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Rabindranath Tagore: Two Poems, Two Prayers


Question

God, again and again through the ages you have sent messengers To this pitiless world; They have said, `Forgive everyone', they have said, `Love one another-

Rid your hearts of evil.' They are revered and remembered, yet still in these dark days We turn them away with hollow greetings from outside the doors of our houses.


And meanwhile I see secretive hatred, murdering the helpless Under cover of night; And justice weeping silently and furtively at power misused, No hope of redress. I see young men working themselves into a frenzy, In agony dashing their heads against stone to no avail.

My voice is choked today; I have no music in my flute: Black moonless night Has imprisoned my world, plunged it into nightmare. And this is why, With tears in my eyes I ask: Those who have poisoned your air, those who have extinguished your light,

Can it be that you have forgiven them?

Can it be that you love them?

Gitanjali 35

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.

- Rabindranath Tagore

1861 - 1941



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