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TAGORE, Rabindranath

Last Curtain

I know that the day will come

when my sight of this earth shall be lost,

and life will take its leave in silence,

drawing the last curtain over my eyes.

Yet stars will watch at night,

and morning rise as before,

and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.

When I think of this end of my moments,

the barrier of the moments breaks

and I see by the light of death

thy world with its careless treasures.

Rare is its lowliest seat,

rare is its meanest of lives.

Things that I longed for in vain

and things that I got

—let them pass.

Let me but truly possess

the things that I ever spurned

and overlooked.

Leave This’

Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads!

Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?

Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!

He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground

and where the pathmaker is breaking stones.

He is with them in sun and in shower,

and his garment is covered with dust.

Put off thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!

Let Me Not Forget

If it is not my portion to meet thee in this life

then let me ever feel that I have missed thy sight

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

As my days pass in the crowded market of this world

and my hands grow full with the daily profits,

let me ever feel that I have gained nothing

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

When I sit by the roadside, tired and panting,

when I spread my bed low in the dust,

let me ever feel that the long journey is still before me

—let me not forget a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

When my rooms have been decked out and the flutes sound

and the laughter there is loud,

let me ever feel that I have not invited thee to my house

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my drea

Art thou abroad on this stormy night

Art thou abroad on this stormy night

on thy journey of love, my friend?

The sky groans like one in despair.

I have no sleep tonight.

Ever and again I open my door and look out on

the darkness, my friend!

I can see nothing before me.

I wonder where lies thy path!

By what dim shore of the ink-black river,

by what far edge of the frowning forest,

through what mazy depth of gloom art thou threading

thy course to come to me, my friend?”

I Cannot Remember My Mother

I cannot remember my mother

only sometimes in the midst of my play

a tune seems to hover over my playthings,

the tune of some song that she used to

hum while rocking my cradle.

I cannot remember my mother

but when in the early autumn morning

the smell of the shiuli flowers floats in the air

the scent of the morning service in the temple

comes to me as the scent of my mother.

I cannot remember my mother

only when from my bedroom window I send

my eyes into the blue of the distant sky,

I feel that the stillness of

my mother's gaze on my face

has spread all over the sky


Freedom from fear is the freedom

I claim for you my motherland!

Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head,

breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning

call of the future;

Freedom from the shackles of slumber wherewith

you fasten yourself in night's stillness,

mistrusting the star that speaks of truth's adventurous paths;

freedom from the anarchy of destiny

whole sails are weakly yielded to the blind uncertain winds,

and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as death.

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet's world,

where movements are started through brainless wires,

repeated through mindless habits,

where figures wait with patience and obedience for the

master of show,

to be stirred into a mimicry of life.

Gitanjali 35 / Where the mind is without fear

Where the mind is without fear and 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 its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Gitanjali 39

WHEN THE HEART is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower of mercy.

When grace is lost from life, come with a burst of song.

When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.

When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.

When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.

The Gardener

‘Ah, Poet, the evening draws near; your hair is turning gray.

‘Do you in your lonely musing hear the message of the hereafter?’

‘It is evening,’ the poet said, ‘and I am listening because some one may call from the village, late though it be.

‘I watch if young straying hearts meet together, and two pairs of eager eyes beg for music to break their silence and speak for them.

‘Who is there to weave their passionate songs, if I sit on the shore of life and contemplate death and the beyond?

‘The early evening star disappears.

‘The glow of the funeral pyre slowly dies by the silent river.

‘Jackals cry in chorus from the courtyard of the deserted house in the light of the worn-out moon.

‘If some wanderer, leaving home, come here to watch the night and with bowed head listen to the murmur of the darkness, who is there to whisper the secrets of life into his ears if I, shutting my doors, should try to free myself from mortal bonds?

‘It is trifle that my hair is turning gray.

‘I am ever as young or as old as the youngest and the oldest of this village.

‘Some have smiles, sweet and simple, and some have a sly twinkle in their eyes.

‘Some have tears that well up in the daylight, and others tears that are hidden in the gloom.

‘They all have need for me, and I have no time to brood over the afterlife.

‘I am of an age with each, what matter if my hair turns gray?’

The Gardener LXIX

I hunt for the golden stag.

You may smile, my friends, but I

pursue the vision that eludes me.

I run across hills and dales, I wander

through nameless lands, because I am

hunting for the golden stag.

You come and buy in the market

and go back to your homes laden with

goods, but the spell of the homeless

winds has touched me I know not when

and where.

I have no care in my heart; all my

belongings I have left far behind me.

I run across hills and dales, I wander

through nameless lands--because I am

hunting for the golden stag.

Who are you, reader

Who are you, reader, reading my poems a hundred years hence?

I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.

Open your doors and look abroad.

From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.

In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across an hundred years.

Wie zijt gij , lezer

Wie zijt gij , lezer, die over een honderd jaar mijn gedichten lezen zult?

Geen enkele bloem kan ik u zenden uit mijn rijkdom dezer uitbundige lente, geen enkele streep gouds uit de pracht van gindse wolken.

Open uw deuren wijd! En kijk om u heen.

Verzamel in uw bloesemende tuin de geurige herinnering aan de verdwenen bloemenweelde van een eeuw geleden.

Moge dan,- in de blijheid van uw hart,- de levende vreugde voelbaar zijn, die op een lentemorgen zong, om haar blij geluid nog over honderd jaar de wereld in te zenden!

I have had my invitation

I have had my invitation to this world's festival, and thus my life has been blessed. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard.

It was my part at this feast to play upon my instrument, and I have done all I could.

Now, I ask, has the time come at last when I may go in and see thy face and offer thee my silent salutation?

Ik ben genodigd

Ik ben genodigd tot het feest dezer wereld en zo is mijn leven gezegend. Mijn ogen hebben gezien en mijn oren gehoord.

Het was mijn taak op dit feest mijn speeltuig te bespelen, en ik heb gedaan wat ik kon.


The Dream

I dreamt that she sat by my head,

tenderly ruffling my hair with her fingers,

playing the melody of her touch.

I looked at her face and struggled with my tears,

till the agony of unspoken words burst my sleep like a bubble.

I sat up and saw the glow of the milky way

above my window, like a world of silence on fire,

and I wondered if at this moment

she had a dream that rhymed with mine.