Literary Shelf

The Song That I Came to Sing: Tagore

The song that I came to sing remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing and in unstringing my instrument.
The time has not come true, the words have not been rightly set;
    only there is the agony of wishing in my heart.
The blossom has not opened; only the wind is sighing by.
I have not seen his face, nor have I listened to his voice;
    only I have heard his gentle footsteps from the road before my house.
The livelong day has passed in spreading his seat on the floor;
    but the lamp has not been lit and I cannot ask him into my house.
I live in the hope of meeting with him; but this meeting is not yet.

We are not sure of how the stanzas and the gaps in between the lines and this one can say it only after seeing the manuscript. How the lining of the poem? Is the poem as per the stanza pattern of the poet or the editor? Perhaps it is a poem of a single run-on stanza but with shifts and breaks telling of theme and content or maybe it with some more. A prose-poem, it has a pattern and continuity of own. This is true with regard  to all the poems included in Gitanjali.

The song he came to sing has not been as the whole time has spent in setting and unsetting the words to music as for a melodious tuning with the accompaniment. But why is it so that it breaks not the tuning, the melody aligning with the song-note, the song with the music? Apart from the futile attempts, the tuning matches it not marring the sing-song mood. He fails to do the same and does not know what it lets it to be not. Is it his sadder mood? Or his understanding of futility? What is it the cause of his dejection or vexation, futility or failure? The poem reminds us of The Last Ride Together in which the lover talks of his resignation in terms of the gap in the volume of the done and the undone.

What is the reason? Is it a realization of mortal aspirations? Or one does not like to sing all the time?  Perhaps the appropriate time has not come, the appropriate accompaniment is not in tuning with. The heart is lost in waiting for someone who has not turned up. What is that? Can a mortal singer sing the Songs Divine?

Is it the waiting for the Divine Tune? For whom to sing? How the inspiration? How the words? How the notes breaking? It is taking time in breaking.

The whole day spent it. But the music has not been set. The tune has not broken. Melodies come to not so easily.

We do not know if the script is new or not. Has the practice been done for or not? Why is it not tuning? What is that which engaged his space? Why does he not want to sing? Only there is wish in the heart.

The day changes into the nighttime. He has not seen his face. He has not heard his voice. Only he can hear the footfall passing by.

The blossom has not opened. Only the wind keeps it sighing by.

The lamp has not been lit. He lies in the hope of meeting, but the meeting is not in his lot.

There are so many things in the poem. In the past when the world used to be vast and our space little, we used to see the vast landscapes with the wide eyes open. The coming of the strange guests without any information used to take us by surprise as there was not the telephone facility available to all. At that time, we used to receive the guest with warm welcome. The other image may be of a beloved waiting for her lover to come and take her away. Marriages used to be arranged through matchmakers. Boys and girls were not allowed to see each other’s face till the marriage is culminated. But the classical Bhakti Age poets improvise it for their tryst with the Divine. The other thing is this that the meeting is not in the lot of all if it is so yearned from within. It is a matter of fate and luck.

The poem is about the agony of the heart. The heart wants to sing, but words come to not.

The picture of a shy mistress can be imagined through it as Sarojini Naidu discusses the bride in the palanquin and Marvell the coy mistress. Mira’s picture dances before the eyes. How hard were our social taboos! How were our social nomenclature and protocol!


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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