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Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo

The Complete Set

What about the Darshan? Any good news for us?

Very queer darshan – too early to say anything.

The Americans, it seems, were much impressed. And the one who took the longest time, had a vision, I hear, of the whole of America bowing at your feet! What a wonderful thing it will be, by Jove!

That was what he was calling for and he believed he got the answer.

So if that vision were to come true, it would be marvellous. Somehow I feel that America would be the first to accept your message and through it your work will be spread all over the West. True?

Possibly. Mother has always expected something special from America.

You will find something in my famous bag, which may startle you! Well, the pen is a present from Arindam Bose. The size and everything will suit you best though the nib may not. And I send it to you that your writing may flow in rivers from the pen, in my book, not in a few stingy lines!

Good Lord! what a Falstaff of a fountain-pen.

But it is not the pen that is responsible for the stinginess; the criminal is Time and with a fat pen he can be as niggardly as with a lean one.

Amal says that to follow strictly the sonnet-principle, the rhyme-scheme in the second quatrain should be the same as in the first, i.e. ab ab.

Yes, certainly; if you want to follow one of the strict sonnet forms.

The two regular sonnet rhyme-sequences are (1) the Shakespearean ab ab cd cd ef ef gg – that is three quatrains with alternate rhymes with a closing couplet and (2) the Miltonic with an octet abba abba (as in your second and third quatrains) and a sestet of three rhymes arranged according to choice. The Shn. is closer to the natural lyric rhythm, the Miltonic to the ode movement – i.e. something large and grave. The Miltonic is very difficult for it needs either a strong armoured structure of the thought or a carefully developed unity of the building which all poets can't manage. However there have been attempts at an irregular sonnet rhyme-sequence. Keats tried his hand at one a century ago and I vaguely believe (but that may be only an illusion of Maya) that modern poets have played loose fantastic tricks of their own invention; but I don't have much first-hand knowledge of modern (contemporary) poetry. Anyhow I have myself written a series of sonnets with the most heterodox rhyme arrangements, so I couldn't very well go for you when you did the same. One who has committed many murders can't very well rate another for having done a few. All the same, this sequence is rather – a Miltonic octet with a Shakespearean close would be more possible. I think I have done something of the kind with not too bad an effect, but I have no time to consult my poetry file and am not sure. In the sonnet too it might be well for you to do the regular thing first, soberly and well, and afterwards when you are sure of your steps, frisk and dance.


1936 02 22 Exact Writting Letter Nirodbaran