Ungrateful Sorrow

At dawn shey(1) departed
My mind tried to console me –
” Everything is Maya(2)”.
Angrily I replied:
“Here’s this sewing box on the table,
that flower-pot on the terrace,
this monogrammed hand-fan on the bed—
all these are real.”

My mind said: “Yet, think again.”
I rejoined: ” You better stop.
Look at this storybook,
the hairpin halfway amongst its leaves,
signaling the rest is unread;
if all these things are “Maya”,
then why should “shey” be more unreal?”

My mind becomes silent.
A friend arrived and says:
“That which is good is real
it is never non-existent;
entire world preserves and cherishes it its chest
like a precious jewel in a necklace.”

I replied in anger: “How do you know?
Is a body not good? Where did that body go?”

Like a small boy in a rage hitting his mother,
I began to strike at everything in this world
that gave me shelter.
And I screamed:” The world is treacherous.”

Suddenly, I was startled.
It seemed like someone admonished me :” You- ungrateful ! “

I looked at the crescent moon
hidden behind the tamarisk tree outside my window.
As if the dear departed one is smiling
and playing hide-and-seek with me.

From the depth of darkness punctuated by scattered stars
came a rebuke: “when I let you grasp me you call it an deception,
and yet when I remain concealed,
why do you hold on to your faith in me with such conviction?”

(1): “Shey” in Bengali can mean either he or she.
(2): “Maya” meaning Unreal.

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Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore’s Poems

Tagore Short Poems

(Translated from: “Ungrateful Sorrow (Grief)” by: Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore), in Lipika (means- Notes) : Collected Works, Vol-26, p. 105.)