Rabindranath Tagore

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

Prisoner Poem by Rabindranath Tagore


`Prisoner, tell 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.'

`Prisoner, tell 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.'

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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