Nuances Of Sound

Sri Chinmoy’s Recent Poetry a été copié.

        Sri Chinmoy’s poem of November 13th goes even further than haiku in distilling a profound message into an aural and imagistic experience. This poem consists of just thirteen syllables, or seven stressed iambic beats:

God always
Favours love.
Each God-lover
Is His dove.

       The poem is held together in all its parts by repetition. In addition to the end-rhymes ‘love’ and ‘dove’, there are internal rhymes (‘favours’ and ‘lover’) and even the repetition of the same words (‘God’ and ‘love’) within the poem. On a subtle level, there is also a unique consonance that revolves around the fricative ‘v’ which recurs four times throughout the poem. It is as if the poet is paving the way for the final word ‘dove’ by creating a soft, musical, cooing effect. The result of these combined aural harmonies is one of unimaginable sweetness, lifting the poem nearer the realm of song than prosody.

        Despite the unique transparency of this poem and its singular brevity, it contains many finer shades of meaning. The poet’s first statement is rather to be expected than otherwise. That God favours love (over all other divine qualities) is universally accepted. It is in the second statement that a transcendent note enters into the poem.

       Sri Chinmoytelescopes the opening and closing words of the first part of the poem into the compound ‘Godlover’. The very generality of the first part is now made specific. God ‘favours love’, but it is the God-lover who makes God the object of his love. This compound is the crux of the poem, for when ‘God’ and ‘love’ are joined together, the God-lover is transformed into God’s dove.

          This mystical shift comes about because we are suddenly made aware of the reciprocal nature of the relationship between man and God. Dearest to God are those who love Him; they are His doves. One might have supposed that this would be a tired image. After all, it is commonplace to refer to the loved one as a dove. Yet in this context, the image condenses such a wealth of meaning that it releases the poem, as it were, from its earthly moorings. The God-lover soars Heavenwards to meet with the Beloved.

         Looking back on the poem, it is fascinating to see how the poet has built up this level of intensity, almost by way of deliberate understatement, since ‘favours’ is a somewhat impersonal verb. Through onomatopoeic suggestions, by linking together various words by virtue of their musical echoes, by wrapping the whole in songlike cadences, the poet has brought us a truly perfect pearl.