Monday, 15 June 2009

Brahma

Brahma
(after Emerson)

If the wild bowler thinks he bowls,
----Or if the batsman thinks he's bowled,
They know not, poor misguided souls,
----They too shall perish unconsoled.

I am the batsman and the bat,
----I am the bowler and the ball,
The umpire, the pavilion cat,
----The roller, pitch, and stumps, and all.

-- Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

I know this one by heart and almost any cricket match or reference to Brahma will make me recall (and sometimes recite) it. Still, just to make sure I didn't make any mistakes in transcribing it, I went looking for an online source and found this page, which also includes the wonderful observation that "cricket is an Indian game accidentally invented by the British". Actually it's the West Indies England are playing right now - or would be, if it weren't for the rain. I'd never watched anything on Eurosport 2 until the start of the Twenty20 World Cup...

And this is the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem of the same title, which, I admit, I had never read before, that inspired the above:

Brahma

IF the red slayer think he slays,
----Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
----I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near;
----Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanish'd gods to me appear;
----And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
----When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
----And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
----And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
----Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82)

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