Peter Redgrove

The Sâdhaka

The Sâdhaka wonders—can I find the door
To that little apartment of death
While my heartbeats are still tolling
In the bell of my chest, which I
Slow down by listening to them? Now
They pass by like carriage doors on a slow train,

And people lean from them into my head
And say, Come in , and help me climb
Up the big step with the gap on to the rails
And I look round at them and thank them smiling,
My fellow pilgrims riding the heart train.

One of them is an aged woman with reddish-yellow eyebrows
Who leans towards me, says Kumbhaka , and vanishes
As a rainbow vanisheth; and now the train is empty,
Just buttoned seats and leather window-straps
Which go out suddenly as the heart accelerates
Entering its smoky tunnel noisily as if
Four hundred drums were beaten by an unseen choir.

The aged woman reappears as I stand listening and deserted,
Her right hand grips my neck, her left
Thrusts to my lips a creamy skull filled with blood
And she makes the thunder sound of time as she moves.

Then I am a boy walking in the street
Of people, to the tolling of a bell, which is the signal
The train is starting, and may soon be gone,
So I pick up the bell and mute it, so all it says
Is the sound of thunder, and the train stops
Completely, the people on it are alive
But completely still, they are alive
Because I can see their heat, so I pass through
All the carriages with the sound of thunder,
I lean into each person's head with that sound
And take a little for my nourishment, but I leave
A different sound which is far better than what I take and taste.

 

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