An Original Poem
Having thought about it, I have decided occasionally to post my own original poems here. Comments are welcome–just be honest, and if you re-post or quote, give due credit. This was written about twenty-five years ago or so during a more or less Buddhist/Hindu phase of my life.
They say that ever when a life is spent
The spirit lingers for a moment while
Reviewing all the deeds of life just past:
The good, the bad, the undone and the done,
The joys, the woes. This reverie complete
The soul ascends, more swift than beams of light
Surpassing all the planets and the stars
Until it comes into the Atman’s realm
Awaiting incarnation once again.
But ere the soul return to take anew
Its cloak of flesh, again to trod the earth,
It tastes the realization of True Self
Dissolving into Brahman infinite.
Now from this vantage point omniscient
The soul, once human, now divine surveys
The trackless starry sweep of cosmos and
The formless, nameless That from whence it sprang;
The myriad myriad creatures manifest
Who sing their lives with vast cacophony
Of voice and note, who come and live and die;
And also the supernal quietude
From which is born this cosmic symphony.
The self in Self now casts its gaze divine
Across the countless eons from the first
Irruption of the Four-Fold Binding Force
And condensation into “is” of “not”
To that last passage of the speeding stars
Ere crushed to dust by Shiva’s dancing foot
The oscillation to begin anew.
It sees all pathways of the past that led
Inevitably to its current state
Of cursedness or of beatitude;
And then with perfect piercing clarity
It sees all future possibilities:
All lives that might be lived and from each choice
The ramifying branches good and ill
Impatient errors waiting to be made
And mighty deeds of truth that but await
The single will of choice to make them be.
But then the soul in mounting fear recoils
Filled over-full with vision past its ken
And shackled yet too close to finite life
And still unready to make last return
To Being’s source and to repose of bliss.
Thus stunned, it wanders towards the lower sphere
Telestial, remembrance having lost
Of all it comprehended in a flash
And thus bereft of judgement makes rash choice
And springs once more into a mortal womb
In zygote newly formed to take its seat,
Of life to come unknowing, heedless of
The long grim road before it as it strives
To learn again the hard-earned wisdom once
Its due but now forgotten. Errors once
Made and then avoided now will be
Made once again a hundred thousand times,
And sorrows more than all the grains of sand
That fringe the ocean; rarer than the rarest pearls
The scanty joys, well-hidden, dearly bought.
So all experience fails us, and once again
We plunge headlong into the world of pain.
Part of the series Reincarnation.