Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
which means 'Offering of Songs', is a collection of 103 english poems by Rabindranath
Tagore. Gitanjali is translated into many languages and is widely popular
in the West. It is for this inspiring collection of poems that the author, Rabingranath
Togore, won the coveted Nobel Prize.
Thou hast made
me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and
again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute
of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through
it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal
touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to
Thy infinite gifts
come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou
pourest, and still there is room to fill.
When thou commandest
me to sing it seems that my heart would break with pride; and I look to thy
face, and tears come to my eyes.
All that is harsh
and dissonant in my life melts into one sweet harmony---and my adoration spreads
wings like a glad bird on its flight across the sea.
I know thou takest
pleasure in my singing. I know that only as a singer I come before thy presence.
I touch by the
edge of the far-spreading wing of my song thy feet which I could never aspire
Drunk with the
joy of singing I forget myself and call thee friend who art my lord.
I know not how
thou singest, my master! I ever listen in silent amazement.
The light of thy
music illumines the world. The life breath of thy music runs from sky to sky.
The holy stream of thy music breaks through all stony obstacles and rushes on.
My heart longs
to join in thy song, but vainly struggles for a voice. I would speak, but speech
breaks not into song, and I cry out baffled. Ah, thou hast made my heart captive
in the endless meshes of thy music, my master!
Life of my life,
I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon
all my limbs.
I shall ever try
to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth
which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.
I shall ever try
to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that
thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.
And it shall be
my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me
strength to act.
I ask for a moment's
indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the
sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an
endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer
has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their
minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time
to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of live in this
silent and overflowing leisure.
Pluck this little
flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it droop and drop into the dust.
I may not find
a place in thy garland, but honour it with a touch of pain from thy hand and
pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I am aware, and the time of offering
Though its colour
be not deep and its smell be faint, use this flower in thy service and pluck
it while there is time.
My song has put
off her adornments. She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would
mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown
My poet's vanity
dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet.
Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee
to fill with music.
The child who
is decked with prince's robes and who has jewelled chains round his neck loses
all pleasure in his play; his dress hampers him at every step.
In fear that it
may be frayed, or stained with dust he keeps himself from the world, and is
afraid even to move.
Mother, it is
no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keep one shut off from the healthful dust
of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common
O Fool, try to
carry thyself upon thy own shoulders! O beggar, to come beg at thy own door!
Leave all thy
burdens on his hands who can bear all, and never look behind in regret.
Thy desire at
once puts out the light from the lamp it touches with its breath. It is unholy---take
not thy gifts through its unclean hands. Accept only what is offered by sacred
Here is thy footstool
and there rest thy feet where live the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
When I try to
bow to thee, my obeisance cannot reach down to the depth where thy feet rest
among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
Pride can never
approach to where thou walkest in the clothes of the humble among the poorest,
and lowliest, and lost.
My heart can never
find its way to where thou keepest company with the companionless among the
poorest, the lowliest, and the lost.
Leave this chanting
and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark
corner of a temple with doors all shut? Open thine eyes and see thy God is not
He is there where
the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the pathmaker is breaking stones.
He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust.
Put of thy holy mantle and even like him come down on the dusty soil!
is this deliverance to be found? Our master himself has joyfully taken upon
him the bonds of creation; he is bound with us all for ever.
Come out of thy
meditations and leave aside thy flowers and incense! What harm is there if thy
clothes become tattered and stained? Meet him and stand by him in toil and in
sweat of thy brow.
The time that
my journey takes is long and the way of it long.
I came out on
the chariot of the first gleam of light, and pursued my voyage through the wildernesses
of worlds leaving my track on many a star and planet.
It is the most
distant course that comes nearest to thyself, and that training is the most
intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune.
has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through
all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.
My eyes strayed
far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!'
The question and
the cry `Oh, where?' melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world
with the flood of the assurance `I am!'
The song that
I came to sing remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my
days in stringing and in unstringing my instrument.
The time has not
come true, the words have not been rightly set; only there is the agony of wishing
in my heart.
The blossom has
not opened; only the wind is sighing by.
I have not seen
his face, nor have I listened to his voice; only I have heard his gentle footsteps
from the road before my house.
The livelong day
has passed in spreading his seat on the floor; but the lamp has not been lit
and I cannot ask him into my house.
I live in the
hope of meeting with him; but this meeting is not yet.
My desires are
many and my cry is pitiful, but ever didst thou save me by hard refusals; and
this strong mercy has been wrought into my life through and through.
Day by day thou
art making me worthy of the simple, great gifts that thou gavest to me unasked---this
sky and the light, this body and the life and the mind---saving me from perils
of overmuch desire.
There are times
when I languidly linger and times when I awaken and hurry in search of my goal;
but cruelly thou hidest thyself from before me.
Day by day thou
art making me worthy of thy full acceptance by refusing me ever and anon, saving
me from perils of weak, uncertain desire.
I am here to sing
thee songs. In this hall of thine I have a corner seat.
In thy world I
have no work to do; my useless life can only break out in tunes without a purpose.
When the hour
strikes for thy silent worship at the dark temple of midnight, command me, my
master, to stand before thee to sing.
When in the morning
air the golden harp is tuned, honour me, commanding my presence.
I have had my
invitation to this world's festival, and thus my life has been blessed. My eyes
have seen and my ears have heard.
It was my part
at this feast to play upon my instrument, and I have done all I could.
Now, I ask, has
the time come at last when I may go in and see thy face and offer thee my silent
I am only waiting
for love to give myself up at last into his hands. That is why it is so late
and why I have been guilty of such omissions.
They come with
their laws and their codes to bind me fast; but I evade them ever, for I am
only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.
People blame me
and call me heedless; I doubt not they are right in their blame.
The market day
is over and work is all done for the busy. Those who came to call me in vain
have gone back in anger. I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last
into his hands.
Clouds heap upon
clouds and it darkens. Ah, love, why dost thou let me wait outside at the door
In the busy moments
of the noontide work I am with the crowd, but on this dark lonely day it is
only for thee that I hope.
If thou showest
me not thy face, if thou leavest me wholly aside, I know not how I am to pass
these long, rainy hours.
I keep gazing
on the far-away gloom of the sky, and my heart wanders wailing with the restless
If thou speakest
not I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it. I will keep still and
wait like the night with starry vigil and its head bent low with patience.
The morning will
surely come, the darkness will vanish, and thy voice pour down in golden streams
breaking through the sky.
Then thy words
will take wing in songs from every one of my birds' nests, and thy melodies
will break forth in flowers in all my forest groves.
On the day when
the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket
was empty and the flower remained unheeded.
Only now and again
a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace
of a strange fragrance in the south wind.
That vague sweetness
made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that is was the eager breath
of the summer seeking for its completion.
I knew not then
that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed
in the depth of my own heart.
I must launch
out my boat. The languid hours pass by on the shore---Alas for me!
The spring has
done its flowering and taken leave. And now with the burden of faded futile
flowers I wait and linger.
The waves have
become clamorous, and upon the bank in the shady lane the yellow leaves flutter
do you gaze upon! Do you not feel a thrill passing through the air with the
notes of the far-away song floating from the other shore?
In the deep shadows
of the rainy July, with secret steps, thou walkest, silent as night, eluding
Today the morning
has closed its eyes, heedless of the insistent calls of the loud east wind,
and a thick veil has been drawn over the ever-wakeful blue sky.
have hushed their songs, and doors are all shut at every house. Thou art the
solitary wayfarer in this deserted street. Oh my only friend, my best beloved,
the gates are open in my house---do not pass by like a dream.
Art thou abroad
on this stormy night on thy journey of love, my friend? The sky groans like
one in despair.
I have no sleep
tonight. Ever and again I open my door and look out on the darkness, my friend!
I can see nothing
before me. I wonder where lies thy path!
By what dim shore
of the ink-black river, by what far edge of the frowning forest, through what
mazy depth of gloom art thou threading thy course to come to me, my friend?
If the day is
done, if birds sing no more, if the wind has flagged tired, then draw the veil
of darkness thick upon me, even as thou hast wrapt the earth with the coverlet
of sleep and tenderly closed the petals of the drooping lotus at dusk.
From the traveller,
whose sack of provisions is empty before the voyage is ended, whose garment
is torn and dustladen, whose strength is exhausted, remove shame and poverty,
and renew his life like a flower under the cover of thy kindly night.
In the night of
weariness let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, resting my trust
Let me not force
my flagging spirit into a poor preparation for thy worship.
It is thou who
drawest the veil of night upon the tired eyes of the day to renew its sight
in a fresher gladness of awakening.
He came and sat
by my side but I woke not. What a cursed sleep it was, O miserable me!
He came when the
night was still; he had his harp in his hands, and my dreams became resonant
with its melodies.
Alas, why are
my nights all thus lost? Ah, why do I ever miss his sight whose breath touches
Light, oh where
is the light? Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!
There is the lamp
but never a flicker of a flame---is such thy fate, my heart? Ah, death were
better by far for thee!
at thy door, and her message is that thy lord is wakeful, and he calls thee
to the love-tryst through the darkness of night.
The sky is overcast
with clouds and the rain is ceaseless. I know not what this is that stirs in
me---I know not its meaning.
A moment's flash
of lightning drags down a deeper gloom on my sight, and my heart gropes for
the path to where the music of the night calls me.
Light, oh where
is the light! Kindle it with the burning fire of desire! It thunders and the
wind rushes screaming through the void. The night is black as a black stone.
Let not the hours pass by in the dark. Kindle the lamp of love with thy life.
the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them.
Freedom is all
I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed.
I am certain that
priceless wealth is in thee, and that thou art my best friend, but I have not
the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room
The shroud that
covers me is a shroud of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.
My debts are large,
my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to ask for my
good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.
He whom I enclose
with my name is weeping in this dungeon. I am ever busy building this wall all
around; and as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my
true being in its dark shadow.
I take pride in
this great wall, and I plaster it with dust and sand lest a least hole should
be left in this name; and for all the care I take I lose sight of my true being.
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
He is my own little
self, my lord, he knows no shame; but I am ashamed to come to thy door in his
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.'
me, who was it that wrought this unbreakable chain?'
`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.'
By all means they
try to hold me secure who love me in this world. But it is otherwise with thy
love which is greater than theirs, and thou keepest me free.
Lest I forget
them they never venture to leave me alone. But day passes by after day and thou
art not seen.
If I call not
thee in my prayers, if I keep not thee in my heart, thy love for me still waits
for my love.
When it was day
they came into my house and said, `We shall only take the smallest room here.'
They said, `We
shall help you in the worship of your God and humbly accept only our own share
in his grace'; and then they took their seat in a corner and they sat quiet
But in the darkness
of night I find they break into my sacred shrine, strong and turbulent, and
snatch with unholy greed the offerings from God's altar.
Let only that
little be left of me whereby I may name thee my all.
Let only that
little be left of my will whereby I may feel thee on every side, and come to
thee in everything, and offer to thee my love every moment.
Let only that
little be left of me whereby I may never hide thee.
Let only that
little of my fetters be left whereby I am bound with thy will, and thy purpose
is carried out in my life---and that is the fetter of thy love.
Where the mind
is without fear and the head is held high;
Where the world
has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come
out from the depth of truth;
striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear
stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind
is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action---
Into that heaven
of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
This is my prayer
to thee, my lord---strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength
lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength
to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength
never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.
Give me the strength
to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give me the
strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.
I thought that
my voyage had come to its end at the last limit of my power,---that the path
before me was closed, that provisions were exhausted and the time come to take
shelter in a silent obscurity.
But I find that
thy will knows no end in me. And when old words die out on the tongue, new melodies
break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is
revealed with its wonders.
That I want thee,
only thee---let my heart repeat without end. All desires that distract me, day
and night, are false and empty to the core.
As the night keeps
hidden in its gloom the petition for light, even thus in the depth of my unconsciousness
rings the cry---`I want thee, only thee'.
As the storm still
seeks its end in peace when it strikes against peace with all its might, even
thus my rebellion strikes against thy love and still its cry is---`I want thee,
When the heart
is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is
lost from life, come with a burst of song.
work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from beyond, come to me, my
lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.
When my beggarly
heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, break open the door, my king, and
come with the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds
the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy
light and thy thunder.
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?
Early in the day
it was whispered that we should sail in a boat, only thou and I, and never a
soul in the world would know of this our pilgrimage to no country and to no
In that shoreless
ocean, at thy silently listening smile my songs would swell in melodies, free
as waves, free from all bondage of words.
Is the time not
come yet? Are there works still to do? Lo, the evening has come down upon the
shore and in the fading light the seabirds come flying to their nests.
Who knows when
the chains will be off, and the boat, like the last glimmer of sunset, vanish
into the night?
The day was when
I did not keep myself in readiness for thee; and entering my heart unbidden
even as one of the common crowd, unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the
signet of eternity upon many a fleeting moment of my life.
And today when
by chance I light upon them and see thy signature, I find they have lain scattered
in the dust mixed with the memory of joys and sorrows of my trivial days forgotten.
Thou didst not
turn in contempt from my childish play among dust, and the steps that I heard
in my playroom are the same that are echoing from star to star.
This is my delight,
thus to wait and watch at the wayside where shadow chases light and the rain
comes in the wake of the summer.
tidings from unknown skies, greet me and speed along the road. My heart is glad
within, and the breath of the passing breeze is sweet.
From dawn till
dusk I sit here before my door, and I know that of a sudden the happy moment
will arrive when I shall see.
In the meanwhile
I smile and I sing all alone. In the meanwhile the air is filling with the perfume
Have you not heard
his silent steps? He comes, comes, ever comes.
Every moment and
every age, every day and every night he comes, comes, ever comes.
Many a song have
I sung in many a mood of mind, but all their notes have always proclaimed, `He
comes, comes, ever comes.'
In the fragrant
days of sunny April through the forest path he comes, comes, ever comes.
In the rainy gloom
of July nights on the thundering chariot of clouds he comes, comes, ever comes.
In sorrow after
sorrow it is his steps that press upon my heart, and it is the golden touch
of his feet that makes my joy to shine.
I know not from
what distant time thou art ever coming nearer to meet me. Thy sun and stars
can never keep thee hidden from me for aye.
In many a morning
and eve thy footsteps have been heard and thy messenger has come within my heart
and called me in secret.
I know not only
why today my life is all astir, and a feeling of tremulous joy is passing through
It is as if the
time were come to wind up my work, and I feel in the air a faint smell of thy
The night is nearly
spent waiting for him in vain. I fear lest in the morning he suddenly come to
my door when I have fallen asleep wearied out. Oh friends, leave the way open
to him---forbid him not.
If the sounds
of his steps does not wake me, do not try to rouse me, I pray. I wish not to
be called from my sleep by the clamorous choir of birds, by the riot of wind
at the festival of morning light. Let me sleep undisturbed even if my lord comes
of a sudden to my door.
Ah, my sleep,
precious sleep, which only waits for his touch to vanish. Ah, my closed eyes
that would open their lids only to the light of his smile when he stands before
me like a dream emerging from darkness of sleep.
Let him appear
before my sight as the first of all lights and all forms. The first thrill of
joy to my awakened soul let it come from his glance. And let my return to myself
be immediate return to him.
The morning sea
of silence broke into ripples of bird songs; and the flowers were all merry
by the roadside; and the wealth of gold was scattered through the rift of the
clouds while we busily went on our way and paid no heed.
We sang no glad
songs nor played; we went not to the village for barter; we spoke not a word
nor smiled; we lingered not on the way. We quickened our pace more and more
as the time sped by.
The sun rose to
the mid sky and doves cooed in the shade. Withered leaves danced and whirled
in the hot air of noon. The shepherd boy drowsed and dreamed in the shadow of
the banyan tree, and I laid myself down by the water and stretched my tired
limbs on the grass.
laughed at me in scorn; they held their heads high and hurried on; they never
looked back nor rested; they vanished in the distant blue haze. They crossed
many meadows and hills, and passed through strange, far-away countries. All
honour to you, heroic host of the interminable path! Mockery and reproach pricked
me to rise, but found no response in me. I gave myself up for lost in the depth
of a glad humiliation---in the shadow of a dim delight.
The repose of
the sun-embroidered green gloom slowly spread over my heart. I forgot for what
I had travelled, and I surrendered my mind without struggle to the maze of shadows
At last, when
I woke from my slumber and opened my eyes, I saw thee standing by me, flooding
my sleep with thy smile. How I had feared that the path was long and wearisome,
and the struggle to reach thee was hard!
You came down
from your throne and stood at my cottage door.
I was singing
all alone in a corner, and the melody caught your ear. You came down and stood
at my cottage door.
Masters are many
in your hall, and songs are sung there at all hours. But the simple carol of
this novice struck at your love. One plaintive little strain mingled with the
great music of the world, and with a flower for a prize you came down and stopped
at my cottage door.
I had gone a-begging
from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the
distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!
My hopes rose
high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms
to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.
The chariot stopped
where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt
that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold
out thy right hand and say `What hast thou to give to me?'
Ah, what a kingly
jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided,
and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and
gave it to thee.
But how great
my surprise when at the day's end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least
little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had
had the heart to give thee my all.
The night darkened.
Our day's works had been done. We thought that the last guest had arrived for
the night and the doors in the village were all shut. Only some said the king
was to come. We laughed and said `No, it cannot be!'
It seemed there
were knocks at the door and we said it was nothing but the wind. We put out
the lamps and lay down to sleep. Only some said, `It is the messenger!' We laughed
and said `No, it must be the wind!'
There came a sound
in the dead of the night. We sleepily thought it was the distant thunder. The
earth shook, the walls rocked, and it troubled us in our sleep. Only some said
it was the sound of wheels. We said in a drowsy murmur, `No, it must be the
rumbling of clouds!'
The night was
still dark when the drum sounded. The voice came `Wake up! delay not!' We pressed
our hands on our hearts and shuddered with fear. Some said, `Lo, there is the
king's flag!' We stood up on our feet and cried `There is no time for delay!'
The king has come---but
where are lights, where are wreaths? Where is the throne to seat him? Oh, shame!
Oh utter shame! Where is the hall, the decorations? Someone has said, `Vain
is this cry! Greet him with empty hands, lead him into thy rooms all bare!'
Open the doors,
let the conch-shells be sounded! in the depth of the night has come the king
of our dark, dreary house. The thunder roars in the sky. The darkness shudders
with lightning. Bring out thy tattered piece of mat and spread it in the courtyard.
With the storm has come of a sudden our king of the fearful night.
I thought I should
ask of thee---but I dared not---the rose wreath thou hadst on thy neck. Thus
I waited for the morning, when thou didst depart, to find a few fragments on
the bed. And like a beggar I searched in the dawn only for a stray petal or
Ah me, what is
it I find? What token left of thy love? It is no flower, no spices, no vase
of perfumed water. It is thy mighty sword, flashing as a flame, heavy as a bolt
of thunder. The young light of morning comes through the window and spread itself
upon thy bed. The morning bird twitters and asks, `Woman, what hast thou got?'
No, it is no flower, nor spices, nor vase of perfumed water---it is thy dreadful
I sit and muse
in wonder, what gift is this of thine. I can find no place to hide it. I am
ashamed to wear it, frail as I am, and it hurts me when press it to my bosom.
Yet shall I bear in my heart this honour of the burden of pain, this gift of
From now there
shall be no fear left for me in this world, and thou shalt be victorious in
all my strife. Thou hast left death for my companion and I shall crown him with
my life. Thy sword is with me to cut asunder my bonds, and there shall be no
fear left for me in the world.
From now I leave
off all petty decorations. Lord of my heart, no more shall there be for me waiting
and weeping in corners, no more coyness and sweetness of demeanour. Thou hast
given me thy sword for adornment. No more doll's decorations for me!
Beautiful is thy
wristlet, decked with stars and cunningly wrought in myriad-coloured jewels.
But more beautiful to me thy sword with its curve of lightning like the outspread
wings of the divine bird of Vishnu, perfectly poised in the angry red light
of the sunset.
It quivers like
the one last response of life in ecstasy of pain at the final stroke of death;
it shines like the pure flame of being burning up earthly sense with one fierce
Beautiful is thy
wristlet, decked with starry gems; but thy sword, O lord of thunder, is wrought
with uttermost beauty, terrible to behold or think of.
I asked nothing
from thee; I uttered not my name to thine ear. When thou took'st thy leave I
stood silent. I was alone by the well where the shadow of the tree fell aslant,
and the women had gone home with their brown earthen pitchers full to the brim.
They called me and shouted, `Come with us, the morning is wearing on to noon.'
But I languidly lingered awhile lost in the midst of vague musings.
I heard not thy
steps as thou camest. Thine eyes were sad when they fell on me; thy voice was
tired as thou spokest low---`Ah, I am a thirsty traveller.' I started up from
my day-dreams and poured water from my jar on thy joined palms. The leaves rustled
overhead; the cuckoo sang from the unseen dark, and perfume of babla
flowers came from the bend of the road.
I stood speechless
with shame when my name thou didst ask. Indeed, what had I done for thee to
keep me in remembrance? But the memory that I could give water to thee to allay
thy thirst will cling to my heart and enfold it in sweetness. The morning hour
is late, the bird sings in weary notes, neem leaves rustle overhead and
I sit and think and think.
Languor is upon
your heart and the slumber is still on your eyes.
Has not the word
come to you that the flower is reigning in splendour among thorns? Wake, oh
awaken! let not the time pass in vain!
At the end of
the stony path, in the country of virgin solitude, my friend is sitting all
alone. Deceive him not. Wake, oh awaken!
What if the sky
pants and trembles with the heat of the midday sun---what if the burning sand
spreads its mantle of thirst---
Is there no joy
in the deep of your heart? At every footfall of yours, will not the harp of
the road break out in sweet music of pain?
Thus it is that
thy joy in me is so full. Thus it is that thou hast come down to me. O thou
lord of all heavens, where would be thy love if I were not?
Thou hast taken
me as thy partner of all this wealth. In my heart is the endless play of thy
delight. In my life thy will is ever taking shape.
And for this,
thou who art the King of kings hast decked thyself in beauty to captivate my
heart. And for this thy love loses itself in the love of thy lover, and there
art thou seen in the perfect union of two.
Light, my light,
the world-filling light, the eye-kissing light, heart-sweetening light!
Ah, the light
dances, my darling, at the centre of my life; the light strikes, my darling,
the chords of my love; the sky opens, the wind runs wild, laughter passes over
spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the
crest of the waves of light.
The light is shattered
into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems in profusion.
from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure. The heaven's river
has drowned its banks and the flood of joy is abroad.
Let all the strains
of joy mingle in my last song---the joy that makes the earth flow over in the
riotous excess of the grass, the joy that sets the twin brothers, life and death,
dancing over the wide world, the joy that sweeps in with the tempest, shaking
and waking all life with laughter, the joy that sits still with its tears on
the open red lotus of pain, and the joy that throws everything it has upon the
dust, and knows not a word.
Yes, I know, this
is nothing but thy love, O beloved of my heart---this golden light that dances
upon the leaves, these idle clouds sailing across the sky, this passing breeze
leaving its coolness upon my forehead.
The morning light
has flooded my eyes---this is thy message to my heart. Thy face is bent from
above, thy eyes look down on my eyes, and my heart has touched thy feet.
On the seashore
of endless worlds children meet. The infinite sky is motionless overhead and
the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children
meet with shouts and dances.
They build their
houses with sand and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they
weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their
play on the seashore of worlds.
They know not
how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl fishers dive for pearls,
merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them
again. they seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
The sea surges
up with laughter and pale gleams the smile of the sea beach. Death-dealing waves
sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a mother while rocking her
baby's cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the
On the seashore
of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships get
wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore
of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.
The sleep that
flits on baby's eyes---does anybody know from where it comes? Yes, there is
a rumour that it has its dwelling where, in the fairy village among shadows
of the forest dimly lit with glow-worms, there hang two timid buds of enchantment.
From there it comes to kiss baby's eyes.
The smile that
flickers on baby's lips when he sleeps---does anybody know where it was born?
Yes, there is a rumour that a young pale beam of a crescent moon touched the
edge of a vanishing autumn cloud, and there the smile was first born in the
dream of a dew-washed morning---the smile that flickers on baby's lips when
The sweet, soft
freshness that blooms on baby's limbs---does anybody know where it was hidden
so long? Yes, when the mother was a young girl it lay pervading her heart in
tender and silent mystery of love---the sweet, soft freshness that has bloomed
on baby's limbs.
When I bring to
you coloured toys, my child, I understand why there is such a play of colours
on clouds, on water, and why flowers are painted in tints---when I give coloured
toys to you, my child.
When I sing to
make you dance I truly now why there is music in leaves, and why waves send
their chorus of voices to the heart of the listening earth---when I sing to
make you dance.
When I bring sweet
things to your greedy hands I know why there is honey in the cup of the flowers
and why fruits are secretly filled with sweet juice---when I bring sweet things
to your greedy hands.
When I kiss your
face to make you smile, my darling, I surely understand what pleasure streams
from the sky in morning light, and what delight that is that is which the summer
breeze brings to my body---when I kiss you to make you smile.
Thou hast made
me known to friends whom I knew not. Thou hast given me seats in homes not my
own. Thou hast brought the distant near and made a brother of the stranger.
I am uneasy at
heart when I have to leave my accustomed shelter; I forget that there abides
the old in the new, and that there also thou abidest.
and death, in this world or in others, wherever thou leadest me it is thou,
the same, the one companion of my endless life who ever linkest my heart with
bonds of joy to the unfamiliar.
When one knows
thee, then alien there is none, then no door is shut. Oh, grant me my prayer
that I may never lose the bliss of the touch of the one in the play of many.
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.
Over my thoughts
and actions, my slumbers and dreams, she reigned yet dwelled alone and apart.
many a man knocked
at my door and asked for her and turned away in despair.
There was none
in the world who ever saw her face to face, and she remained in her loneliness
waiting for thy recognition.
Thou art the sky
and thou art the nest as well.
O thou beautiful,
there in the nest is thy love that encloses the soul with colours and sounds
There comes the
morning with the golden basket in her right hand bearing the wreath of beauty,
silently to crown the earth.
And there comes
the evening over the lonely meadows deserted by herds, through trackless paths,
carrying cool draughts of peace in her golden pitcher from the western ocean
But there, where
spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take her flight in, reigns the stainless
white radiance. There is no day nor night, nor form nor colour, and never, never
Thy sunbeam comes
upon this earth of mine with arms outstretched and stands at my door the livelong
day to carry back to thy feet clouds made of my tears and sighs and songs.
With fond delight
thou wrappest about thy starry breast that mantle of misty cloud, turning it
into numberless shapes and folds and colouring it with hues everchanging.
It is so light
and so fleeting, tender and tearful and dark, that is why thou lovest it, O
thou spotless and serene. And that is why it may cover thy awful white light
with its pathetic shadows.
The same stream
of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and
dances in rhythmic measures.
It is the same
life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of
grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.
It is the same
life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in
I feel my limbs
are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the
life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.
Is it beyond thee
to be glad with the gladness of this rhythm? to be tossed and lost and broken
in the whirl of this fearful joy?
All things rush
on, they stop not, they look not behind, no power can hold them back, they rush
with that restless, rapid music, seasons come dancing and pass away---colours,
tunes, and perfumes pour in endless cascades in the abounding joy that scatters
and gives up and dies every moment.
That I should
make much of myself and turn it on all sides, thus casting coloured shadows
on thy radiance---such is thy maya.
Thou settest a
barrier in thine own being and then callest thy severed self in myriad notes.
This thy self-separation has taken body in me.
The poignant song
is echoed through all the sky in many-coloured tears and smiles, alarms and
hopes; waves rise up and sink again, dreams break and form. In me is thy own
defeat of self.
This screen that
thou hast raised is painted with innumerable figures with the brush of the night
and the day. Behind it thy seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, casting
away all barren lines of straightness.
The great pageant
of thee and me has overspread the sky. With the tune of thee and me all the
air is vibrant, and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me.
He it is, the
innermost one, who awakens my being with his deep hidden touches.
He it is who puts
his enchantment upon these eyes and joyfully plays on the chords of my heart
in varied cadence of pleasure and pain.
He it is who weaves
the web of this maya in evanescent hues of gold and silver, blue and
green, and lets peep out through the folds his feet, at whose touch I forget
Days come and
ages pass, and it is ever he who moves my heart in many a name, in many a guise,
in many a rapture of joy and of sorrow.
not for me in renunciation. I feel the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds
Thou ever pourest
for me the fresh draught of thy wine of various colours and fragrance, filling
this earthen vessel to the brim.
My world will
light its hundred different lamps with thy flame and place them before the altar
of thy temple.
No, I will never
shut the doors of my senses. The delights of sight and hearing and touch will
bear thy delight.
Yes, all my illusions
will burn into illumination of joy, and all my desires ripen into fruits of
The day is no
more, the shadow is upon the earth. It is time that I go to the stream to fill
The evening air
is eager with the sad music of the water. Ah, it calls me out into the dusk.
In the lonely lane there is no passer-by, the wind is up, the ripples are rampant
in the river.
I know not if
I shall come back home. I know not whom I shall chance to meet. There at the
fording in the little boat the unknown man plays upon his lute.
Thy gifts to us
mortals fulfil all our needs and yet run back to thee undiminished.
The river has
its everyday work to do and hastens through fields and hamlets; yet its incessant
stream winds towards the washing of thy feet.
The flower sweetens
the air with its perfume; yet its last service is to offer itself to thee.
Thy worship does
not impoverish the world.
From the words
of the poet men take what meanings please them; yet their last meaning points
Day after day,
O lord of my life, shall I stand before thee face to face. With folded hands,
O lord of all worlds, shall I stand before thee face to face.
Under thy great
sky in solitude and silence, with humble heart shall I stand before thee face
In this laborious
world of thine, tumultuous with toil and with struggle, among hurrying crowds
shall I stand before thee face to face.
And when my work
shall be done in this world, O King of kings, alone and speechless shall I stand
before thee face to face.
I know thee as
my God and stand apart---I do not know thee as my own and come closer. I know
thee as my father and bow before thy feet---I do not grasp thy hand as my friend's.
I stand not where
thou comest down and ownest thyself as mine, there to clasp thee to my heart
and take thee as my comrade.
Thou art the Brother
amongst my brothers, but I heed them not, I divide not my earnings with them,
thus sharing my all with thee.
In pleasure and
in pain I stand not by the side of men, and thus stand by thee. I shrink to
give up my life, and thus do not plunge into the great waters of life.
When the creation
was new and all the stars shone in their first splendour, the gods held their
assembly in the sky and sang `Oh, the picture of perfection! the joy unalloyed!'
But one cried
of a sudden---`It seems that somewhere there is a break in the chain of light
and one of the stars has been lost.'
The golden string
of their harp snapped, their song stopped, and they cried in dismay---`Yes,
that lost star was the best, she was the glory of all heavens!'
From that day
the search is unceasing for her, and the cry goes on from one to the other that
in her the world has lost its one joy!
Only in the deepest
silence of night the stars smile and whisper among themselves---`Vain is this
seeking! unbroken perfection is over all!'
If it is not my
portion to meet thee in this life then let me ever feel that I have missed thy
sight---let me not forget for a moment, let me carry the pangs of this sorrow
in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.
As my days pass
in the crowded market of this world and my hands grow full with the daily profits,
let me ever feel that I have gained nothing---let me not forget for a moment,
let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.
When I sit by
the roadside, tired and panting, when I spread my bed low in the dust, let me
ever feel that the long journey is still before me---let me not forget a moment,
let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful hours.
When my rooms
have been decked out and the flutes sound and the laughter there is loud, let
me ever feel that I have not invited thee to my house---let me not forget for
a moment, let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams and in my wakeful
I am like a remnant
of a cloud of autumn uselessly roaming in the sky, O my sun ever-glorious! Thy
touch has not yet melted my vapour, making me one with thy light, and thus I
count months and years separated from thee.
If this be thy
wish and if this be thy play, then take this fleeting emptiness of mine, paint
it with colours, gild it with gold, float it on the wanton wind and spread it
in varied wonders.
And again when
it shall be thy wish to end this play at night, I shall melt and vanish away
in the dark, or it may be in a smile of the white morning, in a coolness of
On many an idle
day have I grieved over lost time. But it is never lost, my lord. Thou hast
taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.
Hidden in the
heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts, buds into blossoms,
and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.
I was tired and
sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had ceased. In the morning I woke
up and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.
Time is endless
in thy hands, my lord. There is none to count thy minutes.
Days and nights
pass and ages bloom and fade like flowers. Thou knowest how to wait.
follow each other perfecting a small wild flower.
We have no time
to lose, and having no time we must scramble for a chances. We are too poor
to be late.
And thus it is
that time goes by while I give it to every querulous man who claims it, and
thine altar is empty of all offerings to the last.
At the end of
the day I hasten in fear lest thy gate to be shut; but I find that yet there
Mother, I shall
weave a chain of pearls for thy neck with my tears of sorrow.
The stars have
wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet, but mine will hang upon thy
Wealth and fame
come from thee and it is for thee to give or to withhold them. But this my sorrow
is absolutely mine own, and when I bring it to thee as my offering thou rewardest
me with thy grace.
It is the pang
of separation that spreads throughout the world and gives birth to shapes innumerable
in the infinite sky.
It is this sorrow
of separation that gazes in silence all nights from star to star and becomes
lyric among rustling leaves in rainy darkness of July.
It is this overspreading
pain that deepens into loves and desires, into sufferings and joy in human homes;
and this it is that ever melts and flows in songs through my poet's heart.
When the warriors
came out first from their master's hall, where had they hid their power? Where
were their armour and their arms?
They looked poor
and helpless, and the arrows were showered upon them on the day they came out
from their master's hall.
When the warriors
marched back again to their master's hall where did they hide their power?
They had dropped
the sword and dropped the bow and the arrow; peace was on their foreheads, and
they had left the fruits of their life behind them on the day they marched back
again to their master's hall.
Death, thy servant,
is at my door. He has crossed the unknown sea and brought thy call to my home.
The night is dark
and my heart is fearful---yet I will take up the lamp, open my gates and bow
to him my welcome. It is thy messenger who stands at my door.
I will worship
him placing at his feet the treasure of my heart.
He will go back
with his errand done, leaving a dark shadow on my morning; and in my desolate
home only my forlorn self will remain as my last offering to thee.
In desperate hope
I go and search for her in all the corners of my room; I find her not.
My house is small
and what once has gone from it can never be regained.
But infinite is
thy mansion, my lord, and seeking her I have to come to thy door.
I stand under
the golden canopy of thine evening sky and I lift my eager eyes to thy face.
I have come to
the brink of eternity from which nothing can vanish---no hope, no happiness,
no vision of a face seen through tears.
Oh, dip my emptied
life into that ocean, plunge it into the deepest fullness. Let me for once feel
that lost sweet touch in the allness of the universe.
Deity of the ruined
temple! The broken strings of Vina sing no more your praise. The bells
in the evening proclaim not your time of worship. The air is still and silent
In your desolate
dwelling comes the vagrant spring breeze. It brings the tidings of flowers---the
flowers that for your worship are offered no more.
of old wanders ever longing for favour still refused. In the eventide, when
fires and shadows mingle with the gloom of dust, he wearily comes back to the
ruined temple with hunger in his heart.
Many a festival
day comes to you in silence, deity of the ruined temple. Many a night of worship
goes away with lamp unlit.
Many new images
are built by masters of cunning art and carried to the holy stream of oblivion
when their time is come.
Only the deity
of the ruined temple remains unworshipped in deathless neglect.
No more noisy,
loud words from me---such is my master's will. Henceforth I deal in whispers.
The speech of my heart will be carried on in murmurings of a song.
Men hasten to
the King's market. All the buyers and sellers are there. But I have my untimely
leave in the middle of the day, in the thick of work.
Let then the flowers
come out in my garden, though it is not their time; and let the midday bees
strike up their lazy hum.
Full many an hour
have I spent in the strife of the good and the evil, but now it is the pleasure
of my playmate of the empty days to draw my heart on to him; and I know not
why is this sudden call to what useless inconsequence!
On the day when
death will knock at thy door what wilt thou offer to him?
Oh, I will set
before my guest the full vessel of my life---I will never let him go with empty
All the sweet
vintage of all my autumn days and summer nights, all the earnings and gleanings
of my busy life will I place before him at the close of my days when death will
knock at my door.
O thou the last
fulfilment of life, Death, my death, come and whisper to me!
Day after day
I have kept watch for thee; for thee have I borne the joys and pangs of life.
All that I am,
that I have, that I hope and all my love have ever flowed towards thee in depth
of secrecy. One final glance from thine eyes and my life will be ever thine
The flowers have
been woven and the garland is ready for the bridegroom. After the wedding the
bride shall leave her home and meet her lord alone in the solitude of night.
I know that the
day will come when my sight of this earth shall be lost, and life will take
its leave in silence, drawing the last curtain over my eyes.
Yet stars will
watch at night, and morning rise as before, and hours heave like sea waves casting
up pleasures and pains.
When I think of
this end of my moments, the barrier of the moments breaks and I see by the light
of death thy world with its careless treasures. Rare is its lowliest seat, rare
is its meanest of lives.
Things that I
longed for in vain and things that I got---let them pass. Let me but truly possess
the things that I ever spurned and overlooked.
I have got my
leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all and take my departure.
Here I give back
the keys of my door---and I give up all claims to my house. I only ask for last
kind words from you.
We were neighbours
for long, but I received more than I could give. Now the day has dawned and
the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. A summons has come and I am ready for
At this time of
my parting, wish me good luck, my friends! The sky is flushed with the dawn
and my path lies beautiful.
Ask not what I
have with me to take there. I start on my journey with empty hands and expectant
I shall put on
my wedding garland. Mine is not the red-brown dress of the traveller, and though
there are dangers on the way I have no fear in mind.
The evening star
will come out when my voyage is done and the plaintive notes of the twilight
melodies be struck up from the King's gateway.
I was not aware
of the moment when I first crossed the threshold of this life.
What was the power
that made me open out into this vast mystery like a bud in the forest at midnight!
When in the morning
I looked upon the light I felt in a moment that I was no stranger in this world,
that the inscrutable without name and form had taken me in its arms in the form
of my own mother.
Even so, in death
the same unknown will appear as ever known to me. And because I love this life,
I know I shall love death as well.
The child cries
out when from the right breast the mother takes it away, in the very next moment
to find in the left one its consolation.
When I go from
hence let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.
I have tasted
of the hidden honey of this lotus that expands on the ocean of light, and thus
am I blessed---let this be my parting word.
In this playhouse
of infinite forms I have had my play and here have I caught sight of him that
My whole body
and my limbs have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch; and if the end
comes here, let it come---let this be my parting word.
When my play was
with thee I never questioned who thou wert. I knew nor shyness nor fear, my
life was boisterous.
In the early morning
thou wouldst call me from my sleep like my own comrade and lead me running from
glade to glade.
On those days
I never cared to know the meaning of songs thou sangest to me. Only my voice
took up the tunes, and my heart danced in their cadence.
Now, when the
playtime is over, what is this sudden sight that is come upon me? The world
with eyes bent upon thy feet stands in awe with all its silent stars.
I will deck thee
with trophies, garlands of my defeat. It is never in my power to escape unconquered.
I surely know
my pride will go to the wall, my life will burst its bonds in exceeding pain,
and my empty heart will sob out in music like a hollow reed, and the stone will
melt in tears.
I surely know
the hundred petals of a lotus will not remain closed for ever and the secret
recess of its honey will be bared.
From the blue
sky an eye shall gaze upon me and summon me in silence. Nothing will be left
for me, nothing whatever, and utter death shall I receive at thy feet.
When I give up
the helm I know that the time has come for thee to take it. What there is to
do will be instantly done. Vain is this struggle.
Then take away
your hands and silently put up with your defeat, my heart, and think it your
good fortune to sit perfectly still where you are placed.
These my lamps
are blown out at every little puff of wind, and trying to light them I forget
all else again and again.
But I shall be
wise this time and wait in the dark, spreading my mat on the floor; and whenever
it is thy pleasure, my lord, come silently and take thy seat here.
I dive down into
the depth of the ocean of forms, hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.
No more sailing
from harbour to harbour with this my weather-beaten boat. The days are long
passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.
And now I am eager
to die into the deathless.
Into the audience
hall by the fathomless abyss where swells up the music of toneless strings I
shall take this harp of my life.
I shall tune it
to the notes of forever, and when it has sobbed out its last utterance, lay
down my silent harp at the feet of the silent.
Ever in my life
have I sought thee with my songs. It was they who led me from door to door,
and with them have I felt about me, searching and touching my world.
It was my songs
that taught me all the lessons I ever learnt; they showed me secret paths, they
brought before my sight many a star on the horizon of my heart.
They guided me
all the day long to the mysteries of the country of pleasure and pain, and,
at last, to what palace gate have the brought me in the evening at the end of
I boasted among
men that I had known you. They see your pictures in all works of mine. They
come and ask me, `Who is he?' I know not how to answer them. I say, `Indeed,
I cannot tell.' They blame me and they go away in scorn. And you sit there smiling.
I put my tales
of you into lasting songs. The secret gushes out from my heart. They come and
ask me, `Tell me all your meanings.' I know not how to answer them. I say, `Ah,
who knows what they mean!' They smile and go away in utter scorn. And you sit
In one salutation
to thee, my God, let all my senses spread out and touch this world at thy feet.
Like a rain-cloud
of July hung low with its burden of unshed showers let all my mind bend down
at thy door in one salutation to thee.
Let all my songs
gather together their diverse strains into a single current and flow to a sea
of silence in one salutation to thee.
Like a flock of
homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountain nests let all my
life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to thee.