Rabindranath Tagore

(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941 / Calcutta (Kolkata), Bengal Presidency / British India)

The Gardener IV: Ah Me


Ah me, why did they build my
house by the road to the market
town?
They moor their laden boats near
my trees.
They come and go and wander at
their will.
I sit and watch them; my time
wears on.
Turn them away I cannot. And
thus my days pass by.
Night and day their steps sound
by my door.
Vainly I cry, "I do not know
you."
Some of them are known to my
fingers, some to my nostrils, the
blood in my veins seems to know
them, and some are known to my
dreams.
Turn them away I cannot. I call
them and say, "Come to my house
whoever chooses. Yes, come."
In the morning the bell rings in the
temple.
They come with their baskets in
their hands.
Their feet are rosy red. The early
light of dawn is on their faces.
Turn them away I cannot. I call
them and I say, "Come to my garden
to gather flowers. Come hither."
In the mid-day the gong sounds
at the palace gate.
I know not why they leave their
work and linger near my hedge.
The flowers in their hair are pale
and faded; the notes are languid in
their flutes.
Turn them away I cannot. I call
them and say, "The shade is cool
under my trees. Come, friends."
At night the crickets chirp in the
woods.
Who is it that comes slowly to my
door and gently knocks?
I vaguely see the face, not a word
is spoken, the stillness of the sky is
all around.
Turn away my silent guest I
cannot. I look at the face through the
dark, and hours of dreams pass by.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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