Home Page | Workings | Works of Sri Aurobindo | Collected Poems

Sri Aurobindo

Collected Poems

SABCL - Volume 5

I. Short Poems

A God’s Labour

I have gathered my dreams in a silver air

Between the gold and the blue

And wrapped them softly and left them there,

My jewelled dreams of you.

I had hoped to build a rainbow bridge

Marrying the soil to the sky

And sow in this dancing planet midge

The moods of infinity.

But too bright were our heavens, too far away,

Too frail their ethereal stuff;

Too splendid and sudden our light could not stay;

The roots were not deep enough.

He who would bring the heavens here

Must descend himself into clay

And the burden of earthly nature bear

And tread the dolorous way.

Coercing my godhead I have come down

Here on the sordid earth,

Ignorant, labouring, human grown

Twixt the gates of death and birth.

I have been digging deep and long

Mid a horror of filth and mire

A bed for the golden river’s song,

A home for the deathless fire.

I have laboured and suffered in Matter’s night

To bring the fire to man;

But the hate of hell and human spite

Are my meed since the world began.

For man’s mind is the dupe of his animal self;

Hoping its lusts to win,

He harbours within him a grisly Elf

Enamoured of sorrow and sin.

The grey Elf shudders from heaven’s flame

And from all things glad and pure;

Only by pleasure and passion and pain

His drama can endure.

All around is darkness and strife;

For the lamps that men call suns

Are but halfway gleams on this stumbling life

Cast by the Undying Ones.

Man lights his little torches of hope

That lead to a failing edge;

A fragment of Truth is his widest scope,

An inn his pilgrimage.

The Truth of truths men fear and deny,

The Light of lights they refuse;

To ignorant gods they lift their cry

Or a demon altar choose.

All that was found must again be sought,

Each enemy slain revives,

Each battle for ever is fought and refought

Through vistas of fruitless lives.

My gaping wounds are a thousand and one

And the Titan kings assail,

But I cannot1 rest till my task is done

And wrought the eternal will.

How they mock and sneer, both devils and men!

“Thy hope is Chimera’s head

Painting the sky with its fiery stain;

Thou shalt fall and thy work lie dead.

“Who art thou that babblest of heavenly ease

And joy and golden room

To us who are waifs on inconscient seas

And bound to life’s iron doom?

“This earth is ours, a field of Night

For our petty flickering fires.

How shall it brook the sacred Light

Or suffer a god’s desires?

“Come, let us slay him and end his course!

Then shall our hearts have release

From the burden and call of his glory and force

And the curb of his wide white peace.”

But the god is there in my mortal breast

Who wrestles with error and fate

And tramples a road through mire and waste

For the nameless Immaculate.

A voice cried, “Go where none have gone!

Dig deeper, deeper yet

Till thou reach the grim foundation stone

And knock at the keyless gate.”

I saw that a falsehood was planted deep

At the very root of things

Where the grey Sphinx guards God’s riddle sleep

On the Dragon’s outspread wings.

I left the surface gods2 of mind

And life’s unsatisfied seas

And plunged through the body’s alleys blind

To the nether mysteries.

I have delved through the dumb Earth’s dreadful heart

And heard her black mass’ bell.

I have seen the source whence her agonies part

And the inner reason of hell.

Above me the dragon murmurs moan

And the goblin voices flit;

I have pierced the Void where Thought was born,

I have walked in the bottomless pit.

On a desperate stair my feet have trod

Armoured with boundless peace,

Bringing the fires of the splendour of God

Into the human abyss.

He who I am was with me still;

All veils are breaking now.

I have heard His voice and borne His will

On my vast untroubled brow.

The gulf twixt the depths and the heights is bridged

And the golden waters pour

Down the sapphire mountain rainbow-ridged

And glimmer from shore to shore.

Heaven’s fire is lit in the breast of the earth

And the undying suns here burn;

Through a wonder cleft in the bounds of birth

The incarnate spirits yearn

Like flames to the kingdoms of Truth and Bliss:

Down a gold-red stair-way wend

The radiant children of Paradise

Clarioning darkness’s end.

A little more and the new life’s doors

Shall be carved in silver light

With its aureate roof and mosaic floors

In a great world bare and bright.

I shall leave my dreams in their argent air,

For in a raiment of gold and blue

There shall move on the earth embodied and fair

The living truth of you.


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.

1 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: dare not


2 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: gauds