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Sri Aurobindo

Collected Poems

SABCL - Volume 5

I. Short Poems

Love in Sorrow

Do you remember, Love, that sunset pale

When from near meadows sad with mist the breeze

Sighed like a feverous soul and with soft wail

The ghostly river sobbed among the trees?

I think that Nature heard our misery

Weep to itself and wept for sympathy.

For we were strangers then; we knew not Fate

In ambush by the solitary stream

Nor did our sorrows hope to find a mate,

Much less of love or friendship dared we dream.

Rather we thought that loneliness and we

Were wed in marble perpetuity.

For there was none who loved me, no, not one.

Alas, what was there that a man should love?

For I was misery’s last and frailest son

And even my mother bade me homeless rove.

And I had wronged my youth and nobler powers

By weak attempts, small failures, wasted hours.

Therefore I laid my cheek on the chill grass

And murmured, “I am overborne with grief

And joy to richer natures hopes to pass.

Oh me! my life is like an aspen leaf

That shakes but will not fall. My thoughts are blind

And life so bitter that death seems almost kind.

“How am I weary of the days’ increase,

Of the moon’s brightness and the splendid stars,

The sun that dies not. I would be at peace,

Nor blind my soul with images, nor force

My lips to mirth whose later taste is death,

Nor with vain utterance load my weary breath.”

Thus murmured I aloud nor deemed I spoke

To human ears, but you were hidden, sweet,

Behind the willows when my plaining broke

Upon your lonely muse. Ah, kindly feet

That brushed the grass in tender haste to bind

Another’s wounds, you were less wise than kind.

You said, “My brother, lift your forlorn eyes;

I am your sister more than you unblest.”

I looked upon your face, the book of sighs

And index to incurable unrest.

I rose and kissed you, sweet. Your lips were warm

And drew my heart out like a witch’s charm.

We parted where the sacred spires arose

In silent power above the silent street.

I saw you mid the rose-trees, O white rose,

Linger a moment, then the dusk defeat

My eyes, and, listening, heard your footsteps fade

On the sad leaves of the autumnal glade.

And were you happy, sweet? In me I know –

For either in my blood the autumn sang

His own pale requiem or that new sweet glow

Failed in the light of bitter knowledge – rang

A voice that said, “Behold the loves too pure

To live, the joy that never shall endure.”

This too I know, nor is my hope so bright

But that it sees its autumn cold and sere

Attending with a pale and solemn light

Beyond the gardens of the vernal year.

Yet will I not my weary heart constrain

But take you, sweet, and sweet surcease from pain.


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.