Tagore Poems | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, August 11, 2019

Tagore Poems

Krishnakali

 

I call her Krishnokoli, my dark blossom,

Though villagers call her the dark girl.

On a cloudy day I saw her in the field

Saw the dark girl with doe-black eyes!

Her veil had fallen and her head was bare.

Her tresses were swinging over her nape.

Dark? No matter how dark she was to all,

I was in her lovely doe-black eye’s thrall

 

Thick clouds had made darkness descend.

Her dappled cows lowed in dismay.

Perplexed, my dark beauty

Rushed out from her hut anxiously.

Casting eyebrows intently at the sky,

She heard the thunder rumbling.

Dark? No matter how dark she was to all,

I was in her lovely doe-black eye’s thrall

 

Suddenly, the wind swept in from the east.

The paddy lilted playfully in the breeze.

Standing by myself in a side of the aisle,

I saw only her in the middle of the field.

Whether we exchanged glances then,

I guess none will ever know but us.

Dark? No matter how dark she was to all,

I was in her lovely doe-black eye’s thrall

 

And so always and ever moist dark clouds

Sweep in from the northeast during summer.

And so always and ever dark soft shadows

Tell of the monsoon settling in tamal woods.

And thus it is during late monsoon nights

In a flash her face lights up for me.

Dark? No matter how dark she was to all,

I was in her lovely doe-black eye’s thrall

 

I call her Krishnakali, my dark blossom.

Let others call her what they will!

I had seen her in Mainapara’s field

Had seen the dark girl’s doe-black eyes.

She hadn’t rolled her veil over her head.

Hadn’t got the time to feel embarrassed!

Dark? No matter how dark she was to all,

I was in her lovely doe-black eye’s thrall

 

1 Krishna is of course divine, an incarnation of the divine sage Narayana; the word is also used to refer to someone with a dark complexion; however, “krishnakali” is also a flower-plant and also its flower, dark in hue.

 

The Day of Parting

(Jabar Din)



On the day of parting

I’d like to declare

What I saw or got

Is beyond compare.

Having drunk the honey

Of the lotus glowing

On the ocean of light

I feel blessed—

Even on the day of parting

This is what I’ll write:

In the play of infinite forms

I sported endlessly

And beheld the Formless one

With wide-open eyes.

The One beyond touch

Touched my whole body,

If this is his end for me

Then let it be so—

On the day of leave taking

This is what I’d like all to know.

 

Tobu Mone Rekho

 

And yet remember me when I have gone far away

And even if your former love has been covered up by a new one’s net.

                Remember me if I am still living somewhere close by

And you can’t figure out what you see is a shadow or really me

Yet remember me!

                Remember me if one day tears well up in your eyes

And if all play suddenly stops in what had been till then a honeyed night

Yet remember me!

                Remember me if on some autumnal dawn your work hits a snag

And it occurs to you, you couldn’t go on because you had thought of me.

Remember me even if your eyes didn’t moisten when thinking of me

                                                                                Yet remember me!

 

O Je Maane Na Mana

 

With him, “no” will never do.

The moment I take my eyes away, he says, “No, no, no!”

The more I say, “Night’s ending and the light dimming

                He looks at my face, saying, “No, no, no!”

                Depressed, and overwhelmed by the crazy wind,

                Spring seems to wail in the flower garden

The more I say to him, “Time now; you must be going

                He stands in the door, saying, “No, no, no!”

Premero Phad Pata Bhubone

 

In a world filled with traps set up by Love

Who knows where one might get ensnared?

Pride, alas, is then imperceptibly crushed

Tears then will stream down one’s eyes!

In this vale of bliss, all you do is take and take

But don’t you know you must give yourself as well?

Leaving bliss in the shade, you’ll abruptly disappear

Bearing your self-inflicted agony with you forever;

But when Love’s flute plays, pride ebbs away,

Leaving one’s heart totally spellbound!

 

Fakrul Alam is a Bangladeshi academic, scholar and translator. He is also the UGC Professor, Department of English, Dhaka University. 

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