even if the void can only be filled with our tears. No sweet sentimental image here, the vivid imagery scorches all our man-tailored dreams and endeavours. Yet the upbeat last line affirms the utter beauty of the divine revealed to the vision of the true seeker. Evolution saw the emergence of life from sea to shore; but the great return is to the indivisible and eternal Ocean.

We crave nothing less than the vision of utter purity and perfection. We cannot possess it; but imagination can be sustained by it. As usual the poet tries to embody this in the poem, not just to advocate or describe an ideal, and epic imagery of struggle and deliverance. Notice how the first couplet is best with 6 stresses in each line. This helps slow it down to convey the immensity of the process. After that 4 stresses in each line works well.