5 Selected poems by Rabindranath Tagore that still makes him ahead of the present time

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poems-by-Rabindranath-Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore, a man who needs no introduction. He is the official composer for the national anthem of two countries – India’s Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh’s Amar Shonar Bangla. He was the first in Asia who won a prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature for his work of ‘Gitanjali‘. In short, he was a multitalented personality in every sense. He was a Bengali poet, Brahmo Samaj philosopher, visual artist, play writer, novelist, painter, prolific composer and a cultural reformer. Rabindranath Tagore literary works alone are enough to place him in the elite list of all-time greats.

He got inspired by ancient poets like Kabir and Ramprasad Sen and started penning down poems at the age of eight. By the passage of time, his works started growing more and more and he became popular amongst the Bengali as well as the foreign readers. This eventually led him to the recognition all over the world. Even today, he is often remembered for his poetic songs, which are both spiritual and mercurial. His ideologies are spread in the rest of the world.

There are few more things to know about Rabindranath Tagore, like- in 1901, he moved to Shantiniketan to found an ashram which became his focal point for writing and his view on schooling. He also conferred the title of Mahatma on Gandhi.

Tagore had a great love for nature and that is firmly portrayed in many of his poems which invoke the simple beauties of the natural world.  Let’s take a few seconds to know about his top most poems that is a must read and will make him the master of your heart.

Where the Mind is Without Fear’

“Where the Mind is Without Fear” is one of his vastly read and discussed poems. It was written at the time when India was under the British Rule and people were eagerly waiting for the freedom. The poem is written in the form of a prayer to God for true freedom for his country. Through this poem, he urges God throughout with his mysterious concept.

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 words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.



‘Let Me Not Forget’

‘Let Me Not Forget’ by Rabindranath Tagore is a four stanza poem. The poem describes one man’s personal loss and his determination to never be fully happy ever again.


If it is not my portion to meet thee in this life

then let me ever feel that I have missed thy sight

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

As my days pass in the crowded market of this world

and my hands grow full with the daily profits,

let me ever feel that I have gained nothing

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

When I sit by the roadside, tired and panting,

when I spread my bed low in the dust,

let me ever feel that the long journey is still before me

—let me not forget a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

When my rooms have been decked out and the flutes sound

and the laughter there is loud,

let me ever feel that I have not invited thee to my house

—let me not forget for a moment,

let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams

and in my wakeful hours.

‘Last Curtain’

The poem ‘Last Curtain’ explores the vulnerability one feels at the time of death. This poem explains that the actual treasures that one takes to the grave are none but his good deeds. It also conveys the message that the things that matter the most at death are those virtues that are considered as least important during their lives.

I know that the day will come

when my sight of this earth shall be lost,

and life will take its leave in silence,

drawing the last curtain over my eyes.

Yet stars will watch at night,

and morning rise as before,

and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.

When I think of this end of my moments,

the barrier of the moments breaks

and I see by the light of death

thy world with its careless treasures.

Rare is its lowliest seat,

rare is its meanest of lives.

Things that I longed for in vain

and things that I got

–let them pass.

Let me but truly possess

the things that I ever spurned

and overlooked.

‘Freedom’

‘Freedom’ is a beautiful piece of poetry. In the poem, there is a wish that the country is free from the fear and free from the fear of oppression by the rulers. Rabindranath Tagore expresses his deep wishes for the motherland.

Freedom from fear is the freedom

I claim for you my motherland!

Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head,

breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning

call of the future;

Freedom from the shackles of slumber wherewith

you fasten yourself in night’s stillness,

mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous paths;

freedom from the anarchy of destiny

whole sails are weakly yielded to the blind uncertain winds,

and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as death.

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world,

where movements are started through brainless wires,

repeated through mindless habits,

where figures wait with patience and obedience for the

master of show,

to be stirred into a mimicry of life.

Cloud and Waves

A poem is about a wish of a little child who wants to join the moving clouds in the sky. But then he remembers that his mother is waiting for him at home. It is the poem which is dream like imagery and yet so real.

Mother, the folk who live up in the clouds call out to me-

“We play from the time we wake till the day ends.

We play with the golden dawn, we play with the silver moon.”

I ask, “But how am I to get up to you ?”

They answer, “Come to the edge of the earth, lift up your

hands to the sky, and you will be taken up into the clouds.”

“My mother is waiting for me at home, “I say, “How can I leave

her and come?”

Then they smile and float away.

But I know a nicer game than that, mother.

I shall be the cloud and you the moon.

I shall cover you with both my hands, and our house-top will

be the blue sky.

The folk who live in the waves call out to me-

“We sing from morning till night; on and on we travel and know

not where we pass.”

I ask, “But how am I to join you?”

They tell me, “Come to the edge of the shore and stand with

your eyes tight shut, and you will be carried out upon the waves.”

I say, “My mother always wants me at home in the everything-

how can I leave her and go?”

They smile, dance and pass by.

But I know a better game than that.

I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.

I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with

laughter.

And no one in the world will know where we both are.

Looking for books to read by Rabindranath Tagore, here under is the list of books which are must read –

1.         Gitanjali
2.         Rabindranath Tagore: Selected Poems
3.         The Poetry Of Rabindranath Tagore
4.         Sesher Kobita The Last Poem
5.         The Gardener
6.         Gora
7.         Chokher Bali
8.         Nationalism

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