Theme: Death

In Sick bed

Translation from Bengali works of Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Laureate of 1913.
Read Translator’s Notes at the end of the poems.

At midday, while somnolent,
Maybe I just dreamt,
That the shell of my existence
Shed off as redundant
Into a river stream- I know not its name,
Along with all its celebrity and fame;
Whatever wealth of the miser
All ignominy’s memoir.
Records of all gratification,
Glory or humiliation,
Swept along the billows –
I couldn’t reverse its course.
Reasons my selfless self,
As into my losses I delve;
Which one struck me severest?
No, not in my past was my best –
With which my days and nights
Passed in euphoria and blights;
That is in my future
Which I could never capture –
In which is my desire latent
As the seed underground dreamt
Through the long night
For the arrival of the light.

Translator’s note:

Poem No: 22 of the book Rogsajjay (In Sick Bed)

Tagore’s conviction was that human life is only a part of his endless journey which is consistent with the Hindu belief in re-incarnation. Maitrayee Devi’s depiction of the Poet’s séances in her book ‘Mangpute Rabindranath’ (Translated version – ‘Tagore By Fireside’) as she heard directly from the Poet, makes interesting reading. Amazingly, manners of the replies by the respondent souls (at least so believed) over the planchetté to the queries put to them matched with their wont as noticed in their lifetime, as the Poet exemplified. He is thus inclined to believe that there is a link between the pre and post-mortem stages of mortals and it might be that the latter is for a much wider fulfillment, though not evident in earthly life, as he holds in this wonderful poem. The poem was written only a month before his death in 1941. 


More By  :  Rajat Das Gupta

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