Sangharakshita: A Life in Verse

The Root Speaks

Mock me not, O Rose, that I am hidden
Here in the black soil. The sap descends
In Autumn with the long tale of thy Summer beauty
And I know all thy ways. Oh mock me not
That my roots are hidden in the earth, that I love the earth
With its moist smell of rotting leaves and its decayedness.
Mock me not that my friends are all children of uncleanness
And my loves the daughters of earth. I have heard report
Of your pure white beauty bediamonded with drops of dew,
And of how you stand stately and aloof among your leaves and thorns.
The stars are all on fire for you,
And the moon maddened by your beauty.
Oh mock me not that I am ugly and twisted and black.
I am out of your sight. Why should you mock me?
But tell me, Whence comes the sap that invigorates your veins,
And the beauty that blushes in every petal?
Does it not come with the ascending sap in Spring?
Comes it not through these roots, from this dank black soil,
From these rotting leaves, this decayedness, this uncleanness –
Out of urine and ordure? So mock me not,
O Rose, nor be ashamed of your father the Root
Before the faces of your friends, the Stars.

Sangharakshita on “The Root Speaks”

Listen to the whole interview. Or to individual tracks below.

The fourth in a series of ten intimate interviews between Sangharakshita and Saddhanandi, reflecting on Sangharakshita’s own selections from his extensive body of poetry. In this segment they discuss the poem “The Root Speaks”.

Track 1: Reading of the full poem “The Root Speaks”

Track 2: Sangharakshita’s inspiration for “The Root Speaks”

Track 3: From root to flower

Track 4: Starting where you’re at, and “spiritual bypassing”

Track 5: Working with kleshas, and acceptance of our own potential for evil

Track 6: The dangers of having a life that’s too comfortable

Track 7: Progressing from flower to star

Track 8: Final thoughts on “The Root Speaks”