23. Krishna, by George William Russell

I was introduced to this poet through Kurma Dasa’s blog who is based in Australia and is a renowned cook. Perhaps, many of you would have already read these items. Nevertheless, I wanted to own these verses in my blog too 🙂

On February 15, 1893, George W Russel wrote this poem on Krishna:

The East was crowned with snow-cold bloom
        And hung with veils of pearly fleece;
They died away into the gloom,
        Vistas of peace, and deeper peace.

And earth and air and wave and fire
        In awe and breathless silence stood,
For One who passed into their choir
        Linked them in mystic brotherhood.

Twilight of amethyst, amid
        The few strange stars that lit the heights,
Where was the secret spirit hid,
        Where was Thy place, O Light of Lights?

The flame of Beauty far in space–
        When rose the fire, in Thee? in Me?
Which bowed the elemental race
        To adoration silently.

Earlier in 1867, he wrote this beautiful piece titled “Krishna” which can be found in “The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse”, 1917

I paused beside the cabin door and saw the King of Kings at play,
Tumbled upon the grass I spied the little heavenly runaway.
The mother laughed upon the child made gay by its ecstatic morn,
And yet the sages spake of It as of the Ancient and Unborn.

I heard the passion breathed amid the honeysuckle scented glade,
And saw the King pass lightly from the beauty that he had betrayed.
I saw him pass from love to love; and yet the pure allowed His claim
To be the purest of the pure, thrice holy, stainless, without blame.

I saw the open tavern door flash on the dusk a ruddy glare,
And saw the King of Kings outcast reel brawling through the starlit air.
And yet He is the Prince of Peace of whom the ancient wisdom tells,
And by their silence men adore the lovely silence where He dwells.

I saw the King of Kings again, a thing to shudder at and fear,
A form so darkened and so marred that childhood fled if it drew near.
And yet He is the Light of Lights whose blossoming is Paradise,
That Beauty of the King which dawns upon the seers’ enraptured eyes.

I saw the King of Kings again, a miser with a heart grown cold,
And yet He is the Prodigal, the Spendthrift of the Heavenly Gold,
The largesse of whose glory crowns the blazing brows of cherubim,
And sun and moon and stars and flowers are jewels scattered forth by Him.
I saw the King of Kings descend the narrow doorway to the dust
With all his fires of morning still, the beauty, bravery, and lust.
And yet He is the life within the Ever-living Living Ones,
The ancient with eternal youth, the cradle of the infant suns,
The fiery fountain of the stars, and He the golden urn where all
The glittering spray of planets in their myriad beauty fall.


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