Showing posts with label Gitanjali. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gitanjali. Show all posts

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gitanjali - Tagore

Some of my favourite poems, from Tagore's Gitanjali

The child who is decked with prince's robes & who has jewelled chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play, his dress hampers him at every step.
In fear that it may be frayed or stained with dust he keeps himself from the world, & is afraid even to move.
Mother, it is no gain, thy bondange of finery, if it keep one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.
I must launch out my boat. The languid hours pass by on the shore - Alas for me!
The spring has done it's flowering & taken leave. And now with the burden of faded futile flower I wait & linger.
The waves have become clamorous & upon the bank in the shady lane & the yellow leaves flutter & fall.
What emptiness do you gaze upon! Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air with the notes of the far-away song floating from the other shore?

He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon. I am ever busy building this wall all around & as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my true being in it's dark shadow.
I take pride in this great wall & I plaster it with dust & sand lest a least hole should be left in this name & for all the care I take, I lose sight of my true being.

When it was day they came into my house & said, "We shall only take the smallest room here".
They said, "We shall help you in the worship of your God & humbly accept only our share of his grace" & then they took their seat in a corner & they sat quiet & meek.
But in the darkness of night I find they break into my sacred shrine, strong & turbulent, & snatch with unholy greed the offerings from God's altar.

Where the mind is without fear & the head is held high,
Where knowledge is free,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where tireless striving stretches it's arms towards perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it's way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought & action - Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

The rain has held back for days & days, my God, in my arid heart. The horizon is fiercely naked - not the thinnest cover of a soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a distant cool shower.
Send the angry strom, dark with death, if it is Thy wish, & with lashes of lightning startle the sky from end to end.
But call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still & keen & cruel, burning the heart with dire despair.
Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look of the mother on the day of the father's wrath.

This is my prayer to thee, my Lord-strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys & sorrows.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys & sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before the insolent might.
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give the strength to surrender my strength to Thy will with Love.

I thought my voyage had come to it's end at the last limit of my power, - that the path before me was closed, that provisions were exhausted & the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity. But I find that thy will knows no end in me. And when old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart, & where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with it's wonders.

When the creation was new & all the stars shone in their first splendor, the Gods held their assembly in the sky & sang, "Oh, the picture of perfection! the joy unalloyed!"
But one cried of a sudden - "It seems that somewhere there is a break in the chain of light & one of the stars has been lost".
The golden string of their harp snapped, their song stopped & they cried in dismay - "Yes, that lost star was the best, she was the glory of all heavens!"
From that day the search is unceasing for her & the cry goes on from one to the other that in her the world has lost it's one joy!
Only in the deepest silence of night the stars smile & whisper among themselves - "Vain is this seeking! Unbroken perfection is over all!".

I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all & take my departure.
Here I give back the keys of my door - & I give up all claims to my house. I only ask for last kind words from you.
We were neighbours for long, but I received more than I could give. Now the day has dawned & the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. A summons has come & I am ready for my journey.