Last updated: 25 May, 2022

Poetry in Auroville: Shraddhavan


"Shraddhavan" is the Sanskrit name given in June 1972 by the Mother to an Englishwoman who joined Auroville in 1970. After studying English Language and Literature at Bristol University in the U.K., she travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and Australia before coming to Auroville, where she has lived ever since, working as an educator, translator, editor and writer. Several of her poems, stories, essays and book reviews have been published in the Ashram journal Mother India as well as in Heritage magazine. At present Shraddhavan is in charge of the "Savitri Bhavan", a centre focussing on Sri Aurobindo studies, and especially his revelatory epic poem Savitri.  

"Stars in the Soup and other poems", 2015 
http://www.auroville.org/contents/3739

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Deep places

I'm in no mood for mountains ...
Too near down-pressing sky,
Too barren, bright, unmysteried they lie!
So, climbing to a bald white peak
I stopped - knee-deep in grass and flowers.

Better by far the lower forests,
Where water gurgles out of sight,
And calling, chuckling, birds unseen
Flit from green to deeper green;
There suddenly a single bloom
Strikes to the heart's enchanted depths
With its clear bell-note of deep blue.

Or let me swim, far from all shallows,
In the still waters where the kraken sleeps,
Where whales slide singing through the shadowy deeps;
There let me dive and drown
All littleness and all fatigue.

But best of all, in deep embracing interstellar spaces
Beyond the sky-lid, free of every limit,
To float forever marvelling
Through endless symphonies of stars!

Earth Bird

Once my lord Jesus, as a boy,
Found on the village street a little toy -
A bird of clay. He took it in his hands of joy
And breathing on it secretly
Filled it with life and ecstasy.
So it took wing and eagerly
Flew singing, singing, high and high -
Lost in immensities of sky.
And still its triumphant loving cry
Was heard below in streets of mud
By men of earth. O Loving Lord,
I offer you my human heart -
It is not very wide nor very pure
And all its depths are still obscure
To me, though you with your clairvoyant eye
Have plumbed perhaps its little mystery.
This struggling heart, O purify -
Let it be worthy of the flame
It longs to bear, and of its name.
O take it in your hands of joy
And breathe upon it secretly
Then will this little bird of clay
Take wing and fly towards the Sun.

Worries

Too much on my mind!

A jumble of worries
Jostle and shove inside my head :
An overloaded lift, stuck between floors.

Cut the cord, Lord!
Let them hurtle - crash,
Smash to smithereens
At the bottom of the shaft!

Or better, haul them up -
Up into the open empty blue above the roof.

Released into light,
Let them spread wide wings
And swoop away -
Singing.