Spine straight as pine, breath slight as breeze, he sits
At ease, legs folded like some ancient sage.
He dreams of all the world’s infinities
That men of every age have tried to gauge.
Once wild as toppling cataract,
His mind’s now tranquil as a tree;
But to reach for eternity, he knows
Those grand, sinuous roots must be set free.
Light floods over light as the mind dissolves
Into an oyster-pearly, sea-foam white;
The soundless skies merge with the seas
And all his eyes can see is bright.
Something wákes and walks him to the shore;
He strides now on the bottom of the sea.
It must be more than seven years since I wrote this poem! At the time, I think I was looking to learn about and work with the iambic pentameter. (In fact, given this poem’s form, I wonder if I was also trying to write a sonnet.)
This poem could be called a “wishful” poem. That’s to say, the poem isn’t about an experience; instead, it’s about a wish to experience something and an imaginative construction of that something (though I’m not so sure about the “sea” part). I mean – I’ve always kind of envied people like the rishis and yogis who, it’s said, used to hear things. (Ambikatanayadatta Bendre serves as an example.)
However, nothing quite like this has happened in the years since I wrote the poem. It’s obvious that a certain discipline is necessary if one is to even get anywhere near such an experience. I hope to be able to cultivate that discipline – just in life generally. Wish me luck.
Otherwise – I’d like to thank Matthew Ryan Shelton, an older friend from college and a poet himself, whose “notes” about this poem definitely helped improve it. Thanks, Matt!
P.S: At the time I wrote this, Yeats was still an influence. Here, the poem’s title is what reflects that influence.