Leaving the calm sea agitated in its wake
The boat sails west
Kissed by light
The blue waters glimmer
In the horizon
The sun prepares to set
The romance of the dying day
Is caught in the mesh of clouds
Above in the sky can be seen
The waning moon –
It smiles like a self-unaware naked child.
The wind blows gently
Like the sad sigh
Of a lonely afternoon soul.
On the canvas of vast space
What god, tired of heavenly delight,
In his plaintive flute
Captures this pageant!
In a moment it will disappear
Erased by the darkness of listless night.
Such colourful games played in the sky
By light and shadows
Go on forever in our life as well
Like passing pageants
Dressed in various colours of our joys and sorrows
They are momentary mirages
Lost at last in the trackless plain
Of all-effacing stalking time.
The day ends, the sun also sets
And through ages
So many colourful pictures are thus lost
O ye poet
Putting this breath of death into your flute
Do you want to keep them alive in your songs?
Transcreation of the poem – Chhabi – from the collection Purabi by Rabindranath Tagore. It was composed on board the ship Haruna-maru on 2nd October, 1924 on its way to Buenos Aires.