Theme: Nature

My Companions

I was about seven then
Shy as I was
Talking to myself alone
I spent my time.
Sitting on the floor
Holding the railings with my hands
At the outside world
I used to gaze on.
The sound of hourly gong
Came floating from afar
I also heard
Coachmen shouting
When passing along the road.
The cackling ducks
Used to dive into the pond.
In the nearby mill
Whistles used to blow
At the bend of the lane
In a neighboring house
Often aloud a cockatoo cawed.
There was one pomelo plant
There was one banyan tree
And a pair of coconut palms
They were my companions.
In the sky they were free
I was also free in my mind.
Playing with themselves
With their own shadows
They spent their days
That was also my play
They were perennial children of my age.
On rainy days
The gleeful noise they made
While bathing in the rains
I translated them shouting
In my childish words.

Then when I was about twenty-five
Away from my beloved
At that window I spent my lonely days
In the dying afternoon light
The restless yarning of my youth
Found its harmony
In the rustling of the banyan leaves.
In plaintive tunes
When I hummed my songs
They resonated in the leaves of those coconut palms
Glimmering in the sun.
When in lonely nights
I woke up from my sleep
The pomelo flowers brought to my mind
From inside my room
A tearful message from one
Who anxiously used to wait for me.
In those youthful days
Both in my joys and sorrows
These trees were my intimate friends.

Many years have passed since then
Again I am all alone.
Those who were my companions
All have disappeared
Behind the curtain of time.
Sitting at my window
Again I am gazing at the sky.
Today I find
That banyan tree, those coconut palms
Are standing like ascetics
Through eternal time
In their foliage
The primordial message of life
That is as old as time
Is continually rising.
At the beginning of all the ways
And also at their end
A peace, timeless and deep,
Stands in absolute silence
Unattached and still.
Day and night
Whispering their hymns into my ears
These trees
Teach me to meditate on that peace.

Translation of the poem Sathi from the collection Parishesh by Rabindranath Tagore. The original in Bengali script is at


More By  :  Kumud Biswas

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