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Sri Aurobindo

Collected Poems

SABCL - Volume 5

VI. Poems in New Metres

The Tiger and the Deer1


Brilliant, crouching, slouching, what crept through the green heart of the forest,

Gleaming eyes and mighty chest and soft soundless paws of grandeur and murder?

The wind slipped through the leaves as if afraid lest its voice and the noise of its steps perturb the pitiless Splendour,

Hardly daring to breathe. But the great beast crouched and crept, and crept and crouched a last time, noiseless, fatal,

Till suddenly death leaped on the beautiful wild deer as it drank

Unsuspecting from2 the great pool in the forest’s coolness and shadow,

And it fell and, torn, died remembering its mate left sole in the deep woodland,–

Destroyed, the mild harmless beauty by the strong cruel beauty in Nature.

But a day may yet come when the tiger crouches and leaps no more in the dangerous heart of the forest,

As the mammoth shakes no more the plains of Asia;

Still then shall the beautiful wild deer drink from the coolness of great pools in the leaves’ shadow.

The mighty perish in their might;

The slain survive the slayer.


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 Free quantitative verse, left to find out its own line by line rhythm and unity.


2 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: at