Poetry in Auroville: Rod Hemsell
Rod Hemsell is an American writer, educator, and lecturer in philosophy who has lived in Auroville from 1968 to 1983 and from 2005 to the present, 2014. Between 1983 and 2005 he worked in education in America. He is married to Kirti Hemsell and they have three children, Aurorishi, Aurotejas, and Ambalila.
"Collected Poems 1968-1977"
"Devotion and Stillness"
Poems and Illustrations by Rod Hemsell (2011)
New Poems and Recapitulations
by Rod Hemsell (2013)
Devotion and Stillness contains two previously published collections of poems. The first collection is from the period 1968-1978, and the second is from 1994-2010. Lotus Mountain contains poems and illustrations from the period 2010-2014. Both books contain numerous illustrations by the author, including paintings and photographs, many of which capture nature in the mountains of Colorado.
Selections from Devotion and Stillness:
THE ARTIST BEFORE DAWN
AND THE DREAM OF VICTORY
Why does the wild wind
Wander on this planet
While the hunter runs
Among the stars?
And why does the flute-caught wind
Call softly to the moon
When clarity wears the gown of night?
A child’s innocence or a man’s pride
Could inspire such questions
And the symbol care
The eager soul must seek to answer
Would seal the mystery with a tear.
But what after all is the point
Of agony of thought of art of joy of daylight
And the arrowflight of life?
When the bow is bent
And the true aim is felt
Then the shaft is released
That meets itself in mid air
Like fair game on full wing struck deep
And the wind turns round the world again
While the hunter weeps among the stars
And shadows chase the flute-song moon to dawn.
The archer’s prize is fire
And infinite bliss and eternal peace
Enshrine his muse and his desire -
Finally his spirit is free.
It is an arduous path
Swirling to give birth
To its creator
Biting its tail
Spreading its wings wide
And narrow to the extreme.
We know we do not know we know
The ray behind the cloud
The bridge the stream we cross.
It becomes clearer
Inner and outer
Future and past
If it doesn’t blind
By its brightness
And the right adjustment is made.
To grow and change, create and destroy
Ever renew always from the executive
Supreme point of view:
Flowering wave on wave
Magnificent at every moment.
To awaken from the dream
And see the way.
The beautiful young men
Who sweat in the sun
And laugh in the shade
With the shining girls
Until the world turns gold
And the glowing mountain is born
Listen to the music at night
That sings their life to smoke
In the sweetly turning light.
A silence will purify the mind
And make clear the formula of sight
For the builders who love
In the rising falling light
And listen to the music of the sun.
Form is the forerunner of the future
Growth is the way to the goal
Across the vast unknown;
The gift is given and the gift is received,
The worlds of beauty are born -
The sunborn children
Run softly in the twilight
Toward the wondrous day
And soon the sunburst morning
Will fly them to their nest...
So the seed is sown
And the tree gracefully sways
In the garden where time
Spins a silent web
To find where soon
The flower will be known.
(This poem was the basis of a dance drama produced with the Mother's blessings in Auroville in 1972.)
by Rod Hemsell
Landscapes and Visions
In the Redwoods
Every time I see this waterfall
Roiling in its stream, it seems to flow continuously
The stream’s rush is unending
Every time I see this vast pulsating sea
Its ripples and waves continuously rise
The surf’s crash is unending
Every time I see these giants in their massive stillness
I know they continue to grow unnoticed inside
The forest’s force is unending
These beings and these moments of perception
Give the impression of constant motion
The mind’s sight is unending
A stream of silent sound, a movement
And a power of life that never cease
The soul’s flame is unending
The presence in nature of eternity,
Thundering through time like a cataract unheard
The spirit’s call is unending
Silence up above
silence down below,
the space between
hears our thoughts