• Parabaas
    Parabaas : পরবাস : বাংলা ভাষা, সাহিত্য ও সংস্কৃতি
  • পরবাস | Rabindranath Tagore | Poem
  • Twelve Poems from Gitanjali : Rabindranath Tagore
    translated from Bengali to English by Carolyn B. Brown

    Tonight  you’re trysting with a storm
    friend of my heart oh friend
    the heavens rain despair
    eyes emptied of sleep
    I unlatch the door, oh love
    I look out again and again
    friend of my heart oh friend

    I can’t see a thing outside
    can’t guess your path
    far off on some riverbank
    at some forest’s edge
    in thickest darkness
    you’re crossing over
    friend of my heart oh friend

    “Padma” boat
    Srabon 1316

    Day is done, shadows fall
    over the earth
    now let me go down to the ghat
    and fill my kolosh
    the river's whispers distress
    the dimming sky
    oh!  that melody is calling me
    down the path
    let me go down to the ghat
    and fill my kolosh

    Now no one’s coming or going
    on the lonely path
    oh! waves race along love’s river
    as the wind rises
    I don’t know whether I’ll come back
    whether I’ll meet someone tonight
    by the ghat    a stranger’s playing the veena
    on a raft
    let me go down to the ghat
    and fill my kolosh

    13 Bhadro 1316

    You’ve been coming for me
    hiding behind
     your sun and moon
    your footsteps always ringing
    at dawn or dusk
    a messenger whispering
    in my heart

    Oh voyager, today
     waves of joy
    set my whole being
     quivering quivering
    as if at last
    my work’s ended
    oh maharaj, the breeze
    is spiced with your scent

    16 Bhadro 1316

    I was invited to the world’s festival
    blessed my life’s been blessed
     images flooded my eyes
     my ears drowned in sounds
     I roamed till my hunger
     was sated

    my job at your festival
     was to play the flute
    to stroll composing songs
     of life’s laughter and tears
     has the time come?
     if I see you holding court
     I’ll trumpet triumph
     this is my humble offering

    30 Aswin 1316

    Youclimbed down, lord
    from your lion seat
    andstood at the door
    of my lonely room
    I was sitting by myself
    singing a song
    when a note caught your ear
    you climbed down, lord
    and  stood at the door
    of my lonely room

    countless skillful songs
    fill your court
    today’s unskilled song
    echoed your love
    a tentative note
    tapped the world’s harmony
    garland in hand
    you climbed down, lord
    and  stood at the door
    of my lonely room

    27 Choitro 1316

    He came and sat beside me
    but I didn’t wake
    poor girl
    overcome by sleep
    he came in the hush of night
    his veena in hand
    and left a dark ragini
    echoing in my dream

    your maddening scent
    seeds the south wind
    fills the darkness and wakes me
    why won’t he take me
    when he comes at night
    oh why don’t I feel his garland
    against my breast

    12 Boisakh 1317

    You promised we’d go just you and I
    adriftin a boat just drifting
    no one on earth neither above nor below would know
    where our journey would end at which altar in what realm
    in the middle of that shoreless sea
    I would sing a ragini for you alone
    like waves on wordless waves
     you would smile silently and listen

    Is it time yet? is there still work to do?
    lovelook, night is falling over the sands
    shorebirds spread their wings in the twilight
    homeward they all fly
    when will you come down to the ghat
    and cut the line?
    like the sun dropping beneath the horizon
    ourboat will slip away through the night

    30 Jyoistho 1317

    I started out to meet you
    by myself
    so who’s following me
    in the muffled dark?
    I want to get rid of him
    I circle and backtrack
    and decide the stalker’s gone
    but there he is again!

    he’s a walking earthquake
    the way he stomps along
    whenever I try to say a word
    he butts in
    lord, it’s me, my self!
    he hasn’t a shred of shame
    I’m so ashamed of him
    how can I come to your door?

    14 Asarh 1317

    My song has cast off
    its bangles
    no point preening
    when we meet
    bangles just get
    in the way
    their jangling
    drowns out your voice

    I shed my pride
    when we meet
    great poet, let me
    sit at your feet
    if I spend my days making
    a plain bamboo flute
    and fill it with my breath
    will you give me the notes?

    1 Srabon 1317

    my whole life long
    I’ve sought you through song
    within myself, beyond
    the song has carried me
    room to room, door to door
    I’ve glossed all the world
    with song

    such lessons learned
    such secret paths found
    such stars I’ve greeted
    in my heart’s orbit

    I’ve explored the hinterlands
    every region of joy and pain
    which mansion have I reached
    at nightfall?

    10 Srabon 1317

    Let me bow down, lord
     let me bow down
    so I can touch the ground
     of your creation
    As monsoon clouds
    lower their burden to earth
     let me bow down, lord
    let me bow down
     so I can lay my heart
    at your door

    As spilled notes weave
    a river of song
     let me bow down, lord
    let me bow down
     so my mind can dissolve
    in the silent sea

    As geese fly onward
    day and night
     let me bow down, lord
    let me bow down
     so my soul can cross over
    to death’s other shore

    23 Srabon 1317

    If day should die, if no birds sing
     if the wind’s too weary to fly
    then draw the darkness over me
     thicker than thickest cloudcover
      as you’d blanket the earth
      softly, secretly, with dreams
     and close the lotus petals of night
      as if kissing eyelids shut

    That vagabond with a crop of bruises
     clothed in grime and dust
    strength shattered, near collapse
     last coin spent long ago
      wrap his wounds, hide his shame
      in a cloud of compassion
     soothe him with dark nectar
      let dawn blossom anew

    29 Srabon 1317

    Translator's Note
    The translations follow the numbering of Tagore’s Bengali Gitanjali. In the following list, the second number in each pair corresponds to the number in his English Gitanjali: A Collection of Prose Translations Made by the Author from the Original Bengali: 20/23, 26/74, 34/46, 44/32 (??16?), 56/49, 61/26, 83/42, 103/30, 125/7, 132/101, 148/103, 157/24. The twelve poems were written between August 1909 and August 1910 (10 Bhadro 1316–29 Shrabon 1317; Tagore often noted the date of composition, using the Bengali calendar). Tagore also sometimes recorded the place of composition as he traveled from place to place in Bengal. The “Padma” is the Tagore family’s houseboat, named by the poet after the river Padma; Shilaidah (or Shelidah) is a village in East Bengal (now Bangladesh), and the location of the family estate; Bolpur is the railway station closest to the village of Santiniketan, the site of Visva-Bharati, an educational institution that Tagore founded.

    Also read the accompanying article Listening to Gitanjali: Parables for Translators by Carolyn B. Brown

    অলংকরণ (Artwork) : Amitabha Sen

    Tags: Carolyn B. Brown
  • Listening to Gitanjali: Parables for Translators | Twelve Poems from Gitanjali
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