The Kiss – Rabindranath Tagore

Lips’ language to lips’ ears.
Two drinking each other’s heart, it seems.
Two roving loves who have left home,
pilgrims to the confluence of lips.
Two waves rise by the law of love
to break and die on two sets of lips.
Two wild desires craving each other
meet at last at the body’s limits.
Love’s writing a song in dainty letters,
layers of kiss-calligraphy on lips.
Plucking flowers from two sets of lips
perhaps to thread them into a chain later.
This sweet union of lips
is the red marriage-bed of a pair of smiles. 

Sleep – Rabindranath Tagore

In the night of weariness 
let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, 
resting my trust upon thee. 

Let me not force my flagging spirit into a poor preparation for thy worship. 

It is thou who drawest the veil of night upon the tired eyes of the day 
to renew its sight in a fresher gladness of awakening. 

Senses – Rabindranath Tagore

Deliverance is not for me in renunciation. 

I feel the embrace of freedom in a thousand bonds of delight. 
Thou ever pourest for me the fresh draught of thy wine of various 

colours and fragrance, filling this earthen vessel to the brim. 
My world will light its hundred different lamps with thy flame 

and place them before the altar of thy temple. 
No, I will never shut the doors of my senses. 

The delights of sight and hearing and touch will bear thy delight. 
Yes, all my illusions will burn into illumination of joy, 

and all my desires ripen into fruits of love. 

Still Heart – Rabindranath Tagore

When I give up the helm 

I know that the time has come for thee to take it. 

What there is to do will be instantly done. 

Vain is this struggle. 
Then take away your hands 

and silently put up with your defeat, my heart, 

and think it your good fortune to sit perfectly still 

where you are placed. 
These my lamps are blown out at every little puff of wind, 

and trying to light them I forget all else again and again.
But I shall be wise this time and wait in the dark, 

spreading my mat on the floor; 

and whenever it is thy pleasure, my lord, 

come silently and take thy seat here.

Paper Boats – Rabindranath Tagore

Day by day I float my paper boats one by one down the running 

stream. 

In bid black letters I write my name on them and the name of 

the village where I live. 

I hope that someone in some strange land will find them and 

know who I am. 

I load my little boats with shiuli flower from our garden, and 

hope that these blooms of the dawn will be carried safely to land 

in the night. 

I launch my paper boats and look up into the sky and see the 

little clouds setting thee white bulging sails. 

I know not what playmate of mine in the sky sends them down 

the air to race with my boats! 

When night comes I bury my face in my arms and dream that my 

paper boats float on and on under the midnight stars. 

The fairies of sleep are sailing in them, and the lading ins 

their baskets full of dreams.

Poems On Man – Rabindranath Tagore

Man goes into the noisy crowd 

to drown his own clamour of silence. 
Man is immortal; therefore he must die endlessly. 

For life is a creative idea; 

it can only find itself in changing forms. 
Man’s abiding happiness is not in getting anything 

but in giving himself up to what is greater than himself, 

to ideas which are larger than his individual life, 

the idea of his country, 

of humanity, 

of God.

Poems On Life – Rabindranath Tagore

Life is given to us, 

we earn it by giving it. 
Let the dead have the immortality of fame, 

but the living the immortality of love. 
Life’s errors cry for the merciful beauty 

that can modulate their isolation into a 

harmony with the whole. 
Life, like a child, laughs, 

shaking its rattle of death as it runs.

My Friend – Rabindranath Tagore

Art thou abroad on this stormy night 

on thy journey of love, my friend? 

The sky groans like one in despair. 
I have no sleep tonight. 

Ever and again I open my door and look out on 

the darkness, my friend! 
I can see nothing before me. 

I wonder where lies thy path! 
By what dim shore of the ink-black river, 

by what far edge of the frowning forest, 

through what mazy depth of gloom art thou threading 

thy course to come to me, my friend?

Maya – Rabindranath Tagore

That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, 

thus casting colored shadows on thy radiance 

—such is thy Maya. 
Thou settest a barrier in thine own being 

and then callest thy severed self in myriad notes. 

This thy self-separation has taken body in me. 
The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloued tears 

and smiles, alarms and hopes; waves rise up and sink again, 

dreams break and form. 

In me is thy own defeat of self. 
This screen that thou hast raised is painted with innumerable figures 

with the brush of the night and the day. 

Behind it thy seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, 

casting away all barren lines of straightness. 
The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky. 

With the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant, 

and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me. 

Farewell – Rabindranath Tagore

I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers! 

I bow to you all and take my departure. 
Here I give back the keys of my door 

—and I give up all claims to my house. 

I only ask for last kind words from you. 
We were neighbors for long, 

but I received more than I could give. 

Now the day has dawned 

and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out. 

A summons has come and I am ready for my journey. 

Do Not Go, My Love – Rabindranath Tagore

The Gardener XXXIV:

 Do not go, my love, without asking 

my leave. 

I have watched all night, and now 

my eyes are heavy with sleep. 

I fear lest I lose you when I’m 

sleeping. 

Do not go, my love, without asking 

my leave. 

I start up and stretch my hands to 

touch you. I ask myself, “Is it a 

dream?” 

Could I but entangle your feet with 

my heart and hold them fast to my 

breast! 

Do not go, my love, without asking 

my leave.

Speak To Me My Love – Rabindranath Tagore

The Gardener XXIX:

Speak to me, my love! Tell me in 

words what you sang. 

The night is dark. The stars are 

lost in clouds. The wind is sighing 

through the leaves. 

I will let loose my hair. My blue 

cloak will cling round me like night. I 

will clasp your head to my bosom; and 

there in the sweet loneliness murmur 

on your heart. I will shut my eyes 

and listen. I will not look in your face. 

When your words are ended, we will 

sit still and silent. Only the trees will 

whisper in the dark. 

The night will pale. The day will 

dawn. We shall look at each other’s 

eyes and go on our different paths. 

Speak to me, my love! Tell me in 

words what you sang.

The Further Bank – Rabindranath Tagore

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 

eggs; 

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 

bathing. 

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 

father. 

Mother, if you don’t mind, I should like to become the boatman 

of the ferryboat when I am grown up.

Stray Birds 11- 20 – Rabindranath Tagore

11 

SOME unseen fingers, like idle breeze, 

are playing upon my heart the music of the ripples. 
12 
‘WHAT language is thine, O sea?’ 

‘The language of eternal question.’ 

‘What language is thy answer, O sky? 

‘The language of eternal silence.’ 
13 
LISTEN, 

my heart, 

to the whispers of the world 

with which it makes love to you. 
14 
THE mystery of creation 

is like the darkness of night– 

it is great. 
Delusions of knowledge are like 

the fog of the morning. 
15 
DO not seat your love upon a precipice because it is high. 

16 
I SIT at my window this morning 

where the world like a passer-by stops for a moment, 

nods to me and goes. 
17 
THESE little thoughts are the rustle of leaves; 

they have their whisper of 

joy in my mind. 
18 
WHAT you are you do not see, 

what you see is your shadow. 

19 
MY wishes are fools, they shout across thy songs, my Master. 

Let me but listen. 
20 
I CANNOT choose the best. 

The best chooses me.

Stray Birds 1 – 10 – Rabindranath Tagore


STRAY birds of summer come to my window 

to sing and fly away. 

And yellow leaves of autumn, 

which have no songs, 

flutter and fall there with a sigh. 

O TROUPE of little vagrants of the world, 

leave your footprints in my words. 

THE world puts off its mask of vastness to its lover. 

It becomes small as one song, 

as one kiss of the eternal. 

IT is the tears of the earth 

that keep her smiles in bloom. 

THE mighty desert is burning 

for the love of a blade of grass 

who shakes her head and laughs 

and flies 

away. 

IF you shed tears when you miss the sun, 

you also miss the stars. 

THE sands in your way beg for your song 

and your movement, 

dancing water. 

Will you carry the burden of their lameness? 

HER wistful face haunts my dreams 

like the rain at night. 

ONCE we dreamt that we were strangers. 

We wake up to find that we were dear to each other. 
10 
SORROW is hushed into peace in my heart 

like the evening among the silent trees.

Poem – Poems On Love – Rabindranath Tagore

Love adorns itself; 

it seeks to prove inward joy by outward beauty. 
Love does not claim possession, 

but gives freedom. 
Love is an endless mystery, 

for it has nothing else to explain it. 
Love’s gift cannot be given, 

it waits to be accepted.

Poem – The Kiss – Rabindranath Tagore

Lips’ language to lips’ ears. 

Two drinking each other’s heart, it seems. 

Two roving loves who have left home, 

pilgrims to the confluence of lips. 

Two waves rise by the law of love 

to break and die on two sets of lips. 

Two wild desires craving each other 

meet at last at the body’s limits. 

Love’s writing a song in dainty letters, 

layers of kiss-calligraphy on lips. 

Plucking flowers from two sets of lips 

perhaps to thread them into a chain later. 

This sweet union of lips 

is the red marriage-bed of a pair of smiles.

Poem – Maya – Rabindranath Tagore 

That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, 

thus casting colored shadows on thy radiance 

—such is thy Maya. 
Thou settest a barrier in thine own being 

and then callest thy severed self in myriad notes. 

This thy self-separation has taken body in me. 
The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloued tears 

and smiles, alarms and hopes; waves rise up and sink again, 

dreams break and form. 

In me is thy own defeat of self. 
This screen that thou hast raised is painted with innumerable figures 

with the brush of the night and the day. 

Behind it thy seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, 

casting away all barren lines of straightness. 
The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky. 

With the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant, 

and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me. 

Poem – Lotus – Rabindranath Tagore

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, 

and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded. 
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my 

dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind. 
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to 

me that is was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion. 
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this 

perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

Poems – Chain of Pearls – Rabindranath Tagore 

Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck with my tears of sorrow. 

The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet, 

but mine will hang upon thy breast. 

Wealth and fame come from thee 

and it is for thee to give or to withhold them. 

But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own, 

and when I bring it to thee as my offering 

thou rewardest me with thy grace.

Poems – Baby’s Way  – Rabindranath Tagore 

If baby only wanted to, he could fly up to heaven this moment. It is not for nothing that he does not leave us. 

He loves to rest his head on mother’s bosom, and cannot ever 

bear to lose sight of her. 

Baby know all manner of wise words, though few on earth can 

understand their meaning. 

It is not for nothing that he never wants to speak. 

The one thing he wants is to learn mother’s words from 

mother’s lips. That is why he looks so innocent. 

Baby had a heap of gold and pearls, yet he came like a beggar 

on to this earth. 

It is not for nothing he came in such a disguise. 

This dear little naked mendicant pretends to be utterly 

helpless, so that he may beg for mother’s wealth of love. 

Baby was so free from every tie in the land of the tiny 

crescent moon. 

It was not for nothing he gave up his freedom. 

He knows that there is room for endless joy in mother’s little 

corner of a heart, and it is sweeter far than liberty to be caught 

and pressed in her dear arms. 

Baby never knew how to cry. He dwelt in the land of perfect 

bliss. 

It is not for nothing he has chosen to shed tears. 

Though with the smile of his dear face he draws mother’s 

yearning heart to him, yet his little cries over tiny troubles 

weave the double bond of pity and love.

Poems – Authorship – Rabindranath Tagore 

You say that father write a lot of books, but what he write I don’t understand. 

He was reading to you all the evening, but could you really 

make out what he meant? 

What nice stores, mother, you can tell us! Why can’t father 

write like that, I wonder? 

Did he never hear from his own mother stories of giants and 

fairies and princesses? 

Has he forgotten them all? 

Often when he gets late for his bath you have to and call him 

an hundred times. 

You wait and keep his dishes warm for him, but he goes on 

writing and forgets. 

Father always plays at making books. 

If ever I go to play in father’s room, you come and call me, 

“What a naughty child!” 

If I make the slightest noise you say, “Don’t you see that 

father’s at his work?” 

What’s the fun of always writing and writing? 

When I take up father’s pen or pencil and write upon his book 

just as he does,-a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,-why do you get cross with me 

then, mother? 

You never say a word when father writes. 

When my father wastes such heaps of paper, mother, you don’t 

seem to mind at all. 

But if I take only one sheet to take a boat with, you say,

“Child, how troublesome you are!” 

What do you think of father’s spoiling sheets and sheets of 

paper with black marks all over both sides?

Poems – Maya – Rabindranath Tagore

That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, thus casting colored shadows on thy radiance 

—such is thy Maya. 

Thou settest a barrier in thine own being 

and then callest thy severed self in myriad notes. 

This thy self-separation has taken body in me. 

The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloued tears 

and smiles, alarms and hopes; waves rise up and sink again, 

dreams break and form. 

In me is thy own defeat of self. 

This screen that thou hast raised is painted with innumerable figures 

with the brush of the night and the day. 

Behind it thy seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, 

casting away all barren lines of straightness. 

The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky. 

With the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant, 

and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me. 

Poem – Signet of Eternity – Rabindranath Tagore

The day was when I did not keep myself in readiness for thee;
and entering my heart unbidden even as one of the common crowd,
unknown to me, my king, thou didst press the signet of eternity upon
many a fleeting moment of my life.

And today when by chance I light upon them and see thy signature,
I find they have lain scattered in the dust mixed with the memory of
joys and sorrows of my trivial days forgotten.

Thou didst not turn in contempt from my childish play among dust,
and the steps that I heard in my playroom
are the same that are echoing from star to star.

Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath_Tagore_-_A_Poet_like_no_Other