O Lord, again and again in every age
You have sent your messengers to this heartless world,
They have told us, 'Forgive all, love everybody -
Purge your heart of the poison of malice.'
They deserve our respect, they are memorable
Yet in these foul times in great disrespect
We turn them away from our outer gates.
I have seen how in the darkness of deceit
Under the cover of a veil
Malevolence harms the helpless,
I have seen how justice silently weeps
Trampled by criminal power without redress.
I have also seen how a young boy
Maddened in futile rage
Has struck his head against a deaf wall
And fallen dead.
I have no words today
And my flute has forgotten its tune
In this dungeon of utter darkness
My world has been lost in a nightmare
And I ask you in tears
'Have you forgiven and loved
Those who are poisoning your air
And extinguishing your lights?'
Translation of the poem Prasna from the collection Parishesh by Rabindranath Tagore. The original in Bengali script may be viewed at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/12031.
Compare This Evil Day in Collected Poems and Plays.