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Sri Aurobindo

Collected Poems

SABCL - Volume 5

VI. Poems in New Metres

The Witness and the Wheel1

Who art thou in the heart comrade of man who sitst

August, watching his works, watching his joys and griefs,

Unmoved, careless of pain, careless of death and fate?

Witness, what hast thou seen watching this great blind world

Moving helpless in Time, whirled on the Wheel in Space,

That yet thou with thy vast Will biddest toil our hearts,

Mystic,– for without thee nothing can last in Time?

We too, when from the urge ceaseless of Nature turn

Our souls, far from the breast casting her tool, desire,

Grow like thee. In the front Nature still drives in vain

The blind trail of our acts, passions and thoughts and hopes;

Unmoved, calm, we look on, careless of death and fate,

Of grief careless and joy,– signs of a surface script

Without value or sense, steps of an aimless world.

Something watches behind, Spirit or Self or Soul,

Viewing Space and its toil, waiting the end of Time.

Witness, who then art thou, one with thee who am I,

Nameless, watching the Wheel whirl across Time and Space?


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 The metre is the little Asclepiad used by Horace in his Ode addressed to Maecenas, two choriambs between an initial spondee and a final iamb. Here modulations are admitted, trochee or iamb for the spondee, occasionally a spondee for the concluding iamb; an epitrite or ionic a minore can replace the choriamb.