biblio-excerptise:   a book unexamined is not worth having

Selected poems: Selected Poems

Rabindranath Tagore and William Radice (tr.)

Tagore, Rabindranath; William Radice (tr.);

Selected poems: Selected Poems

Penguin Classics 1989, 208 pages

ISBN 0140183663

topics: |  poetry | single-author | translation

Golden Boat (sonAr tarI)

Clouds rumbling in the sky; teeming rain.
I sit on the river-bank, sad and alone.
The sheaves lie gathered, harvest has ended,
The river is swollen and fierce in its flow.
As we cut the paddy it started to rain.

One small paddy-field, no one but me -
Flood-waters twisting and swirling everywhere.
Trees on the far bank		smear shadows like ink
On a village painted in deep morning grey.
On this side a paddy-field, no one but me.

Who is this, steering close to the shore,
Singing? I feel that she is someone I know.
The sails are filled wide,	she gazes ahead,
Waves break helplessly against the boat each side.
I watch and feel I have seen her face before.

Oh to what foreign land do you sail?
Come to the bank and moor you boat for a while.
Go where you want to, 		give where you care to,
But come to the bank a moment, show your smile -
Take away my golden paddy when you sail.

Take it, take as much as you can load.
Is there more?  No, none, I have put it aboard.
My intense labour		here by the river -
I have parted with it all, layer upon layer:
Now take me as well, be kind, take me aboard.

No room, no room, the boat is to small.
Loaded with my gold paddy, the boat is full.
Across the rain-sky		clouds heave to and fro,
On the bare river-bank, I remain alone -
What I had has gone; the golden boat took all.

From the extensive introduction

Our intellect is an ascetic who wears no clothes, takes no food, knows no
sleep, has no wishes, feels no love or hatred or pity for human limitations,
who only reasons, unmoved, through the vicissitudes of life. - Nationalism

Because God's will, in giving his love, finds its completeness in man's will
returning that love. Therefore Humanity is a necessary factor in the
perfecting of the divine truth. The Infinite, for its self-expression, comes
down into the manifoldness of the Finite; and the Finite, for its
self-realisation, must rise into the unity of the Infinite. Then only is the
Cycle of Truth complete.

The world of science is not a world of reality, it is an abstract world of
force. - Personality (opening page)

amitabha mukerjee (mukerjee [at] 17 Feb 2009