Theme: Self

My Identity

One day in the fresh spring wind
I had sailed my boat
Here I had touched the shore
And halted at this landing point.
You had called me and asked,
'Who are you,
Where are you bound?'
I had said, 'Who knows?'

The river was in spate
My anchor rope was stretched
Sitting alone
With a young aching heart
I sang songs.
Listening to those songs
Under a flowering tree
The young boys and girls
Assembled on the shore.
They gave me a bouquet and they said,
'He is one of us.'
This is how first I came to be known.

Then the tide began to ebb
The waves began to die
In the tired song of the cuckoo
The memories of my past
Began to crowd in my mind.
Like an invitation letter
Received one spring
Now torn to pieces
And bearing no meaning
The petals of the shedding spring flowers
Fly far away.

Tugged by the ebbing tide
My boat is rushing to the sea
New boys and girls of these new times
While going on their way
Are asking from afar,
'Who goes sailing there
Towards the evening star?

Again I took up my guitar
And again I sang -
'Let it be known to all
I belong to you
I don't want more
Let this be my ultimate identity.'

Translation of the poem – Parichay – from the collection Senjuti (Evening lamp) by Rabindranath Tagore. Written in 1937 it is one of the loveliest poems from the pen of the ageing poet who died in 1941 at the age of 80. The original poem in Bengali script may be viewed at


More By  :  Kumud Biswas

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