by Stephen Pain

This poem centers upon the cosmic principle of breath. Breath is extremely important in Indian philosophy. As prana it is the life force, one of the cosmic principles of un-pure genesis. From the Vedas. 4. The breath (At-man) of the Gods, the germ of the world, this God wanders at his will. His roaring is heard, not (seen) is his form. The Vata let us worship with an oblation. To Vata (Vayu) the wind-god. P.15 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore, A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967). The Brahman is often equated with breath. It also plays an important role in the road to salvation. One does this through meditation, renunciation and mastery over the respiratory system. In Yoga the breathing system is divided into five, and it is prana the vital breath that takes precedence in the hierarchy. Through association with Vata the god of wind, breath is also connected with fertility. The same complexity of associations is found in Christian religion. Here we witness once more the cross-fertilization of ideas and principles. The breath in Christianity is the Holy Spirit and it is also the image of fecundity, connected with the immaculate conception. The "poet" in the poem seeks a muse "inspiration/aspiration --note these words are "breath" words". He then in a moment of meditation discovers another spiritual plane or level which is light and pure. These are the divine qualities of Christ and Brahman. At this level he sees a "jewelled view inside of you". The subject of his discourse could be Mary or a girl friend of his --there is an ambivalence about her exact nature. The jewelled view might be the "light" of God or it might be the opening up of the body during love making. In the third stanza we have once more the image of the Cosmic weaver, weaving the dimensions together. The fourth stanza has many of Mary's attributes and Christian symbols that have been naturalized (the "green" field, "blue" sky). She came to him as "Angel breath": as the breath of life, of God and Atman. The erotic and spiritual "merge" together lovemaking. From this the "Great-Wind" the God of Wind, or the Holy Spirit, gave the mother Mary, the soul.