Lekhan ( Scrawl)
By Rabindranath Tagore

The grandure of sunshine
fills the endless sky.
Yet it seeks its recess
in  a raindrop 
on a blade of grass
           Lekhan (Scrawl)
By Rabindranath Tagore

The echo mocks the sound,
lest it becomes known,
that it is in debt to the sound.

Lekhan (Scrawl)
By Rabindranath Tagore

No matter how grand
is a rainbow 
reigning on the sky,
I adore the wings of butterflies
here on the land.

Rabindranath Tagore

Love came in such quiet steps
she seemed like a dream.
I failed to welcome her.

As she left,
awakened by the sound of my door 
I rushed to beg her return.

By then my dream was without a form,
vanished into the bossom of the night,
leaving only a trace of her lampflame
like a glowing mirage 
that reached beyond far horizon.
© Translation and Photo by Snehendu Kar 
Collected Works of Tagore: Vol. 24.p.70; Geetabitaan: p..910

Motherland (Aakla Chalo)
By Rabindranath Tagore

If no one answers your call
you must move on alone.
Move on alone, move on alone, and move all alone.
If no one speaks to you, oh my hapless one,
if everyone turns away and if everyone is afraid,
then open your heart and speak your mind aloud, alone.

If everyone turns back, oh my hapless one,
if as you travel on the dark path ,
no one cares to join,
then you must crush the thorns on your path
with your bare, bleeding feet 
and move on alone.

If no one holds up a torch, 
oh my hapless one
if on a dark, stormy, and rainy night
everyone seeks refuge behind a closed door,
then with the flame from a roaring lightning
set your ribcage on fire
                                                            and burn  in that pyre     all alone.

Tagore dedicated this poem to Mahatma Gandhi as a homage
 to his non-violent struggle to win India’s freedom  from the British Raj

 © Translation & Image by Snehendu B. Kar
   Clouds Gather Upon Clouds
(Megher Pore Megh Jomeche)
By Rabindranath Tagore

Clouds gather upon clouds
and darkness speads,
Oh, why do you keep me waiting
 alone by the door?

On my workdays, 
I'm busy with many chores
amongst countless strangers,
today - I just sit and wait 
only in your anticipation.

If you do not appear, 
if you choose to ignore me,
tell me how may I bear 
these endless rainy hours.

I keep my eyes wide open,
my  gaze fixed on the horizon
my mind weeps and roams
with this ominous rainstorm.

                               © Translation & Photo by Snehendu B. Kar
                                        Geetabitaan: Barsha-(Rain)  p.441
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                             The Last Question
(Sesh Prashno )
By Rabindranath Tagore

The sun on my first dawn,
as my Self was just awakened,
asked: "Who are you?"
I had no response.

Years and years have since bygone,
on my last day, the last sun
across the western ocean ,
on a quiet twilight,
asked the last question:
"Who are you?"
I had no response.

Translation and Photo by 
Snehendu Kar
From: Sesh Lekha (Last Scrawl); 
Sanchayita, p.838

Driver ( Chalak)
By Rabindranath Tagore

I asked my destiny,
“ Please tell me, 
         who pushes me
                forward forever ?”

She said: “Look behind”.
I did and I found,
I’m being pushed around  
by the “me” I’ve left behind.

© Translation and Photo by Snehendu Kar
Sanchayita: p.293

1. Coming and Going (Asha Jawa)
2. Driver (Chalak)
3. The Last Question (Sesh Prashno )
4. Clounds Gather upon Clouds (Megher Pore Megh Jomeche)
5. Move Alone (Aakla Chalo)
                                       By Rabindranath Tagore

Now peace has finally come, 
the trials and errors of life,
have all come to an end.

The heartbeats through days and nights, 
through waves of joys and sorrows,
have stopped within his chest.
All things, good and bad, all doubts and discords 
have now ceased to exist.
Say “Om Shanti”- Say “Om Shanti”,
 along with this temporal body
let all weariness of life turn into ashes.

We know not why or wherefrom, 
one comes down to this earth
to do life's labors.
After the goods and bads are done,  
quietly on a frail sailboat
where does one finally depart?

The precious gifts that he has given us,  
cherish them or not as you wish;
those were neither for trade nor for sale. 
These will not come again, nor can these be returned;
these were the gifts from his life.
In a sad and tender tune, 
slowly and softly hum your last song 
sitting by his head.
If there still remains a trace of a dream unfulfilled 
let that too vanquish in death.

You have brought today, 
a rainbow of spring bouquet,
alas, as your futile last gift.
Your quiet sad eyes, 
burdened by a deep torment
silently shed tears in vain.
Those who were irate, 
have too  come to forgive
but now it is of no avail.

Let whatever must, now happen,
let our grief come to an end
and let our mirages end as well.
Let now and forever, 
all tired expectations and ordeals
of life come to an end.

Let all debates now end, 
and let all anger and envy end.
Say “Om Shanti”, say “Om, Shanti”,
along with this temporal body, 
let all listlessness burn into ashes.

Translation by Snehendu Kar: 
Snachayita:p.224 & 230
Sections of a poem translated in memory of 
Prof. Bill Griffiths. March 26,1998

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6. After  Death (Mrittur Pore )


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Godhuli *(Aji Godhuli Laganey)
By Rabindranath Tagore

The godhuli* sky is soaked in rain 
and I hear her footsteps in my heartbeat.
My mind says again and again: 
“She will come”.
My eyes flood with tears 
of aimless joy.

The restless breeze
brings her gentle touch 
from a distant land,
the fragnance of  star-jesmines
fills the sky and my mind says: 
“She will come.”

The jasmine vine is restless
as her heart’s  wish remains unspoken.
Whispers fill the forests and the meadows,
but what  secret they share I do not know.
The bosom of the earth quivers  
and my mind says:       
“She will come."                                                                                                          


                                                                                                      ©Translation and photo  by Snehendu Kar  ( from :Geetabitaan: “Prem”, p.293)o 

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" No matter how grand                            
is a rainbow reigning on the sky. 
I adore the wings of a butterfly
hear on this land."
               Rabindranath Tagore

*" Godhuli "is a compound word in Bengali that is impossible to translate in English.  It is made by combining two words: “Go” which means cow and  “Dhuli” means dust; a literal translation would be “Cowdust” which makes no sense. Godhuli refers to those short-lived moments when a day ends and meets the dusk; and the sky is filled with soft amber sunlight. That is the time when the farmers bring back their cows from the  grazing fields to their homes ; as the cows  trod through dusty village roads, they kick out a cloud of fine dusts. Soft amber light from the setting sun filters through that cloud of dust and create a hypnotic golden glow; hence the name of these moments is  "godhuli". Everything, even a harsh object, at godhuli looks soft, warm and golden. That is why the Godhuli hour is chosen by the parents to show their daughters to potential grooms and their families as an important step in an arranged marriage.  Every girl looks  like a golden angel at that godhuli time. So Godhuli hour means that time at dusk when the earth is filled with a soft amber glow and the mind turns introspective, romantic, and mellow. It is no wonder why Tagore wrote so many poems and songs using this "godhuli" theme (other often recurring themes in Tagore's poems  are : rain or "Barsha"; love or "Prem" ;  Prayer or "Puja" ; and boat  or "Tori"  (often used as a metaphor for a mortal human body).


The Last Poem (Sesher Kobita)  
By Rabindranath Tagore

Do you hear the marching sound of eternal Time?
Her ever-fleeing chariot is causing shivers 
in the heart of this vast universe. 
You can hear the heart-breaking screams 
of the stars crushed under its wheels
in the depth of a dark solemn night.

My dear friend, that racing Time 
has caught me in her net and has
lifted me on her speeding chariot 
on a fearless journey faraway.
It seems, I have lived through a thousand deaths 
and have arrived at the peak of  the tallest mountain
on a bright new dawn. 
The strong blast on Time's speeding chariot
has blown away my identity of the past 
now, there is no way left for my return.
If you ever see me from afar,
you’ll find someone unknown. 
Oh, my dear friend, farewell. 

Please do not grieve for me.
I have my Karma and a vast humanity.
my cup is not yet empty.
I must keep my vow to fill it  
before it ever becomes empty.
If someone, somewhere waits for me
with eager expectation, then
she’ll  make my life worthwhile.

She who may gather a bouquet
of fragrant queen-of-nights
on a full-moon night, 
and string a garland to welcome
me on a dark moonless night,
she who may accept me
with all my merits and faults
with her boundless forgiveness,
I wish to offer myself in her meditations.

The gifts I gave you are 
for you to keep forever.
From moment to moment
your forlorn heart may quench its thirst
from the secret prayers of my heart.

Oh my peerless one,
my endlessly gifted one,
the gifts that I could offer 
were  the fruits of the gifts 
that I've received from you. 
The more you have taken from me,
the more you have filled me 
with deep gratitude.
Oh my dear friend, farewell.  

Translation and image  by Snehendu Kar 
Sections of poem from a story by the same name, 
Frrom: Thed Collected Works of Rabindranath Tagore,  Vol X, pp.371-374

                    © Snehendu Kar.
                                                I KNOW YOU
             (Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare)
                by Rabindranath Tagore
I know you well, yes I do, 
Oh, my maiden of a distant land.
You dwell across a vast  ocean 
Oh, my maiden of a distant land.

I have seen you in autumn dawns,
I have seen you in enchanting nights,
I have seen you deep within my heart.
Oh, my maiden of a distant land.

As I tuned my ears on the sky 
I heard the murmurs in her bosom
filled with  your haunting melodies,
and I have surrendered my heart to you.
Oh, my maiden of a distant land.

I have roamed the globe around,
and have reached a new land. 
I have arrived in the end
as a guest at your door.
Oh, my maiden of a distant land.

© Translation and photo  by Snehendu Kar
                                                        When Shangshar* Robs My Mind                                                                                     (Shangshar Jabe Mono Kerde Naey)*
                                                              by  Rabindranath Tagore

While shangshar  robs my mind
and my soul  is not fully awakened,
still, my Lord, I bow to you
and sing in your praise.

Oh, all-knowing Lord, 
forgive my useless gifts 
from an empty heart,
my prayers without the flowers,
and my hymns devoid of devotion.

I call out your name in a dry voice.
and hope with all my heart. 
that your deep caring love
will pour down upon me 
like soothing summer showers.

One day you will, at your own will,
with your nectar fill, my empty soul.
In that hope, I offer my empty heart 
at your feet.
* Sangshar means domestic life 

Translation and hoto by Snehendu Kar;  from Puja (Prayers): Geetabitaan, poem No. 479, p.189

                           " An echo mocks the sound 
 lest  it  becomes known, 
      that it owes its existence  
to the sound. " 
Rabindranath Tagore 

 © Translation and photo by Snehendu Kar )


      You Were Hidden in My Heart
(Amar Hiar Majhe Lukiey Chile)
By Rabindranath Tagore

You were hidden in my heart,
so I could not see you.
My eyes searched  everywhere 
but I could not find you.

In all my loves, 
in all my desires,
and in all my distress,
you stood beside me;
but I never cared to seek you.

© Translation and Photo by Snehendu Kar
  Geetabitaan: Puja (Prayers), p.26

In my every play
you’re the source of my joy,
plunged in pursuit of happiness,
I’ve spent my life in vain quests.

You’ve lend me your melody
for my secret songs,
both in my joys and in my sorrows;
but I never cared to sing for you.

You were hidden in my heart
so I could not see you.

This section presents my translations of Tagores's original poems in Bengali and matching images by me with the hope that this combination would add a visual dimension as well.
    ©Translation and photo  by Snehendu Kar  
    ©Translation and photo  by Snehendu Kar