Brother, I’ve seen some

By Kabir 1440–1518 Kabir

Translated from the Hindi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra Read the translator's notes

Brother, I’ve seen some
     Astonishing sights:
A lion keeping watch
     Over pasturing cows;
A mother delivered
     After her son was;
A guru prostrated
     Before his disciple;
Fish spawning
     On treetops;               
A cat carrying away
     A dog;
A gunny-sack
     Driving a bullock-cart;
A buffalo going out to graze,
     Sitting on a horse;
A tree with its branches in the earth,
     Its roots in the sky;
A tree with flowering roots.

This verse, says Kabir,
     Is your key to the universe.
If you can figure it out.

Source: Poetry (March 2011).

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2011

Biography

 
Though little is known of the life of the Indian mystic and poet Kabir, it is believed he was born in or near Benares. He grew up in a family of Muslim weavers before becoming a disciple of the Hindu ascetic Ramananda. Kabir is considered both a Sufi and Brahmin saint.
 
Kabir’s poetry draws on both Hinduism and Islam, though he was critical of certain aspects of both faiths. Some of his verses are included in the compilation . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Religion, The Spiritual, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION Asia, South

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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