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Creation and Criticism

ISSN: 2455-9687  

(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal

Devoted to English Language and Literature)

Vol. 06, Joint Issue 22 & 23: July-Oct 2021

Heritage


Friend and Other Poems — Rabindranath Tagore


Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941) was an Indian poet, writer, dramatist, composer, philosopher, social reformer and painter. He is the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.


 

1. Friend

 

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?

 

2. 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.

 

3. The Song That I Came To Sing

 

The song that I came to sing

remains unsung to this day.

I have spent my days in stringing

and in unstringing my instrument.

 

The time has not come true,

the words have not been rightly set;

only there is the agony

of wishing in my heart.

 

The blossom has not opened;

only the wind is sighing by.

I have not seen his face,

nor have I listened to his voice;

only I have heard his gentle footsteps

from the road before my house.

 

The livelong day has passed

in spreading his seat on the floor;

but the lamp has not been lit

and I cannot ask him into my house.

 

I live in the hope of meeting with him;

but this meeting is not yet.

 

4. Give me Strength

 

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 and 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 insolent might.

 

Give me the strength

to raise my mind high above daily trifles.

 

And give me the strength

to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

 

5. Lord of my Life

 

Thou who art the innermost Spirit of my being,

art thou pleased, Lord of my Life?

For I give to thee my cup filled with all

the pain and delight that the crushed

grapes of my heart had surrendered,

I wove with rhythm of colors and song cover for thy bed,

And with the molten gold of my desires

I fashioned playthings for thy passing hours.

I know not why thou chosest me for thy partner,

Lord of my life.

 

Didst thou store my days and nights,

my deeds and dreams for the alchemy of thy art,

and string in the chain of thy music

my songs of autumn and spring,

and gather the flowers from

my mature moments for thy crown?

 

I see thine eyes gazing at the dark of my heart,

Lord of my life,

I wonder if my failure and wrongs are forgiven.

For many were my days without service

and nights of forgetfulness; futile were the flowers

that faded in the shade not offered to thee.

 

Often the tied strings of my lute slackened

at the strains of thy tunes.

And often at the ruin of wasted hours

my desolate evenings were filled with tears.

 

But have my days come to their end at last,

Lord of my life, while my arms round thee

grow limp, my kisses losing their truth?

Then break up the meeting of this languid day!

Renew the old in me in fresh forms of delight;

and let the wedding come once again in

a new ceremony of life.

 


 

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