SABCL - Volume 5
I. Short Poems
Night by the Sea
Love, a moment drop thy hands;
Night within my soul expands.
Veil thy beauties milk-rose-fair
In that dark and showering hair.
Coral kisses ravish not
When the soul is tinged with thought;
Burning looks are then forbid.
Let each shyly-parted lid
Hover like a settling dove
O’er those deep-blue wells of Love.
Darkness brightens; silvering flee
Pomps of foam the driven sea.
In this garden’s dim repose
Lighted with the burning rose,
Soft narcissi’s golden camp
Glimmering or with rosier lamp
Censered honeysuckle guessed
By the fragrance of her breast,–
Here where summer’s hands have crowned
Silence in the fields of sound,
Here felicity should be.
Hearken, Edith, to the sea.
What a voice of grief intrudes
On these happy solitudes!
To the wind that with him dwells
Ocean, old historian, tells
All the dreadful heart of tears
Hidden in the pleasant years.
Summer’s children, what do ye
By the stern and cheerless sea?
Not we first nor we alone
Heard the mighty Ocean moan
By this treasure-house of flowers
In the sweet ambiguous hours.
Many a girl’s lips ruby-red
With their vernal honey fed
Happy mouths, and soft cheeks flushed
With Love’s rosy sunlight blushed.
Ruddy lips of many a boy
Blithe discovered hills of joy
Ruby-guided through a kiss
To the sweet highways of bliss.
Here they saw the evening still
Coming slowly from the hill
And the patient stars arise
To their outposts in the skies;
Heard the ocean shoreward urge
The speed and thunder of his surge,
Singing heard as though a bee
Noontide waters on the sea.
These no longer. For our rose
In her place they wreathed once, blows,
And thy glorious garland, sweet,
Kissed not once those wandering feet.
All the lights of spring are ended,
To the wintry haven wended.
Beauty’s boons and nectarous leisure,
Lips, the honeycombs of pleasure,
Cheeks enrosed, Love’s natal soil,
Breasts, the ardent conqueror’s spoil,
Spring rejects; a lovelier child
His brittle fancies has beguiled.
O her name that to repeat
Than the Dorian muse more sweet
Could the white hand more relume
Writing and refresh the bloom
Of lips that used such syllables then,
Dies unloved by later men.
Are we more than summer flowers?
Shall a longer date be ours,
Rose and springtime, youth and we
By the everlasting sea?
Are they blown as legends tell
In the smoke and gurge of hell?
Writhe they in relucent gyres
O’er a circle sad of fires?
In what lightless groves must they
Or unmurmuring alleys stray?
Fields no sunlight visits, streams
Where no happy lotus gleams?
Yet, where’er their steps below,
Memories sweet for comrades go.
Lethe’s waters had their will,
But the soul remembers still.
Beauty pays her boon of breath
To thy narrow credit, Death,
Leaving a brief perfume; we
Perish also by the sea.
We shall lose, ah me! too soon
Lose the clear and silent moon,
The serenities of night
And the deeper evening light.
We shall know not when the morn
In the widening East is born,
Never feel the west-wind stir,
Spring’s delightful messenger,
Never under branches lain
Dally with the sweet-lipped rain,
Watch the moments of the tree,
Nor know the sounds that tread the sea.
With thy kisses chase this gloom: –
Thoughts, the children of the tomb.
Kiss me, Edith. Soon the night
Comes and hides the happy light.
Nature’s vernal darlings dead
From new founts of life are fed.
Dawn relumes the immortal skies.
Ah! what boon for earth-closed eyes?
Love’s sweet debts are standing, sweet;
Honied payment to complete
Haste – a million is to pay –
Lest too soon the allotted day
End and we oblivious keep
Darkness and eternal sleep.
See! the moon from heaven falls.
In thy bosom’s snow-white walls
Softly and supremely housed
Shut my heart up; keep it closed
Like a rose of Indian grain,
Like that rose against the rain,
Closed to all that life applauds,
Nature’s perishable gauds,
And the airs that burdened be
With such thoughts as shake the sea.
Later edition of this work: The Complete Works of Sri Aurobindo.- Set in 37 volumes.- Volume 2.- Collected Poems.- Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 2009.- 751 p.