Alex Raichev

Brahma

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
I am the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1857

Apparently Emerson should have titled this poem 'Brahman' instead of 'Brahma'. For why and more insighful commentary, see Emerson's Brahma: An Indian Interpretation, K. R. Chandrasekharan, The New England Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 1960), pp. 506-512.

Author: Alex Raichev
Date: 2013-06-04
Tags: poem, Emerson
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