First Sorrow by Rabindranath Tagore

The path by the shadow of the forest is now covered with grass.

On that deserted road, someone called me from behind.

“Don’t you recognise me?”

I turned back to look at him.

“I remember you, but do not recall your name.”

He said, “I am the sorrow who came to you when you were twenty-five.”

The corner of his eyes revealed a spark of ray, just like moonlight on a lake.

I stood there, surprised.

“Back then, you appeared like a dark monsoon cloud. Now, you look like a golden idol. Have you lost the tears of that day?” I asked.

He didn’t say anything, just smiled. I realized everything was contained in that smile.


The clouds of the rainy day had learned to smile like bright sunny days of the summer.

I asked him, “Have you preserved my youth of twenty-five?”

“Yes, I made it my necklace. Not even a single petal of the spring’s garland had fallen.”

I said, “See, how I have shriveled with age. But my youth is still adorning your neck, as fresh as ever.”

He slowly put that necklace around my neck and said, “Do you remember, that day you had said, you don’t need consolation, you only want sorrow?”

I shrugged a little. “Yes, I did. But it has been so long; I had forgotten about it.”

“But the one within you hadn’t forgotten. Now, you must accept me,” he said.

I held his hand and said, “How wonderful you look!”

He smiled and said, “That which was once sorrow, is now peace.”

Translated by Bhaswati Ghosh

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10 thoughts on “First Sorrow by Rabindranath Tagore

  1. What a beautiful piece of writing! I love this line–“Yes, I made it my necklace. Not even a single petal of the spring’s garland had fallen.”Thank you for sharing! Are the flowers from your garden? They remind me of dahlias we had growing along our back fence. Gorgeous!

  2. Jeff, it’s my pleasure. 🙂Bernita, I agree. 🙂Lisa, I am glad you enjoyed reading this. It’s one of my all-time favourites. Yes, those are chrysanthemums we are growing this winter. 🙂Alicia, Susan, I am glad you liked this. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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