August 15th is the day of India’s Independence. I would like to dedicate this post to him who gave India its national anthem. A Japanese Nobel laureate described his appearance as:
“His white hair flowed softly down both sides of his forehead; the tufts of hair under the temples also were long like two beards, and linking up with the hair on his cheeks, continued into his beard, so that he gave an impression, to the boy I was then, of some ancient – Oriental wizard”
Rabindra Nath Tagore’s contribution to India is an example of how some fights can be won by strong writing. Gitanjali, a legendary book that is a compilation of his poems would touch anybody’s soul. The poems have based on humanity with shades of spirituality.
“Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut?
Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!
He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground and where the path-maker is breaking stones.
He is with them in sun and in shower, and his garment is covered with dust.”
I feel fortunate to have learnt about Tagore and his writings that fills me with immense pride and love for my country.
“Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been
broken up into fragments
by narrow domestic walls; …
Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit; …
Into that heaven of freedom,
my Father, let my country awake.”
Stumble on this very soothing poem by Charles Simic. A perfect poem to enjoy on Sunday evening. I hope you enjoy it too.
The White Room
The obvious is difficult
To prove. Many prefer
The hidden. I did, too.
I listened to the trees.
They had a secret
Which they were about to
Make known to me–
And then didn’t.
Summer came. Each tree
On my street had its own
Scheherazade. My nights
Were a part of their wild
Storytelling. We were
Entering dark houses,
Always more dark houses,
Hushed and abandoned.
There was someone with eyes closed
On the upper floors.
The fear of it, and the wonder,
Kept me sleepless.
The truth is bald and cold,
Said the woman
Who always wore white.
She didn’t leave her room.
The sun pointed to one or two
Things that had survived
The long night intact.
The simplest things,
Difficult in their obviousness.
They made no noise.
It was the kind of day
People described as “perfect.”
Gods disguising themselves
As black hairpins, a hand-mirror,
A comb with a tooth missing?
No! That wasn’t it.
Just things as they are,
Unblinking, lying mute
In that bright light–
And the trees waiting for the night.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
One of the reasons to like this sonnet is that here love is so divinely compared with marriage yet defines it different from the actual ceremony. What I understand here is that love between two people (whether same gender or different) is not bound by marriage. Love which changes with time or circumstances is not actual love. Love is constant and it doesn’t change even if one of the partner is physically away. It doesn’t shake even during difficult times (“That looks on tempests”). Love is like a star that guides a lost soul. Unlike the height of the star which can be measured, the star’s worth cannot be. Love is not age specific which is limited only when the partners are young and beautiful but it stays even when the body grows old and sick. It doesn’t change with hours and weeks but remains same even to the edge of doom. And then Shakespeare says that if what he has written here can be proved wrong, then his writings mean nothing and no man has ever loved.
At times in life we feel suffocated as we drown in the complexities of life when we struggle to choose between right or wrong. And then we need a push to bring ourselves to the surface. What can be better inspirational source than a poem. This motivational poem is by American author and poet Maya Angelou and I see no reason for not liking it.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.