On the slope of the desolate river among tall grasses I asked
her, ‘Maiden, where do you go shading your lamp with your mantle?
My house is all dark and lonesome–lend me your light!’ she
raised her dark eyes for a moment and looked at my face through
the dusk. ‘I have come to the river,’ she said, ‘to float my
lamp on the stream when the daylight wanes in the west.’ I stood
alone among tall grasses and watched the timid flame of her lamp
uselessly drifting in the tide.
In the silence of gathering night I asked her, ‘Maiden, your
lights are all lit–then where do you go with your lamp? My
house is all dark and lonesome–lend me your light.’ She raised
her dark eyes on my face and stood for a moment doubtful. ‘I
have come,’ she said at last, ‘to dedicate my lamp to the sky.’
I stood and watched her light uselessly burning in the void.
In the moonless gloom of midnight I ask her, ‘Maiden, what is
your quest, holding the lamp near your heart? My house is all
dark and lonesome–lend me your light.’ She stopped for a minute
and thought and gazed at my face in the dark. ‘I have brought my
light,’ she said, ‘to join the carnival of lamps.’ I stood and
watched her little lamp uselessly lost among lights.
What divine drink wouldst thou have, my God, from this
overflowing cup of my life?
My poet, is it thy delight to see thy creation through my eyes
and to stand at the portals of my ears silently to listen to
thine own eternal harmony?
Thy world is weaving words in my mind and thy joy is adding music
to them. Thou givest thyself to me in love and then feelest
thine own entire sweetness in me.
She who ever had remained in the depth of my being, in the
twilight of gleams and of glimpses; she who never opened her
veils in the morning light, will be my last gift to thee, my God,
folded in my final song.
Words have wooed yet failed to win her; persuasion has stretched
to her its eager arms in vain.
I have roamed from country to country keeping her in the core of
my heart, and around her have risen and fallen the growth and
decay of my life.
From: GITANJALI – ‘Song Offerings’
Tagore Short Poems
Tagore Stray Birds