Gift : Rabindranath Tagore

Gift

O my love, what gift of mine

Shall I give you this dawn?

A morning song?

But morning does not last long –

The heat of the sun

Wilts it like a flower

And songs that tire

Are done.
  

O friend, when you come to my gate

At dusk

What is it you ask?

What shall I bring you?

A light?

A lamp from a secret corner of my silent house?

But will you want to take it with you

Down the crowded street?

Alas,

The wind will blow it out.

Whatever gifts are in my power to give you,

Be they flowers,

Be they gems for your neck,

How can they please you

If in time they must surely wither,

Crack,

Lose lustre?

All that my hands can place in yours

Will slip through your fingers

And fall forgotten to the dust

To turn into dust.

Rather,

When you have leisure,

Wander idly through my garden in spring

And let an unknown, hidden flower’s scent startle you

Into sudden wondering –

Let that displaced moment

Be my gift.

Or if, as you peer your way down a shady avenue,

Suddenly, spilled

From the thick gathered tresses of evening

A single shivering fleck of sunset-light stops you,

Turns your daydreams to gold,

Let that light be an innocent

Gift.

Truest treasure is fleeting;

It sparkles for a moment, then goes.

It does not tell its name; its tune

Stops us in our tracks, its dance disappears

At the toss of an anklet.

I know no way to it –

No hand, nor word can reach it.

Friend whatever you take of it

On your own,

Without asking, without knowing, let that

Be yours.

Anything I can give you is trifling –

Be it a flower, or a song.

~Rabindranath Tagore ( Selected Poems. Translated by William Radice, 1985)