He came to me and said, ‘My darling,
Raise your eyes and look at me.’
Being angry I scolded him and told,
‘Get out please.’
I am telling you the truth, my friend,
Even after this he didn’t leave.
When he stood blocking my way
I told, ‘Please step aside.’
Instead he caught hold of my hand
And I told him, ‘What are you doing?’
My friend, I won’t tell you a lie,
Still he didn’t listen.
Without any reason
He brought his face near my ears
‘Fie, fie on you’, I said frowning.
My friend, even then he didn’t leave.
With his lips he touched my forehead
I told shivering,
‘Never have I seen such a thing.’
He seems to have lost his reason
For still he didn’t leave.
Then he gave me his garland
I told him, ‘This I don’t need.’
I knew such request was useless
Because he has no shame.
Finally snatching away my garland he left
In amazement I only looked on.
Now my eyes are full of tears
Can you tell me, my friend,
Why didn’t he come back?
Translation of the poem Spardha from the collection Kalpana by Rabindranath Tagore. It is a funny light verse on the theme of aggressive courting. The poet used it often as a song in his comic dramas and was sung like a ‘kirtan’ – a type of Bengali folk song usually on devotional themes. View the original poem in Bengali script at