Correspondence with Sri Aurobindo
The Complete Set
But you don't say anything about the poem as it is now – bad, good, very good, or what?
As it is now, very good.
You see, all our values depend on how you appraise them. If Mother smiles at somebody, we think him good, if she doesn't, well, must be wrong somewhere, we conclude and be on our guard.
What a blunder! don't you know that the Divine smiles equally on the wicked and the good together?
About poetry it would be more so, specially in my case.
What a coupling of disparates!
You know I'm a self-depreciating fellow, so your silence would worsen matters. But presuming it to be good, where does my credit lie after so much correction? Can I call the original version good poetry?
Your credit lies in a substance which could not realise its possibilities because of your damnable errors in rhythm – It was good poetry in substance but spoiled by errors of form.
Even in the original the lines from, “As one stands rapt –” to “The Infinite” are very good – except when they become rhythmically very bad. What the hell do you mean by trying trochees like
Ĭn whose | gildĕd | shacklĕs | we laugh | and weep,
Ĭntŏ | ă prŏfound | stillnĕss | of lone | sky-heights,
or worst of all
The fi|nite for | one brief | moment | climbs.
Do you think you are adult enough yet for such Hitlerian violences to English metre?
Do you find in my piece any influence of your poem The Rishi which I read a few days ago? Permissible, such influence?
It may be there but I did not find it. The only result was a greater elevation and strength in the poetic speech. No objection can be made to an influence like that. It is imitation and reproduction that are objectionable.
By the way, Sir, you couldn't write to me1 because your lights went off. I thought you have a kerosene lamp with a pumping business and burner – God knows the name.2
Who gives these wonderful news?
Of course I have a lamp but it is not available at 2.30. Do you think I am going to wake up the whole house at that hour?
I intended long ago to procure one for your emergency use. Shall I try? That would only crush all your chances of a “delightful time”!
No, sir, no pumping business for me!
But concentration on “real work”?3 Good Lord, you do that from 9 or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. God alone knows what you do then.
What is this transcendental rubbish?
Perhaps you send Force to Germany, Abyssinia, or make a leap to the Supramental?
That is not my real work. Who except the devil is going to give force to Germany? Do you think I am in league with Hitler and his howling tribe of Nazis?
We speculate and speculate. Next, you concentrate from 6 p.m.-11 or 12. Still not enough?
Who gave you this wonderful programme? Invented it all by your ingenious self? From 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. afternoon correspondence, meal, newspapers. Evening correspondence from 7 or 7.30 to 9. From 9 to 10 p.m. concentration, 10 to 12 correspondence, 12 to 2.30 bath, meal, rest, 2.30 to 5 or 6 a.m. correspondence unless I am lucky. Where is the sufficient time for concentration?
B.P. complains of aches in the whole body. Since his going is not yet settled, shall we give him pot. iod + mercury?
Use your discretion. I am thinking after a time when R has got through his present long and difficult cases outside, of asking him to take this hopeless fellow up, but it is not yet a firm decision.
Again a boil on my left cheek, good Heavens! No improvement.4
As René's doctor says “Tut tut tut! Tut tut tut!”
Punishment for too much talking or eating or subconscious welling out?
2 Sri; Aurobindo put question marks above “pumping” and “business”.
4 Sri Aurobindo underlined “no improvement”.