Vacantly looking at the distance
My mind drifts along the flow of idle time
In the great void I visualize
A pageant of shadowy images slides.
For ages in the far away past
In proud victorious march
Multitudes of men passed.
With imperial ambitions came the Pathans
Then came the Mughals;
Raising a lot of dust
These victors raised their victorious flags.
Leaving no trace
All of them have now disappeared.
The vast blue sky is serene as ever
In the morning and evening
It is lighted as usual by the sun.
Along the same way, along iron tracks
Powered by new skills
The powerful English have come
They have established their hegemony far and wide.
I know they cannot escape the sweep of time
One day the network of their vast empire
Will also be swept away
Its maritime wealth and power too will disappear.
On the vast canvas of time
No trace will they leave.
When at this earthly world I look
I see through ages
Impelled by their daily needs
And murmuring like a cascading stream
Men pass along various ways
In various groups;
They die and are born.
For immemorial time
They are plying their boats
They are sowing their fields
And they are reaping their crops.
They toil in villages and towns.
The war drums become silent
The legends of victory towers are lost
The blood thirsty arrogant warriors
With their blood-stained swords
Find their place
In children’s story books.
The toiling masses toil everywhere –
At the waterfronts and harbours
Of Anga, Banga and Kalinga;
In Punjab, Bombay and Gujrat.
With the humming sound of thriving life
The days and nights are filled
The joys and sorrows of men resound
In the grand symphony of life.
And on the dusts and debris
Of dead kingdoms and empires
Translation of poem 10 from the collection Arogya (Convalescence) by Rabindranath Tagore. A few months before his death this famous poem the poet wrote at Udayan (Santiniketan) in the morning of 13th February, 1941. The original poem is at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/13657