I came out alone on my way to my tryst. But who is this that
follows me in the silent dark?
I move aside to avoid his presence but I escape him not.
He makes the dust rise from the earth with his swagger; he adds
his loud voice to every word that I utter.
He is my own little self, my lord, he knows no shame; but I am
ashamed to come to thy door in his company.
‘Prisoner, tell me, who was it that bound you?’
‘It was my master,’ said the prisoner. ‘I thought I could outdo
everybody in the world in wealth and power, and I amassed in my
own treasure-house the money due to my king. When sleep overcame
me I lay upon the bed that was for my lord, and on waking up I
found I was a prisoner in my own treasure-house.’
‘Prisoner, tell me, who was it that wrought this unbreakable
‘It was I,’ said the prisoner, ‘who forged this chain very
carefully. I thought my invincible power would hold the world
captive leaving me in a freedom undisturbed. Thus night and day
I worked at the chain with huge fires and cruel hard strokes.
When at last the work was done and the links were complete and
unbreakable, I found that it held me in its grip.’
From: GITANJALI – ‘Song Offerings’
Tagore Short Poems
Tagore Stray Birds