Of the Bond between Individual and Community

The link that bind the individual
To the Society a Mercy is;
His truest Self in the Community
Alone achieves fulfilment. Wherefore be
So far as in thee lines in close rapport
With thy Society, and luster bring
To the wide intercourse of tree-born men.
Keep for thy talisman these words he spoke
That was the best of mortals: “Satan holds5
His furthest distance where men congregate,”
The individual a Mirror holds
To the Community, ad they to him;
He is jewel threaded on their cord,
A star that in their constellation shines;
And the Society is organized
As by comprising many such as he.
When in the Congregation he is list
‘This like a drop which, seeking to expand,
Becomes an ocean. It is strong and rich
In ancient ways, a mirror to the Past
As to the Future, and the link between
What is to come, and what has gone before,
As is Eternity. The joy of growth
Swells in his heart from the Community,
That watches and controls his every deed;
To them he owes his body and his soul,
Alike his outward and his hidden parts.
His thoughts are vocal on the People’s tongue,
And on the pathway that his forbears laid
He learns to run. His immaturity
Is warmed to ripeness by their friendship’s flame,
Till he becomes one with the Commonwealth.
His singleness in multiplicity
Is firm and stable, and itself supplies
A unity to their innumerate swarm.
The word that sits outside its proper verse 6
Shatters the jewel of the thought concealed
Within its pocket ; when the verdant leaf
Falls from the stem, its thread of hope for Spring
Is snapped asunder. He who has not drunk
The water of the People’s sacred well, 7
The flames of minstrelsy within his lute
Grow cold, and die. The Individual,
Alone, is heedless of high purposes ;
His strength is apt to dissipate itself ;
The People only make him intimate
With discipline, teach him to be as soft
And tractable as is the gentle breeze,
Set him in earth like a well-rooted oak,
Close-fetter him, to make him truly free.
When he is prisoner to the chain of Law
His deer, by nature wild and uncontrolled, 8
Yields in captivity the precious musk.
Thou, who hast not known Self from Selflessness,
Therefore hast lost thyself in vain surmise,
Within thy dust there is an element
Individual and Community
Of Light, whose single shaft illuminates
Thy whole perception ; all thy joy derives
From its enjoyment, all thy sorrow springs
From its distress’ its constant change and turn
Keep thee in vital being. It is one
And, being one, brooks no duality ;
Grace to its glow I am myself, thou thou.
Preserving self, staking and making self,
Nourishing pride in meek humility,
It is a flame that sets a fire alight,
A spark that overshoots the blazing torch.
Its nature is to be both free and bond ;
Itself a part, it has the potency
To seize the whole. I have beheld its wont
Is strife incessant, and have called its name
Selfhood, and Life. Whenever it comes forth
From its seclusion, and discreetly steps
Into the riot of phenomena
Its heart is impressed with the stamp of “he”,
“I” is dissolved, converting into “thou”.
Compulsion cuts the freedom of its choice,
Making it rich in love. While pride of self
Pulls its own way, humility is not born ;
Pull pride together, and humility
Comes into being. Self negates itself
In the Community, that it maybe
No more a petal, but a rosary.
“These subtleties are like a steely sword: 9
If they defeat thy wit, quick, flee away!”
Upon what manner man is bound to man :
That tale’s a thread, the end whereof is lost
Beyond unraveling. We can descry
The Individual within the Mass,
And we can pluck him as a flower is plucked
Out of the garden all his nature is
Entranced with individuality,
Yet only in Society he finds
Security and preservation. On
The road of life, the furnace of life’s fire,
That roaring battlefield, sets him aflame.
Men grow habituated each to each,
Like jewels threaded on a single cord ;
Succors each other in the war of life
In mutual bond, like workmen bent upon
A common task. Through such polarity
The constellations congregate, each star
In several attraction keeping each
Poised firmly and unshaken. Caravans
May pitch their tents on mountain or on hill,
Broad meadow, fringe of desert, sandy mound.
Yet slack and lifeless hangs the warp and woof
Of the Group’s labour, unresolved the bud
Of its deep meditation, still unplayed
The flickering levin of its instrument,
Its music hushed within its muted strings,
Unsmitten by the pounding of the quest,

The Mingling of Individuals

The plectrum of desire ; disordered still
Its new-born concourse, and so thin its wine
As to be blotted up with cotton flock ;
New-sprung the verdure of its soil, and cold
The blood in its vine’s veins ; a habitat
Of demons and of fairy sprites its thoughts,
So that it leaps in terror from the shapes
Conjured by its own surmise ; shrunk the scope
Of its crude life, its narrow thoughts confined
Beneath the rim of its constricting roof ;
Fear for its life the meagre stock-in-trade
Of its constituent elements ; its heart
Trembling before the whistle of the wind ;
Its spirit shies away from arduous toil,
Little disposed to pluck at Nature’s skirt,
But whatsoever springs of its own self
Or falls from heaven, that it gathers up.
Till God discovers a man pure of heart
In His good time, who in a single word
A volume shall rehearse; a minstrel he
Whose piercing music gives new life to dust.
Through him the unsubstantial atom glows
Radiant with life, the meanest merchandise
Takes on new worth. Out of his single breath
Two hundred bodies quicken ; with one glass
He livens and assembly. His bright glance
Slays, but forthwith his single uttered word
Bestows new life, that so Duality
Expiring, Unity may come to birth.
His thread, whose end is knotted to the skies,
Weaves all together life’s dissevered parts.
Revealing a new vista to the gaze,
He can convert broad desert and bare vale
Into a garden. At his fiery breath
A people leap like rue upon a fire
In sudden tumult, in their heart one spark
Caught from his kindling, and their sullen clay
Breaks instantly aflame. Where’er he treads
The earth receiving vision, every mote 10
May wink the eye at Moses’ Sinai.
The naked understanding he adorns,
With wealth abundant fills its indigence,
Fans with his skirts its embers, purifies
Its gold of every particle of dross.
He strikes the shackles from the fettered slave,
Redeems him from his masters, and declares,
“No other’s slave thou art, nor any less
Than those mute idols.” So unto one goal
Drawing each on, he circumscribes the feet
Of all within the circle of one Law,
Reschools them in God’s wondrous Unity,
And teaches them the habit and the use
Of self-surrender to the Will Divine.