Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. INDIA, THE WISDOM-LAND, by EDWARD CARPENTER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. INDIA, THE WISDOM-LAND, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Here also in india - wonderful, hidden - over thousands of miles
Last Line: The precious semen of democracy.
Subject(s): Himalayas (mountains); India; Jungles; Nations; Nature

HERE also in India—wonderful, hidden—over thousands of miles,
Through thousands of miles of coco-nut groves, by the winding banks of
immense rivers, over interminable areas of rice-fields,
On the great Ghauts and Himálayas, through vast jungles tenanted by
wild beasts,
Under the cloudless glorious sky—the sun terrible in strength and
beauty—the moon so keen and clear among the tree-tops,
In vast and populous cities, behind colors and creeds and sects and races
and families,
Behind the interminable close-fitting layers of caste and custom,
Here also, hidden away, the secret, the divine knowledge.

Ages back, thousands of years lost in the dim past,
A race of seers over the northern mountains, with flocks and herds,
Into India, the Wisdom-land, descended;
The old men leading—not belated in the rear—
Eagle-eyed, gracious-eyed old men, with calm faces resolute calm mouths.
Active, using their bodies with perfect command and power—retaining
them to prolonged age, or laying them down n death at will.

These men, retiring rapt—also at will—in the vast open under the
sun or stars,
Having circled and laid aside desire, having lifted and removed from
themselves the clinging veils of thought and oblivion,
Saw, and became what they saw, the imperishable universe.
Within them, sun and moon and stars, within them past and future,
Interiors of objects and of thoughts revealed—one with all being—

Life past, death past—the calm and boundless sea
Of deep, of changeless incommunicable Joy.

And now to-day, under the close-fitting layers of caste and custom, hidden
The same seers, the same knowledge.
All these thousands of years the long tradition kept intact,
Handed down, the sacred lore, from one to another, carefully guarded;
Beneath the outer conventional shows, beneath all the bonds of creed and
race, gliding like a stream which nothing can detain,
Dissolving in its own good time all bonds, all creeds,
The soul's true being—the cosmic vast emancipated life—Freedom,
The precious semen of Democracy.

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