Rabindranath Tagore

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

The Gardener XLII: O Mad, Superbly Drunk


O mad, superbly drunk;
If you kick open your doors and
play the fool in public;
If you empty your bag in a night,
and snap your fingers at prudence;
If you walk in curious paths and
play with useless things;
Reck not rhyme or reason;
If unfurling your sails before the
storm you snap the rudder in two,
Then I will follow you, comrade,
and be drunken and go to the dogs.
I have wasted my days and nights
in the company of steady wise neighbours.
Much knowing has turned my hair
grey, and much watching has made
my sight dim.
For years I have gathered and
heaped up scraps and fragments of
things:
Crush them and dance upon them,
and scatter them all to the winds.
For I know 'tis the height of wisdom
to be drunken and go the dogs.
Let all crooked scruples vanish,
let me hopelessly lose my way.
Let a gust of wild giddiness come
and sweep me away from my anchors.
The world is peopled with worthies,
and workers, useful and clever.
There are men who are easily first,
and men who come decently after.
Let them be happy and prosper,
and let me be foolishly futile.
For I know 'tis the end of all works
to be drunken and go to the dogs.
I swear to surrender this moment
all claims to the ranks of the decent.
I let go my pride of learning and
judgment of right and of wrong.
I'll shatter memory's vessel, scattering
the last drop of tears.
With the foam of the berry-red
wine I will bathe and brighten my
laughter.
The badge of the civil and staid
I'll tear into shreds for the nonce.
I'll take the holy vow to be worthless,
to be drunken and go to the dogs.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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