Pain’s mill wheel – Rabindranath Tagore


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SICKBED 5, by RABINDRANATH TAGORE  

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November 4, 1940
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Under this vast universe
pain’s mill wheel rotates,
grinds planets and stars to powder.
Sparks flash, scatter
suffering on every side,
ash-webs from annihilated worlds
permeating in an instant.
In the mills of oppression,
in cells of luminous consciousness,
pikes and knives clank,
wound-blood spurts.
The tiny human body—
infinite, its power to face pain.
In the assembly of creation and annihilation,
this small vessel of blood
offered to the Tantric circle
reels, drunken, rapturous.
The clay cup of the body fills
with incoherent blood, floods with tears.
Every moment unfolds unending
worth to consciousness, invincible.
The body’s pain-hallowed fire,
the offering sacrificed to ascetic acts of stars,
is incomparable.
Such enduring vigor,
compassion without fear,
indifference to death,
such triumphant processions:
assemblies trampling beds of flame
to find pain’s limits—
on a fevered, unnamed pilgrimage,
together, from path to path,
penetrating caves of fire, to find care’s origins,
provisions of unending love.

First Published in The Kenyon Review, Volume 23 #2

(Spring 2001)
http://www.kenyonreview.org/roth

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Earth’s crammed with heaven – Elizabeth Browning


 

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Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

 

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Elizabeth Browning

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Poetry of Pain By Emily Dickinson


There is a pain — so utter

There is a pain — so utter —

It swallows substance up —

Then covers the Abyss with Trance —

So Memory can step

Around — across — upon it —

As one within a Swoon —

Goes safely — where an open eye —

Would drop Him — Bone by Bone.

Pain—expands the Time

Pain—expands the Time—

Ages coil within

The minute Circumference

Of a single Brain—

Pain contracts—the Time—

Occupied with Shot

Gamuts of Eternities

Are as they were not—

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After Great Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes

After great pain, a formal feeling comes

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs

The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,

And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round

Of Ground, or Air, or Ought

A Wooden way

Regardless grown,

A Quartz contentment, like a stone

This is the Hour of Lead

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons recollect the Snow

First-Chill-then Stupor-then the letting go

Pain — has an Element of Blank —

Pain — has an Element of Blank —

It cannot recollect

When it begun — or if there were

A time when it was not —

It has no Future — but itself —

Its Infinite contain

Its Past — enlightened to perceive

New Periods — of Pain.

The Master

He fumbles at your spirit
As players at the keys
Before they drop full music on;
He stuns you by degrees,

Prepares your brittle substance
For the ethereal blow,
By fainter hammers, further heard,
Then nearer, then so slow

Your breath has time to straighten,
Your brain to bubble cool,–
Deals one imperial thunderbolt
That scalps your naked soul.

When winds take Forests in their Paws–
The Universe is still.

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