Fireflies 16


Poems of Rabindranath Tagore


tree bears its thousand years
in one large majestic moment

my offerings are not for the temple
at the end of the road
but for the wayside shrines
that surprise me at every bend;
not for the jabbering crowd in the theatre
but for the one who stands by the lonely pool


your smile like the smell of a strange flower
simple and inexplicable

death laughs when the merit
of the dead is exaggerated—
it swells his store with more than he can claim

the sigh of the shore follows in vain
the breeze that hastens the ship
across the sea

truth loves its limits
for there it meets the beautiful

between the shores of me & thee
there’s the loud ocean—
my own surging self
which I long to cross

the right to possess boasts foolishly
of its right to enjoy;
the rose is a great deal more
than a blushing apology for the thorn

day offers to the silence of stars
a golden lute to be tuned
to the endless life

the wise know how to teach;
the fool how to smite

Rabindranath Tagore (1928)

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