18+ Best Rabindranath Tagore Poems You Should Read

Rabindranath Tagore, also known by his pen name Bhanu Singha Thakur, and also known by his sobriquets Gurudev, Kabiguru, and Biswakabi, was a polymath, poet, musician, and artist from the Indian subcontinent.

If you’re searching for famous poems ever that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of selected Dorothy Parker poems, best known Ezra Pound poems, and most famous Ts Eliot poems.

Famous Rabindranath Tagore Poems

When I Go Alone At Night

WHEN I go alone at night to my love-tryst, birds do not sing, the wind does not stir, the houses on both sides of the street stand silent.
It is my own anklets that grow loud at every step and I am ashamed.

When I sit on my balcony and listen for his footsteps, leaves do not rustle on the trees, and the water is still in the river like the sword on the knees of a sentry fallen asleep.
It is my own heart that beats wildly — I do not know how to quiet it.

When my love comes and sits by my side, when my body trembles and my eyelids droop, the night darkens, the wind blows out the lamp, and the clouds draw veils over the stars.
It is the jewel at my own breast that shines and gives light. I do not know how to hide it.

From Afar

The ‘I’ that floats along the wave of time,
From a distance I watch him.
With the dust and the water,
With the fruit and the flower,
With the All he is rushing forward.
He is always on the surface,
Tossed by the waves and dancing to the rhythm
Of joy and suffering.
The least loss makes him suffer,
The least wound hurts him–
Him I see from afar.
That ‘I’ is not my real self;
I am still within myself,
I do not float in the stream of death.
I am free, I am desireless,
I am peace, I am illumined–
Him I see from afar.

The Gardener X: Let Your Work Be, Bride

Let your work be, bride. Listen, the
guest has come.
Do you hear, he is gently shaking
the chain which fastens the door?
See that your anklets make no loud
noise, and that your step is not over-
hurried at meeting him.
Let your work be, bride, the guest
had come in the evening.
No, it is not the ghostly wind, bride,
do not be frightened.
It is the full moon on a night of
April; shadows are pale in the court-
yard; the sky overhead is bright.
Draw your veil over your face if
you must, carry the lamp to the door
if you fear.
No, it is not the ghostly wind, bride,
do not be frightened.
Have no word with him if you are
shy; stand aside by the door when you
meet him.
If he asks you questions, and if
you wish to, you can lower you eyes
in silence.
Do not let your bracelets jingle
when, lamp in hand, you lead him in.
Have no words with him if your are
shy.
Have you not finished you work yet,
bride? Listen, the guest has come.
Have you not lit the lamp in the
cowshed?
Have you not got ready the offering
basket for the evening service?
Have you not put the red lucky
mark at the parting of your hair, and
done your toilet for the night?
O bride, do you hear, the guest has
come?
Let your work be!

The Gardener Li: Then Finish The Last Song

Then finish the last song and let us
leave.
Forget this night when the night is
no more.
Whom do I try to clasp in my
arms? Dreams can never be made captive.
My eager hands press emptiness to
my heart and it bruises my breast.

The Gardener Xix: You Walked

You walked by the riverside path
with the full pitcher upon your hip.
Why did you swiftly turn your face
and peep at me through your fluttering
veil?
That gleaming look from the dark
came upon me like a breeze that sends
a shiver through the rippling water
and sweeps away to the shadowy
shore.
It came to me like the bird of the
evening that hurriedly flies across the
lampless room from the one open
window to the other, and disappears
in the night.
You are hidden as a star behind the
hills, and I am a passer-by upon the
road.
But why did you stop for a moment
and glance at my face through your
veil while you walked by the river-
side path with the full pitcher upon
your hip?

The Gardener Xvi: Hands Cling To Eyes

Hands cling to hands and eyes linger
on eyes: thus begins the record of our
hearts.
It is the moonlit night of March;
the sweet smell of henna is in the air;
my flute lies on the earth neglected
and your garland of flowers is
unfinished.
This love between you and me is
simple as a song.
Your veil of the saffron colour
makes my eyes drunk.
The jasmine wreath that you wove
me thrills to my heart like praise.
It is a game of giving and with-
holding, revealing and screening again;
some smiles and some little shyness,
and some sweet useless struggles.
This love between you and me is
simple as a song.
No mystery beyond the present;
no striving for the impossible; no
shadow behind the charm; no groping
in the depth of the dark.
This love between you and me is
simple as a song.
We do not stray out of all words
into the ever silent; we do not raise
our hands to the void for things
beyond hope.
It is enough what we give and we
get.
We have not crushed the joy to
the utmost to wring from it the wine
of pain.
This love between you and me is
simple as a song.

Stray Birds 21- 30

21

THEY throw their shadows before them
who carry their lantern on their back.

22

THAT I exist
is a perpetual surprise
which is life.

23

‘WE, the rustling leaves,
have a voice that answers the storms,
but who are you so silent?’
‘I am a mere flower.’

24

REST belongs to the work
as the eyelids to the eyes.

25

MAN is a born child,
his power is the power of growth.

26

GOD expects answers for the flowers he sends us,
not for the sun
and the earth.

27

THE light that plays, like a naked child,
among the green leaves happily knows not
that man can lie.

28

O BEAUTY,
find thyself in love,
not in the flattery of thy mirror.

29

MY heart beats her waves at the shore of the world
and writes upon it her signature in tears with the words,
‘I love thee.’

30

‘MOON,
for what do you wait?’
‘To salute the sun for whom I must make way.’

The Unheeded Pageant

Ah, who was it coloured that little frock, my child, and covered
your sweet limbs with that little red tunic?
You have come out in the morning to play in the courtyard,
tottering and tumbling as you run.
But who was it coloured that little frock, my child?
What is it makes you laugh, my little life-bud?
Mother smiles at you standing on the threshold.
She claps her hands and her bracelets jingle, and you dance
with your bamboo stick in your hand like a tiny little shepherd.
But what is it makes you laugh, my little life-bud?
O beggar, what do you bed for, clinging to your mother’s neck
with both your hands?
O greedy heart, shall I pluck the world like a fruit from the
sky to place it on your little rosy palm?
O beggar, what are you begging for?
The wind carries away in glee the tinkling of your anklet
bells.
The sun smiles and watches your toilet.
The sky watches over you when you sleep in your mother’s arms,
and the morning comes tiptoe to your bed and kisses your eyes.
The wind carried away in glee the tinkling of your anklet
bells.
The fairy mistress of dreams is coming towards you, flying
through the twilight sky.
The world-mother keeps her seat by you in your mother’s heart.
He who plays his music to the stars is standing at your window
with his flute.
And the fairy mistress of dreams is coming towards you, flying
through the twilight sky.

Stray Birds 61 – 70

61

TAKE my wine in my own cup, friend.
It loses its wreath of foam
when poured into that of others.

62

THE Perfect decks itself in beauty
for the love of the Imperfect.

63

GOD says to man,
‘I heal you therefore I hurt,
love you therefore punish.’

64

THANK the flame for its light,
but do not forget the lampholder
standing in the shade with constancy of patience.

65

TINY grass,
your steps are small,
but you possess the earth under your tread.

66

THE infant flower opens its bud and cries,
‘Dear World, please do not fade.’

67

GOD grows weary of great kingdoms,
but never of little flowers.

68

WRONG cannot afford defeat
but Right can.

69

‘I GIVE my whole water in joy,
‘ sings the waterfall,
‘though little of it is enough for the thirsty.’

70

WHERE is the fountain
that throws up these flowers
in a ceaseless outbreak of ecstasy?

Poems On Beauty

Beauty is truth’s smile
when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.

Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony
which is in the universal being;
truth the perfect comprehension of the universal mind

Stray Birds 71 – 80

71

THE woodcutter’s axe begged for its handle from the tree.
The tree gave it.

72

IN my solitude of heart
I feel the sigh of this widowed evening
veiled with mist and rain.

73

CHASTITY
is a wealth that comes from
abundance of love.

74

THE mist,
like love,
plays upon the heart of the hills
and brings out surprises of beauty.

75

WE read the world wrong
and say that it deceives us.

76

THE poet wind is out over the sea
and the forest to seek his own voice.

77

EVERY child
comes with the message
that God is not yet discouraged
of man.

78

THE grass seeks her crowd in the earth.
The tree seeks his solitude of the sky.

79

MAN barricades against himself.

80

YOUR voice, my friend,
wanders in my heart,
like the muffled sound of the sea
among these listening pines.

Stray Birds 41 – 50

41

THE trees,
like the longings of the earth,
stand a-tiptoe to peep at the heaven.

42

YOU smiled and talked to me of nothing
and I felt that for this I had been waiting long.

43

THE fish in the water is silent,
the animal on the earth is noisy,
the bird in the air is singing,
But Man has in him
the silence of the sea,
the noise of the earth
and the music of the air.

44

THE world rushes on
over the strings of the lingering heart
making the music of sadness.

45

HE has made his weapons his gods.
When his weapons win he is defeated himself.

46

GOD finds himself by creating.

47

SHADOW,
with her veil drawn,
follows Light in secret meekness,
with her silent steps of
love.

48

THE stars

are not afraid to appear like fireflies.

49

I THANK thee that I am none of the wheels of power
but I am one with the living creatures
that are crushed by it.

50

THE mind,
sharp but not broad,
sticks at every point
but does not move.

The Gardener Xxix: Speak To Me My Love

Speak to me, my love! Tell me in
words what you sang.
The night is dark. The stars are
lost in clouds. The wind is sighing
through the leaves.
I will let loose my hair. My blue
cloak will cling round me like night. I
will clasp your head to my bosom; and
there in the sweet loneliness murmur
on your heart. I will shut my eyes
and listen. I will not look in your face.
When your words are ended, we will
sit still and silent. Only the trees will
whisper in the dark.
The night will pale. The day will
dawn. We shall look at each other’s
eyes and go on our different paths.
Speak to me, my love! Tell me in
words what you sang.

Stray Birds 91 – 99

91

THE great earth makes herself hospitable
with the help of the grass.

92

THE birth and death of the leaves
are the rapid whirls of the eddy
whose wider circles
move slowly among stars.

93

POWER said to the world, ‘You are mine.
The world kept it prisoner on her throne.
Love said to the world, ‘I am thine.’
The world gave it the freedom of her house.

94

THE mist is like the earth’s desire.
It hides the sun for whom she cries.

95

BE still,
my heart,
these great trees are prayers.

96

THE noise of the moment
scoffs at the music of the Eternal.

97

I THINK of other ages
that floated upon the stream of life
and love and death and are forgotten,
and I feel the freedom of passing away.

98

THE sadness of my soul is her bride’s veil.
It waits to be lifted in the night.

99

DEATH’S stamp gives value to the coin of life;
making it possible to buy with life what is truly precious.

Stray Birds 81 – 90

81

WHAT is this unseen flame of darkness
whose sparks are the stars?

82

LET life be beautiful like summer flowers
and death like autumn leaves.

88

HE who wants to do good knocks at the gate;
he who loves
finds the gate open.

84

IN death the many becomes one;
in life the one becomes many.
Religion will be one
when God is dead.

85

THE artist is the lover of Nature,
therefore he is her slave
and her master.

86

‘HOW far are you from me, O Fruit?’
‘I am hidden in your heart, O Flower.’

87

THIS longing is for the one who is felt in the dark,
but not seen in the day.

88

‘YOU are the big drop of dew under the lotus leaf,
I am the smaller one on its upper side,
‘ said the dewdrop to the lake.

89

THE scabbard is content to be dull
when it protects the keenness of the sword.

90

IN darkness
the One appears as uniform;
in the light
the One appears as manifold.

Stray Birds 11- 20

11
SOME unseen fingers, like idle breeze,
are playing upon my heart the music of the ripples.

12

‘WHAT language is thine, O sea?’
‘The language of eternal question.’
‘What language is thy answer, O sky?
‘The language of eternal silence.’

13

LISTEN,
my heart,
to the whispers of the world
with which it makes love to you.

14

THE mystery of creation
is like the darkness of night–
it is great.

Delusions of knowledge are like
the fog of the morning.

15

DO not seat your love upon a precipice because it is high.
16

I SIT at my window this morning
where the world like a passer-by stops for a moment,
nods to me and goes.

17

THESE little thoughts are the rustle of leaves;
they have their whisper of
joy in my mind.

18

WHAT you are you do not see,
what you see is your shadow.

19

MY wishes are fools, they shout across thy songs, my Master.
Let me but listen.

20

I CANNOT choose the best.
The best chooses me.

Unyielding

When I called you in your garden
Mango blooms were rich in fragrance –
Why did you remain so distant,
Keep your doors so tightly fastened?
Blossoms grew to ripe fruit-clusters –
Your rejected my cuppded handfuls,
Closed your eyes to perfectness.

In the fierce harsh storms of Baisakh,
Golden ripened fruit fell tumbling.
‘Dust, I said, ‘defiles such offerings:
Let your hands be heaven to them.’
Still you showed no friendliness.

Lampless were your doors at evening,
Pitch-black as I played my vina.
How the starlight twanged my heartstrings!
How I set my vina dancing!
You showed no responsiveness.

Sad birds twittered sleeplessly,
Calling, calling lost companions.
Gone the right time for our union –
Low the moon while still you brooded,
Sunk in lonely pensiveness.

Who can understand another!
Heart cannot restrain its passion.
I had hoped that some remaining
Tear-soaked memories would sway you,
Stir your feet to lightsomeness.

Moon fell at the feet of morning,
Loosened from the night’s fading necklace.
While you slept, O did my Vina
Lull you with its heartache? Did you
Dream at least of happiness?

This Dog

Every morning this dog, very attached to me,
Quietly keeps sitting near my seat
Till touching its head
I recognize its company.
This recognition gives it so much joy
Pure delight ripples through its entire body.
Among all dumb creatures
It is the only living being
That has seen the whole man
Beyond what is good or bad in him
It has seen
For his love it can sacrifice its life
It can love him too for the sake of love alone
For it is he who shows the way
To the vast world pulsating with life.
When I see its deep devotion
The offer of its whole being
I fail to understand
By its sheer instinct
What truth it has discovered in man.
By its silent anxious piteous looks
It cannot communicate what it understands
But it has succeeded in conveying to me
Among the whole creation
What is the true status of man.

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