Monday, October 29, 2012

Verse: Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

This collection of poems is the pouring out of Rabindranath Tagore's moving and passionate hunger for God.   Of Tagore's poetry W. B. Yeats wrote in 1912:  "I have carried the manuscripts of these translations about with me for days, reading it in railway trains, or on the top of omnibuses and in restaurants, and I have often had to close it lest some stranger would see how much it moved me."


The rain has held back for days and 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 thy angry storm, dark with death, if it is thy wish, and with lashes of lightning startle the sky from end to end. 

But call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still and keen and 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.


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.