«If poetry is a highly charged power of aesthetic expression of the soul of man, it must follow in its course of evolution the development of that soul. I put it that from this point of view the soul of man like the soul of Nature can be regarded as an unfolding of the spirit in the material world. Our unfolding has its roots in the soil of the physical life; its growth shoots up and out in many directions in the stalk and branches of the vital being; it puts forth the opulence of the buds of mind and there, nestling in the luxuriant leaves of mind and above it, out from the spirit which was concealed in the whole process must blossom the free and infinite soul of man, the hundred-petalled rose of God. […]
Throughout the later nineteenth century one observes a constant apprehension of approaching aesthetic decadence, a tendency to be on the look-out for it to find the signs of it in innovations and new turns on art and poetry. […] At one time indeed it was hardily predicted that since the modern mind is increasingly scientific and less and less poetically and aesthetically imaginative, poetry must necessarily decline and give place to science, — for much the same reason, in fact, for which philosophy replaced poetry in Greece. On the opposite side it was sometimes suggested that the poetic mind might become positive and make use of the materials of science or might undertake a more intellectual though always poetic criticism of life and might fill the place of philosophy and religion which were supposed for a time to be dead of dying powers in human nature; but this came to the same thing, for it meant a deviation from the true law of aesthetic creation and only a more protracted decadence.
Poetry too is an interpreter of truth, but in the forms of an innate beauty, and not so much of intellectual truth, the truths offered by the critical mind, as of the intimate truth of being. It deals not so much with things thought as with things seen, not with the authenticities of the analytic mind, but with the authenticities of the synthetic vision and the seeing spirit. […]
The truth which poetry expresses takes two forms, the truth of life and the truth of that which works in life, the truth of the inner spirit. […] It may get back into the truth of the inner spirit and work in an intimate identity, relation or close dwelling upon it, and then what it will do is to give a new revelation of our being and life and thought and Nature and the material and the psychical and spiritual worlds. That is the effort to which it seems to be turning now in its most characteristic, effective and beautiful manifestations. But it cannot fully develop in this sense unless the general mind of the age takes that turn. There are signs that this will indeed be the outcome of the new direction taken by the modern mind, not an intellectual petrifaction or a long spinning in the grooved of a critical intellectualism, but a higher and more authentic thinking and living. The human intelligence seems on the verge of an attempt to rise through the intellectual into an intuitive mentality […]. This does not mean any sacrifice of the gains of the past, but a raising and extending of them not only by a seeking of the inner as well as the outer truth of things, but also of all that binds them together and a bringing of them into true relation and oneness».
Sri Aurobindo, from “The Future Poetry”
(chapter XXIV - New Birth or Decadence?)
Let us enjoy here some examples of this new trend in modern poetry.
Needless to say that, for us, the real perfection of this new trend is constituted by Sri Aurobindo’s own poetry.
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abuse itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.
Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, nor music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valvèd voice.
I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet.
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worn fence, heap’d stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed.
Le vierge, le vivace et le bel aujourd’hui
Va-t-il nous déchirer avec un coup d’aile ivre
Ce lac dur oublié que hante sous le givre
Le transparent glacier de vols qui n’ont pas fui!
Un cygne d’autrefois se souvient que c’est lui
Magnifique mais qui sans espoir se délivre
Pour n’avoir pas chanté la région où vivre
Quand du stérile hiver a resplendi l’ennui.
Tout son col secouera cette blanche agonie
Par l’espace infligée à l’oiseau qui le nie,
Mais non l’horreur du sol où le plumage est pris.
Fantôme qu’à ce lieu son pur éclat assigne,
Il s’immobilise au songe froid de mépris
Que vêt parmi l’exil inutile du Cygne.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Buddha in der Glorie
Mitte aller Mitten, Kern der Kerne,
Mandel, die sich einschließt und versüßt, —
dieses Alles bis an alle Sterne
ist dein Fruchtfleisch: Sei gegrüßt.
Sieh, du fühlst, wie nichts mehr an dir hängt;
im Unendlichen ist deine Schale,
und dort steht der starke Saft und drängt.
Und von außen hilft ihm ein Gestrahle,
denn ganz oben werden deine Sonnen
voll und glühend umgedreht.
Doch in dir ist schon begonnen,
was die Sonnen übersteht.
Lo spirito dei mondi, separato
dal suo corpo di stelle e di pianeti,
opera ormai, dai suoi cieli segreti,
nell’Uomo che in più uomini è spezzato.
Ciclo d’astri nel cielo è, in quanto è stato
spiriti originarî e dèi profeti,
l’impietritore dei suoi cenni vieti;
ma il suo volersi-in-noi s’è già beato.
Noi, che in corpi pesanti siamo sparsi
come terrestrità che vuol catarsi,
riporteremo, in spirito, la terra
fuor dall’esilio inerte che la serra,
risollevando il suo mineral pondo
in cieli nostri a un nostro nuovo mondo.
Toma-me, ó noite eterna, nos eus braços
E chama-me teu filho.
Eu sou um rei
Que voluntariamente abandonei
O meu trono de sonhos e consaços.
Minha espada, pesada a braços lassos,
Em mãos viris e calmas entreguei;
E meu ceptro e coroa, — eu os deixei
Na antecâmara, feitos em pedaços.
Minha cota de malha, tão inútil,
Minha esporas, de um tinir tão fútil,
Deixei-as pela fria escadaria.
Despi a realeza, corpo e alma,
E regressei à noite antiga e calma
Como a paisagem ao morrer do dia.