The Gardener, by Rabindranath Tagore (excerpt)

February 12, 2008, [MD]


‘Ah, Poet, the evening draws near; your hair is turning gray.\ ‘Do you in your lonely musing hear the message of the hereafter?’\ ‘It is evening,’ the poet said, ‘and I am listening because some one may call from the village, late though it be.\ ‘I watch if young straying hearts meet together, and two pairs of eager eyes beg for music to break their silence and speak for them.\ ‘Who is there to weave their passionate songs, if I sit on the shore of life and contemplate death and the beyond?

‘The early evening star disappears.\ ‘The glow of the funeral pyre slowly dies by the silent river.\ ‘Jackals cry in chorus from the courtyard of the deserted house in the light of the worn-out moon.\ ‘If some wanderer, leaving home, come here to watch the night and with bowed head listen to the murmur of the darkness, who is there to whisper the secrets of life into his ears if I, shutting my doors, should try to free myself from mortal bonds?

‘It is trifle that my hair is turning gray.\ ‘I am ever as young or as old as the youngest and the oldest of this village.\ ‘Some have smiles, sweet and simple, and some have a sly twinkle in their eyes.\ ‘Some have tears that well up in the daylight, and others tears that are hidden in the gloom.\ ‘They all have need for me, and I have no time to brood over the afterlife.\ ‘I am of an age with each, what matter if my hair turns gray?’

(thanks to Wikipedia for the image, full text of Rabindranath Tagore’s “The Gardener” at Wikisource).

Stian Håklev February 12, 2008 Toronto, Canada
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