Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Rabindranath Tagore: Fireflies
I found these short poems by Rabindranath Tagore in the Indian Literature section of Adventures in World Literature, a book I mentioned in this post. They appear in a subsection titled “Fireflies,” under this paragraph:
“This volume (1928) was a result of Tagore’s study of Japanese poetry, which fascinated him by its compressed and highly selective art. The significance of the title is explained in the first poem, and one is inclined to agree with the prophecy expressed in the second after reading this book of captivating phrases. They should be read in connection with Japanese poetry (pages 1224-1231).”
My fancies are fireflies, —
Specks of living light
twinkling in the dark.
My words that are slight
may lightly dance upon time’s waves
when my works heavy with import have
My heart today smiles at its past night of tears
like a wet tree glistening in the sun
after the rain is over.
My flower, seek not thy paradise
in a fool’s buttonhole.
Image: Rabindranath Tagore in Kolkata, ca. 1915 (click to enlarge).
As the Conversation continues, we dedicate ourselves to saving our empties.