Book Five

Savitri In-Between

Book Five: The Book of Love

Canto I: The Destined Meeting Place

For though a dress of blind and devious chance
Is laid upon the work of all-wise Fate
Our acts interpret an omniscient Force
That dwells in the compelling stuff of things
And nothing happens in the cosmic play
But at its time and in its foreseen place

To a space she came of soft and delicate air
That seemed a sanctuary of youth and joy
A highland world of free and green delight
Where spring and summer lay together and strove
In indolent and amicable debate
Inarmed, disputing with laughter who should rule

There expectation beat wide sudden wings
As if a soul had looked out from earth’s face

Below there crouched a dream of emerald woods
And gleaming borders solitary as sleep
Pale waters ran like glimmering threads of peral
A sigh was straying among happy leaves
Cool-perfumed with slow pleasure-burdened feet
Faint stumbling breezes faltered among flowers
The white crane stood, a vivid motionless streak
Peacock and parrot jewelled soil and tree
The dove’s soft moan enriched the enamoured air
And fire-winged wild-drakes swam in silvery pools
Earth couched alone with her great lover Heaven
Uncovered to her consort’s purple eye
In her luxurious ecstasy of joy
She squandered the love-music of her notes
Wasted the passionate pattern of her blooms
And festival riot of her scents and hues

At the end reclined a stern and giant tract
Of tangled depths and solemn questioning hills
And peaks like a bare austerity of the soul
Armoured, remote and desolately grand
Like the thought-screened infinities that lie
Behind the rapt smile of the Almighty’s dance
A matted forest-head invaded heaven
As if a blue-throated ascetic peered
From the stone fastness of his mountain cell
Regarding the brief gladness of the days
His vast extended spirit couched behind

A sacrificant of the bliss and pain of the spheres
Love in the wilderness met Savitri

Canto II: Satyavan

The wilderness with its mighty monotone
The morning like a lustrous seer above
The passion of the summits lost in heaven
The titan murmur of the endless woods

As if a wicket gate to joy were there …
Groves with strange flowers like eyes of gazing nymphs …
Boughs whispering to a constancy of light …
And slowly a supine inconstant breeze
Ran like a fleeting sigh of happiness
Over slumberous grasses pranked with green and gold

His figure led the splendour of the morn …
Freedom’s imperious beauty curved his limbs …
His look was a wide daybreak of the gods
His head was a youthful Rishi’s touched with light
His body was a lover’s and a king’s …
Built like a moving statue of delight

Out of the ignorant eager toil of the years
Abandoning man’s loud drama he had come
Led by the wisdom of an adverse Fate
To meet the ancient Mother in her groves
In her divine communion he had grown
A foster-child of beauty and solitude
Heir to the centuries of the lonely wise
A brother of the sunshine and the sky
A wanderer communing with depth and marge
A Veda-knower of the unwritten book
Perusing the mystic scripture of her forms
He had caught her hierophant significances
Her sphered immense imaginations learned
Taught by sublimities of stream and wood
And voices of the sun and star and flame
And chant of the magic singers on the boughs
And the dumb teaching of four-footed things
Helping with confident steps her slow great hands
He leaned to her influence like a flower to rain
And, like the flower and tree a natural growth,
Widened with the touches of her shaping hours
The mastery free natures have was his
And their assent to joy and spacious calm
One with the single Spirit inhabiting all
He laid experience at the Godhead’s feet
His mind was open to her infinite mind
His acts were rhythmic with her primal force
He had subdued his mortal thought to hers

The grasses quivered with the slow wind’s tread
The branches haunted by the wild bird’s call

… fair and common forms
The artist spirit needs not for its work
And puts aside in memory’s shadowy rooms

All in inconscient ecstasy lain wrapped
Or under imagination’s coloured lids
Held up in a large mirror-air of dream
Broke forth in flame to recreate the world

Life ran to gaze from every gate of sense
Thoughts indistinct and glad in moon-mist heavens
Feelings as when a universe takes birth
Swept through the turmoil of her bosom’s space
Invaded by a swarm of golden gods
Arising to a hymn of wonder’s priests
Her soul flung wide its doors to this new sun

Then trembling with the mystic shock her heart
Moved in her breast and cried out like a bird
Who hears his mate upon a neighbouring bough

The chariot stood like an arrested wind

… Satyavan looked out from his soul’s doors
And felt the enchantment of her liquid voice
Fill his youth’s purple ambiance and endured
The haunting miracle of a perfect face

He turned to the vision like a sea to the moon

To live, to love are signs of infinite things

Love dwells in us like an unopened flower

These bodies summed the drift of numberless births

Form-smitten the spirit’s memory woke in sense

An hour began, the matrix of new Time

Canto III: Satyavan and Savitri

As when a being cries to bring from its depths
Behind the screen of the external sense
And strives to find the heart-disclosing word
The passionate speech revealing the soul’s need
Only a little breaks through our earth-made bounds
So now they met in that momentous hour
So utter the recognition in the deeps
The remembrance lost, the oneness felt and missed

Whence hast thou dawned filling my spirit’s days
Brighter than summer, brighter than my flowers
Into the lonely borders of my life
O Sunlight moulded like a golden maid?

I witnessed the virgin bridals of the dawn
Behind the glowing curtains of the sky
Or vying in joy with the bright morning’s steps
I paced along the slumberous coasts of morn
Or the gold desert of the sunlight crossed
Traversing great wastes of splendour and of fire
Or met the moon gliding amazed through heaven
In the uncertain wideness of the night
Or the stars marched on their long sentinel routes
Pointing their spears through the infinitudes

I have beheld the princes of the Sun
Burning in thousand-pillared homes of light

Bare, simple is the sylvan hermit-life
Yet is it clad with the jewelry of earth

Wild winds run – visitors midst the swaying tops
Through the calm days heaven’s sentinels of peace
Couched on a purple robe of sky above

Apparelled are the morns in gold and green
Sunlight and shadow tapestry the walls
To make a resting chamber fit for thee

Haunt of the anchorites and earth’s wilder broods

He sojourns in two solitudes, within
And in the solemn rustle of the woods

I lay in the wide bare embrace of heaven
The sunlight’s radiant blessing clasped my brow
The moonbeam’s silver ecstasy at night
Kissed my dim lids to sleep. Earth’s morns were mine
Lured by faint murmurings with the green-robed hours
I wandered lost in woods, prone to the voice
Of winds and waters, partner of the sun’s joy
A listener to the universal speech

The neighing pride of rapid life that roams
Wind-maned through our pastures, on my seeing mood
Cast shapes of swiftness; trooping spotted deer
Against the vesper sky became a song
Of evening to the silence of the soul
I caught for some eternal eye the sudden
Kingfisher flashing to a darkling pool
A slow swan silvering the azure lake
A shape of magic whiteness, sailed through dream
Leaves trembling with the passion of the wind
And wandering wings nearing from infinity
Lived on the tablets of my inner sight
Mountains and trees stood there like thoughts from God
Pranked butterflies, the conscious flowers of air
The brilliant long bills in their vivid dress
The peacock scattering on the breeze his moons
Painted my memory like a frescoed wall

I caught the echoes of a word supreme
And metred the rhythm beats of infinity

In men I met strange portions of a Self
That sought for fragments and in fragments lived
Each lived in himself and for himself alone
And with the rest joined only fleeting ties
Each passioned over his surface joy and grief
Nor saw the Eternal in his secret house

I conversed with Nature, mused with the changeless stars
God’s watch-fires burning in the ignorant Night

I saw with the forest sages in their trance
There poured awaking streams of diamond light
I glimpsed the presence of the One in all

And Satyavan like a replying harp
To the insistent calling of a flute
Answered her questioning and let stream to her
His heart in many-coloured waves of speech

Once were my days like days of other men
To think and act was all, to enjoy and breathe
This was the width and height of mortal hope
Yet there came glimpses of a deeper self
That lives behind life and makes her act its scene

I groped for the Mystery with the lantern, Thought

I strove to find its hints through Beauty and Art
But Form cannot unveil the indwelling Power
Only it throws its symbols at our hearts

I looked upon the world and missed the Self
And when I found the Self I lost the world

The human sense of Immortality

A foam-leap travelling from the waves of bliss
Has changed my heart and changed the earth around

Descend, O Happiness, with thy moon-gold feet
Enrich earth’s floors upon whose sleep we lie

Then down she came from her high carven car
Descending with a soft and faltering haste
Her many-hued raiment glistening in the light
Hovered a moment over the wind-stirred grass
Mixed with a glimmer of her body’s ray
Like lovely plumage of a settling bird

Then flitting like pale brilliant moths her hands
Took from the sylvan verge’s sunlit arms
A load of their jewel faces’ clustering swarms
Companions of the spring-time and the breeze
A candid garland set with simple forms
Her rapid fingers taught a flower song
The stanzaed movement of a marriage hymn
Profound in perfume and immersed in hue
They mixed their yearning’s coloured signs and made
The bloom of their purity and passion one
A sacrament of joy in treasuring palms
She brought, flower-symbol of her offered life
Then with raised hands that trembled a little now
At the very closeness that her soul desired
This bond of sweetness, their bright union’s sign
She laid on the bosom coveted by her love

In a wide moment of two souls that meet
She felt her being flow into him as in waves
A river pours into a mighty sea

As a starry heaven encircles happy earth
He shut her into himself in a circle of bliss

On the high glowing cupola of the day
Fate tied a knot with morning’s halo threads

In the silence and murmur of that emerald world
And the mutter of the priest-wind’s sacred verse
Amid the choral whisperings of the leaves
Love’s twain had joined together and grew one

Around it stretched the forest’s anchorite mood
Lost in the depths of its own solitude

Book Six

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