On a Cloudy Day by Rabindranath Tagore

All our days are filled with work and people. At the end of each day, one feels the day’s work and exchanges have said all that needed to be said. One doesn’t find the time to grasp that which remains unsaid within.
This morning, cluster upon cluster of cloud has covered the sky’s chest. There’s work to be done today as well, and there are people all around. But there’s a feeling that all that lies inside cannot be exhausted on the outside. Man has crossed seas, scaled mountains, dug holes under the ground to steal gems and riches, but the act of transmitting one person’s innermost thoughts and feelings to another—this, man could never accomplish. PartlyCloudy On this cloudy morning, that caged thought of mine is desperately flapping its wings inside me. The person within says, “Where is that forever friend who will rob me of all my rain by exhausting my heart’s clouds?”
On this cloud-covered morning I hear the inside voice rattling the closed door’s fetters again and again. I wonder, what should I do? Who is the one at whose call my words will cross work’s barrier to journey through the world with the lamp of song in my hands? Where is the person whose one look would string together all my strewn pain into a garland of joy and make them glow in one light? I can only give this pain to the one who begs it of me with the perfect note. At the bend of which road stands that ruinous beggar of mine? My inner ache wears a saffron robe today. It wants to emerge into a path, which, like the innocent single string of an ektara, chimes within the steps of the ‘heart’s person.’
Translated by Bhaswati Ghosh

15 thoughts on “On a Cloudy Day by Rabindranath Tagore

  1. Thanks for making this accessible in English, Bhaswati. I’m so impressed that you have this ability to reach across languages. I have enough trouble just expressing myself in one language. I have not read Tagore for years. His prose is so uplifting and poetic. I am accumulating a variety of memoirs to review for my blog, and would be interested in knowing if he has written a memoir, and if so, if it’s available in English.Best wishes,Jerry Waxlerwww.memorywritersnetwork.com/blog

  2. Again, I understand why you are so devoted to the Rabindrasangeet. But I wonder, Bhaswati, if you realize how many of us you are converting around the globe.

  3. Jerry, much as I attempt, I can never fully translate Tagore’s depth into another language. He wrote two memoirs, one specifically recollecting his childhood days. It’s called Boyhood Days. The other one is My Reminiscences. Here are the links for you:1) http://www.penguinbooksindia.com/Books/BookDetail.asp?ID=64452) http://www.amazon.ca/My-Reminiscences-Sir-Rabindranath-Tagore/dp/0766182665Sid, thank you so much. If my pathetic translation efforts (prompted by an unrestrained eagerness to share Tagore’s bounty with you all) touch you in any way, my day is made. :-)Bernita, how often have I exclaimed, “Yes! I wanted to say that,” while reading Tagore. He gives such wonderful words to every possible human feeling. Nienke, thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment. I am so glad you liked it. 🙂

  4. Its good to see so many people discovering tagore as a result of your excellent translations. In today’s milieu of crass materialism and ersatz spiritualism tagore offers a bonanza of true spiritual freedom which unfortunately remains mostly restricted bengalis because the translations of tagore are minimal compared to his voluminous output. Moreover there is a complaint that tagore’s own translations are in an archaic english which do not really gell with people these days. So Bhaswati you have done us all a service by using more contemporary english and I hope you will continue this project and publish in print some day

  5. this is indeed a hauntingly beautiful translation done with an effortless ease which comes from a command over both languages-congratulations,Bhaswati.

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