What shall I give you, my friend
With my own hand?
A morning song?
The morning tires like a drooping flower
In the scorching sun
Tired, the song also comes to an end.
At the end of the day
What do you want from me,
What can I give you, my friend?
My evening lamp?
It can light up only the corner of a lonely room
You want to take it on your way
Among the crowd?
It will be blown out by the outside wind.
To present you what do I have?
Be it a flower or a necklace
Their burden why will you bear
Knowing it for certain
Someday they will be stale or torn?
Whatever I give you with my own hand
It will slip through your negligent fingers
It will fall on the dust
It will become dust at last.
It is better when you will find some time
And wander in my garden in spring
In an absent mind
You will stop in your track
Startled by an unknown fragrance
It will be your present.
When moving about in my bower
A spell will fall on your eyes
You will suddenly see
In the evening darkness
Vibrates a colorful light
It will give a golden touch to your dreams
That light is unknown
That will be your present.
Whatever is best in me
Only shines in flashes
Suddenly it appears
And disappears in a moment.
It doesn't give out its name
In ringing foot steps it leaves
Thrilling the way with its song.
I don't know how to reach it
However I may stretch out my hands
In whatever words may I call.
Whatever you get from there on your own
To your own liking
Without asking, without knowing
That will be your present
Whatever I can give you is trifling
Be it a flower or a song.
Translation of poem 10, entitled Dan in the compilation Sanchayita, from the collection Balaka by Rabindranath Tagore. The original is at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/12170.