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Sri Aurobindo

Collected Poems

SABCL - Volume 5

VI. Poems in New Metres
Fragments

Death1 and the Traveller Fire

 

Death2

Flame that3 invadest my empire of sorrow wordless and sombre,

Arrow of azure light, golden-winged barbed with delight,

Who was it aimed thee into my4 crucified Soul that forever

Passions and beats in the womb of a universe built for its tomb?

I who am5 Death and live6 in the boundless cavern of Nature7,

I am Death8 who cannot die. A Shadow9 of Eternity,–

Vainly I throb10 in the stars11 that err12 through the13 void without feature,

Scintillant forms in14 a15 Nought vast without life, without thought.

O these stars16 that17 glitter and wander, God has devised them18

Burning nails in my heart, stones of my prisonhouse. God

Architect griefless19 relentless and mighty built and raised20 them21,

Clamped with them22 Time, His road to23 Nothingness, Death’s grim24 abode.

Fire of God, I passioned for life and have gathered but ashes –25

Life so that26 Death might die. Yea27, was it life that He gave me?

Glow28 of my darkness, reflex and nerve-beat devoured the29 devourer30,

Tortured31 by the flame an obscure will in me kindled to save me.

Life was32 a sorrowful throb of this33 Matter teaching it anguish,

Teaching it hope and desire trod out too soon in the mire,34

Life the frail joy35 that regrets36 its briefness, life the long sorrow37,

Love the close kinsman to hate and its freedom but bedfellow38 of Fate.39

Then in40 my anguish I reached41 out for knowledge, light on my midnight,

Light on its42 symbols of dream, strength of the thought to redeem43,

Yea, was it light44 He permitted45, this thought that is tangled in darkness?

Ignorance sees by46 its own record of47 sense and of48 stone.

Ignorance building49 its schemes50 and its dreams on a basis51 of error,

This was the mind I had sought fashioned out of His nought.52

Alphabet53 hieroglyphs of the reflexes life had54 engendered,

Spasms of matter caught in55 a luminous56 figment57 of thought.

Lo58, is not God but myself, Death’s euphemism fictioned immortal,

Nothing eternalised bare, yet as if one who is None,

Death yet for ever alive, an Inconscient troubled with seemings,

Matter tormented with life, a Void with its forces at strife?

O by my thought to escape from myself out of thought into Nothing,

Thus I had hoped to dissolve, rapt in some featureless59 Bliss,

Rending the illusion I made to be immutable60 and formless and timeless,

This dream too now I leave, long not even to cease.

Into numb61 discontent I have lapsed of a universe barren,

Goalless, condemned to survive, a spiral62 of matter in pain,

Now have I known myself as thy63 boundless finite, thy64 darkness without end65

Shadowily self-lit, grown content to strive and66 in vain.

Fire that travellest from immortality, spark of the Timeless,

Why hast thou come to my night, unbearable67 Idol of Light,

Ah, from what happier universe strayedst thou kindling my torpor?

Pass68, O spirit of Light, now perturb69 not my vastness of Night.

 

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: The Inconscient

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2 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: The Inconscient

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3 Fire who

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4 the

2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: this

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5 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Lo, I am

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6 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: and I live

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7 Matter

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8 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Death

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9 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Shadow

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10 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: burn

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11 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: in stars

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12 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: as they err

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13 1972 ed. SABCL, vol.5: a

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14 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: of

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15 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: my

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16 All these worlds

2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: O all my worlds

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17 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: you who

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18 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: you

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19 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: tranquil

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20 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: incised

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21 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: you

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22 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: you

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23 towards

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24 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: deep

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25 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: I the Inconscient have passioned for life and its beat and its glory,

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26 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: that

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27 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: O

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28 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Pulse

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29 its

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30 In 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2 instead of devoured the devourer stands More hopeless I suffer

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31 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Racked

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32 is

2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Life? or

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33 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: my

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34 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: down by Time in the mire?

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35 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: this joy

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36 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: weeps for

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37 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: this foot-path for sorrow

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38 comrade

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39 Alternative Stanza:

Boons for a shortlived sweetness were given me – hours that were tortures,

Hope more blind than my night, desire for deadly delight,

Joy that outlasts not its moment, vivid and barren,

Love a close kinsman to hate, freedom a minister of Fate.

In 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: instead this line there are five lines:

Life, this embrace of a death treasuring some transient breath?

Boons of a shortlived sweetness twisted and turned into torture,

Hope more blind than my Night, desire and its deadly delight,

Bliss that is small on the wings of a moment, vivid and fragile,

Love grown a kinsman to hate, will made an engine of Fate.

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40 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Torn with

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41 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: cried

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42 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: my

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43 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: and a power in the Light to redeem

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44 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: knowledge

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45 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: gave me

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46 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: reading

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47 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: in

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48 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: in

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49 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: tracing

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50 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: plans

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51 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: canvas

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52 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Mind this half-light in me born, like the glow of a morrowless morn?

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53 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Autographs

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54 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: has

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55 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: into

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56 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: luminous

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57 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: figments

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58 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Nay

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59 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: tensionless

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60 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: immobile

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61 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: my numb

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62 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: spirit

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63 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: this

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64 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: this

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65 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: darkness

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66 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: without end and

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67 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: an unbearable

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68 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: Thou

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69 2009 ed. CWSA, vol.2: perturb

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