Rabindranath Tagore

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

Ungrateful Sorrow


At dawn shey(1) departed
My mind tried to console me -
' Everything is Maya(2)'.
Angrily I replied:
'Here's this sewing box on the table,
that flower-pot on the terrace,
this monogrammed hand-fan on the bed---
all these are real.'

My mind said: 'Yet, think again.'
I rejoined: ' You better stop.
Look at this storybook,
the hairpin halfway amongst its leaves,
signaling the rest is unread;
if all these things are 'Maya',
then why should 'shey' be more unreal?'

My mind becomes silent.
A friend arrived and says:
'That which is good is real
it is never non-existent;
entire world preserves and cherishes it its chest
like a precious jewel in a necklace.'

I replied in anger: 'How do you know?
Is a body not good? Where did that body go?'

Like a small boy in a rage hitting his mother,
I began to strike at everything in this world
that gave me shelter.
And I screamed:' The world is treacherous.'

Suddenly, I was startled.
It seemed like someone admonished me :' You- ungrateful ! '

I looked at the crescent moon
hidden behind the tamarisk tree outside my window.
As if the dear departed one is smiling
and playing hide-and-seek with me.

From the depth of darkness punctuated by scattered stars
came a rebuke: 'when I let you grasp me you call it an deception,
and yet when I remain concealed,
why do you hold on to your faith in me with such conviction?'

Submitted: Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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