Sri Chinmoy’s Recent Poetry a été copié.

The small quatrain which Sri Chinmoy penned for November 20th is organised around a highly formalized metrical pattern. The poem runs:

When God arrives
At your doorstep,
Pray to His Feet
At each hush-gap.

        Paradoxically, in this poem it is God who is seeking out the God-lover in his own home. Politely, like a gentleman, God waits at the doorstep for an invitation to enter. Here Sri Chinmoy has deliberately avoided the use of a compound noun such as ‘heart-doorstep’. He heightens the reality of God’s Arrival with his far more literal usage, as if God should suddenly appear in a solid, tangible physical Form. He also posits the inevitability of this Arrival with his very first word—not ‘if ‘ but ‘when’.

           What then should the seeker’s response be to this unexpected Guest? The poet answers, ‘Pray to His Feet’, in essence, to prostrate oneself at God’s Feet, to fall before God in devotion. All other responses seem too casual, too inappropriate, too wordy. One does not beckon God inside, or greet Him familiarly, or shake hands, or otherwise treat Him as one would another human being.

           Perhaps Sri Chinmoy is also implying that God’s Brilliance is such that the seeker cannot bear the experience of gazing upon God’s luminous Form, but keeps his eyes downcast. In addition to this implied action of prostration, the poet offers an aural suggestion to complete this most perfect moment of reunion: ‘Pray to His Feet/At each hush-gap.’ In other words, in the hushed silence of the moment, to pray to God incessantly. Prayer need not entail beseeching God for something. Prayer can also be praise, as it so obviously is in this poem. Prayer issues from the fulness of the heart that overflows in worship of God.

              The final compound noun ‘hush-gap’ is surely one of the poet’s most beautiful combinations. It creates an air of breathless expectancy surrounding God’s Arrival. Not only that, but it seems to suggest that behind this material world, almost in the spaces as it were, are gaps where the spiritual world shows itself.

            On some plane, God is actually arriving at the seeker’s doorstep. If we could just clear the mist from our eyes and ears we would perceive it. We strain to catch the sound of His approaching Footsteps in the hush-gaps, to catch the slightest sound of Him at the door. This is the state of trembling expectancy in which the poet leaves us.

             By addressing the reader directly, the poet has involved us far more intimately and immediately than if he had set the poem at one remove and described the response of a third person, or even of himself. And this is perhaps the essence of Sri Chinmoy’s poetry—it reaches outwards to touch and transform our lives, to make us extend ourselves that we might reach upwards for direct experiences of our own, for a higher understanding and a deeper wisdom.

              The success of this small étude depends on a far greater formality of expression than is first apparent. Firstly, the very subtle para-rhymes ‘doorstep’ and ‘hush-gap’ seal the conclusion of the poem in an understated but effective way. The reunion of the seeker and God is the crowning moment of the seeker’s life and the poet clearly does not want to place the high seriousness of the moment at risk.
Accordingly, he has constructed his poem of four corresponding quaternary feet:

choriamb / x x /
ionic minor x x / /
choriamb / x x /
ionic minor x x / /

When God arrives
At your doorstep,
Pray to His Feet
At each hush-gap.

           In this reading, the ictus in the first line is on ‘when’ rather then ‘God’, thus reinforcing the certainty of His Arrival.
The second and fourth lines are both composed of a pyrrhus followed by a spondee. This gives added accentual weight to the two key compounds in the poem, ‘doorstep’ and ‘hush-gap’.

          If we scan the poem carefully, we can see a pattern emerging based on multiples of four: there are four lines, four metrical feet, sixteen syllables, eight accents. Few poets write with this kind of metrical precision, and it is not something that Sri Chinmoy himself regularly employs—but for the sake of this small poem, the formality of the rhythm provides an elevated framework to the poem’s meaning. It counters any suggestion that the Arrival of God may be an accident, a coincidence, a random event. It assures us that this is something that has been destined from long ago.