Rabindranath Tagore

(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941 / Calcutta (Kolkata), Bengal Presidency / British India)

Hard Times


Music is silenced, the dark descending slowly
Has stripped unending skies of all companions.
Weariness grips your limbs and within the locked horizons
Dumbly ring the bells of hugely gathering fears.
Still, O bird, O sightless bird,
Not yet, not yet the time to furl your wings.


It's not melodious woodlands but the leaps and falls
Of an ocean's drowsy booming,
Not a grove bedecked with flowers but a tumult flecked with foam.
Where is the shore that stored your buds and leaves?
Where the nest and the branch's hold?
Still, O bird, my sightless bird,
Not yet, not yet the time to furl your wings.

Stretching in front of you the night's immensity
Hides the western hill where sleeps the distant sun;
Still with bated breath the world is counting time and swimming
Across the shoreless dark a crescent moon
Has thinly just appeared upon the dim horizon.
-But O my bird, O sightless bird,
Not yet, not yet the time to furl your wings.


From upper skies the stars with pointing fingers
Intently watch your course and death's impatience
Lashes at you from the deeps in swirling waves;
And sad entreaties line the farthest shore
With hands outstretched and crooning 'Come, O come!'
Still, O bird, O sightless bird,
Not yet, not yet the time to furl your wings.


All that is past: your fears and loves and hopes;
All that is lost: your words and lamentation;
No longer yours a home nor a bed composed of flowers.
For wings are all you have, and the sky's broadening countryard,
And the dawn steeped in darkness, lacking all direction.
Dear bird, my sightless bird,
Not yet, not yet the time to furl your wings!

Submitted: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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  • Monica Choudhury (11/23/2013 7:01:00 AM)

    I loved the poem in its original bengali version ever since I can remember.

    This is a wonderful translation (Report) Reply

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