My breath runs in a subtle rhythmic stream;
It fills my members with a might divine:
I have drunk the Infinite like a giant’s wine.
Time is my drama or my pageant dream.
Now are my illumined cells joy’s flaming scheme
And changed my thrilled and branching nerves to fine
Channels of rapture opal and hyaline
For the influx of the Unknown and the Supreme.
I am no more a vassal of the flesh,
A slave to Nature and her leaden rule;
I am caught no more in the senses’ narrow mesh.
My soul unhorizoned widens to measureless sight,
My body is God’s happy living tool,
My spirit a vast sun of deathless light.
Notes on Text
Circa 1933. This sonnet was published in the Calcutta Review in October 1934. Two months earlier, Sri Aurobindo asked his secretary to type copies of this poem and three others (“The Other Earths”, “The World Game” and “Symbol Moon”) from the notebook in which they and others had been written. When “Transformation” and “The Other Earths” were published in 1934, Sri Aurobindo informed a disciple that they were “some years old already” (Letters on Poetry and Art, p. 211), but it is unlikely that they were more than a year old at that time. The first draft of “Transformation” occurs in a notebook just after the first draft of “Trance”, which is dated 16 October 1933; it is probable that “Transformation” was written the same year. There are two handwritten and two typed manuscripts of this poem. In a note written after “Transformation” and the next two sonnets were typed for publication, Sri Aurobindo said that he wanted the sestets of Miltonic sonnets to be set as they have been set in the present book, irrespective of rhyme scheme.