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.
Where dost thou stand behind them all, my lover, hiding thyself
in the shadows? They push thee and pass thee by on the dusty
road, taking thee for naught. I wait here weary hours spreading
my offerings for thee, while passers-by come and take my flowers,
one by one, and my basket is nearly empty.
The morning time is past, and the noon. In the shade of evening
my eyes are drowsy with sleep. Men going home glance at me and
smile and fill me with shame. I sit like a beggar maid, drawing
my skirt over my face, and when they ask me, what it is I want, I
drop my eyes and answer them not.
Oh, how, indeed, could I tell them that for thee I wait, and that
thou hast promised to come. How could I utter for shame that I
keep for my dowry this poverty. Ah, I hug this pride in the
secret of my heart.
I sit on the grass and gaze upon the sky and dream of the sudden
splendour of thy coming–all the lights ablaze, golden pennons
flying over thy car, and they at the roadside standing agape,
when they see thee come down from thy seat to raise me from the
dust, and set at thy side this ragged beggar girl a-tremble with
shame and pride, like a creeper in a summer breeze.
But time glides on and still no sound of the wheels of thy
chariot. Many a procession passes by with noise and shouts and
glamour of glory. Is it only thou who wouldst stand in the
shadow silent and behind them all? And only I who would wait and
weep and wear out my heart in vain longing?
From: GITANJALI – ‘Song Offerings’
Tagore Short Poems
Tagore Stray Birds