Yoga Poem: “Now I Become Myself” by May Sarton

Part of the pleasure of being a teacher is getting to share concepts, readings, bits and pieces of essays and poetry that echo something I feel in my soul. I ran across this poem recently and have been inspired to share it with some classes. 

Although I don’t know that the author considered herself a yogi, I do know that these lines may ring true for many of my yogi friends. I won’t trivialize her words by attempting to add more of my own. Please enjoy:

Now I Become Myself, by May Sarton 

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“Hurry, you will be dead before–“
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

(“Now I Become Myself” by May Sarton, from Collected Poems 1930-1993. © W.W. Norton, 1993.)

For more on May Sarton’s life, and a few more lovely, haunting poems, please see the good folks at this site. 
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4 thoughts on “Yoga Poem: “Now I Become Myself” by May Sarton

  1. Jann Dolk

    Thank you Laura for posting this poem. When you read it in class Tuesday I realized I had forgotten May Sarton. I read her journals back in 1987 as an assignment in a journal writing class and LOVED her “human-ness” and how she opened her soul through the pages in her journals. I never read her poetry; thank you! Jann

    Reply

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