A far sail on the unchangeable monotone of a slow slumbering sea,
A world of power hushed into symbols of hue, silent unendingly;
Over its head like a gold ball the sun tossed by the gods in their play
Follows its curve, — a blazing eye of Time watching the motionless day.Here or otherwhere, — poised on the unreachable abrupt snow-solitary ascent
Earth aspiring lifts to the illimitable Light, then ceases broken and spent,
Or on the glowing expanse, arid, fiery and austere, of the desert’s hungry soul, —
A breath, a cry, a glimmer from Eternity’s face, in a fragment the mystic Whole.
Moment-mere, yet with all eternity packed, lone, fixed, intense,
Out of the ring of these hours that dance and die, caught by the spirit in sense,
In the greatness of a man, in music’s outspread wings, in a touch, in a smile,in a sound,
Something that waits, something that wanders and settles not, a Nothing that was all and is found.
Notes on Text
19 April 1932. Sri Aurobindo began this poem while corresponding with Arjava (J. A. Chadwick, a British disciple) about English prosody. He wrote the first stanza in a letter to Arjava and the full poem in a subsequent letter (Letters on Poetry and Art, pp. 231 – 34). There are two handwritten and two typed manuscripts. One of the typed manuscripts is dated “19.4.32”.