At times I wonder
Why do we draw our memories into pictures
Why do we collect in words
Whatever leaves an impression on our mind?
This demand of life
Is sheer childishness
In this attempt to cheat death of its victory
It finds some pleasure
In a yarning to win
In the game life plays with death
By the magic of imagination
It conjures up things
All forms disintegrate in the flow of time
With shadows life builds their duplicates
And proclaims before leaving,
‘Here I stay.’
It doesn’t care
If death disputes this claim.
I know I am bound
In the mesh of momentary existence
But I shall deem it my survival
Even if I don’t know, but if others know
My fancy’s creation
Survives in space and time.
Translation of the poem Bhumika (Introduction) from the collection Akashpradip by Rabindranath Tagore. It was written at Santiniketan on 16th March, 1939 when the poet was 79.