Treasure Island

Rabindranath Tagore

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

The Further Bank

I long to go over there to the further bank of the river.
Where those boats are tied to the bamboo poles in a line;
Where men cross over in their boats in the morning with
ploughs on their shoulders to till their far-away fields;
Where the cowherds make their lowing cattle swim across to the
riverside pasture;
Whence they all come back home in the evening, leaving the
jackals to howl in the island overgrown with weeds.
Mother, if you don't mind, I should like to become the boatman
of the ferry when I am grown up.
They say there are strange pools hidden behind that high bank.
Where flocks of wild ducks come when the rains are over, and
thick reeds grow round the margins where water-birds lay their
Where snipes with their dancing tails stamp their tiny
footprints upon the clean soft mud;
Where in the evening the tall grasses crested with while
flowers invite the moonbeam to float upon their waves.
Mother, if you don't mind, I should like to become the boatman
of the ferryboat when I am grown up.
I shall cross and cross back from bank to bank, and all the
boys and girls of the village will wonder at me while they are
When the sun climbs the mid sky and morning wears on to noon,
I shall come running to you, saying, "Mother, I am hungry."
When the day is done and the shadows cower under the trees,
I shall come back in the dust.
I shall never go away from you into the town to work like
Mother, if you don't mind, I should like to become the boatman
of the ferryboat when I am grown up.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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