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TAGORE, Rabindranath

No civilized society can thrive upon victims, whose humanity has been permanently mutilated.

Closed Path

I thought that my voyage had come to its end

at the last limit of my power,—that the path before me was closed,

that provisions were exhausted

and 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;

and where the old tracks are lost,

new country is revealed with its wonders

Who is this ?

I came out alone on my way to my tryst.

But who is this that follows me in the silent dark?

I move aside to avoid his presence but I escape him not.

He makes the dust rise from the earth with his swagger;

he adds his loud voice to every word that I utter.

He is my own little self, my lord, he knows no shame;

but I am ashamed to come to thy door in his company.

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.

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 – Walk alone

If they answer not to your call,

walk alone.

If they are afraid and cower mutely

facing the wall,

O thou unlucky one,

open your mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you

when crossing the wilderness,

O thou unlucky one,

trample the thorns under thy tread,

and along the blood-lined track

travel alone

If they shut doors and do not hold up the light

when the night is troubled with storm,

O thou unlucky one,

with the thunder flame of pain

ignite your own heart,

and let it burn alone.

If they answer not to your call,

walk alone.

Gitanjali 11 - 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!


Where is this deliverance to be found?

Our master himself has joyfully taken upon him the bonds of creation;

he is bound with us all for ever.

Come out of thy meditations and leave aside thy flowers and incense!

What harm is there if thy clothes become tattered and stained?

Meet him and stand by him in toil and in sweat of thy brow.

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.

YOU HAVE SET me among those who are defeated.

I know it is not for me to win, nor to leave the game.

I shall plunge into the pool although but to sink to the bottom.

I shall play the game of my undoing.

I shall stake all I have and when I lose my last penny I shall stake myself, and then I think I shall have won through my utter defeat.

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.


On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,

and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my

dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to

me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this

perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.