by Rabindranath Tagore
(This poem is from 'The Crescent Moon' by Tagore)

If I were only a little puppy, not your baby, mother dear,
would you say "No" to me if I tried to eat from your dish?

Would you drive me off, saying to me,
"Go away, you naughty little puppy"?

Then go, mother, go! I will never come to you when you call me and l never let you feed me any more.

If I were only a little green parrot, and not your baby,
mother dear, would you keep me chained lest I should fly away?

Would you shake your finger at me and say,
"What an ungrateful wretch of a bird!
It is gnawing at its chain day and night"?

Then go, mother, go! I will run away into the woods;
I will never let you take me in your arms again.

The First Jasmines

by Rabindranath Tagore
(This poem is from 'The Crescent Moon' by Tagore)

AH, these jasmines, these white jasmines!
I seem to remember the first day when I filled my hands
with these jasmines, these white jasmines.

I have loved the sunlight, the sky and the green earth;
I have heard the liquid murmur of the river
through the darkness of midnight;
Autumn sunsets have come to me at the bend of the road the lonely waste, like a bride raising her veil to accept her lover.
Yet my memory is still sweet with the first white jasmines that I held in my hands when I was a child.

Many a glad day has come in my life,
and I have laughed with merrymakers on festival nights.

On grey mornings of rain
I have crooned many an idle song.

I have worn round my neck the evening wreath of
BAKULAS woven by the hand of love.

Yet my heart is sweet with the memory of the first fresh jasmines that filled my hands when I was a child.

Twelve O'Clock

by Rabindranath Tagore
(This poem is from 'The Crescent Moon' by Tagore)

Mother, I do want to leave off my lessons now.
I have been at my book all the morning.

You say it is only twelve o'clock.
Suppose it isn't very late; can't you ever think
it is afternoon when it is only twelve o'clock?

I can easily imagine now that the sun has reached
the edge of that rice-field, and the old fish-woman is
gathering herbs for her supper by the side of the pond.

I can just shut my eyes and think
that the shadows are growing darker
under the MADAR tree, and the water
in the pond looks shiny black.

If twelve o'clock can come in the night,
why can't the night come when it is twelve o'clock?

The Valiant

by Rabindranath Tagore

Just imagine mother, that you and I
are travelling far (can't remember why)
your palanquin's rocking to and fro
with four beherAs going heiyA-ho
besides them I am trotting along
on my little red pony, singing a song.

My hoof-dust clouds the end of day
thorn-bushes bleak in the low sun's ray
it's barren, barren, every which way
even the animals have gone away
imagine it's dark: you can barely see
we've come to the wilds of jorAdighi

We are cutting through the fields of bramble
it's nearly night, the beherAs scramble
the path curves out a little ahead,
we are going over a dead river bed
in the plodding silence, you suddenly shout
"are those lights out there, moving about?"

Just then the cry: "hAre re re re re"
you can hear them charging; utter disarray
beherAs running helter skelter
you pray to heaven for divine shelter
"mA don't worry!
I am here with you, now _they'll be sorry!"

Skins gleaming in the flickering light
twirling lAThis they come, a fearsome sight
I yell, "wait!", and "stop right there!
beware my sword now, don't you dare!
just one more step and your blood will spray!"
but they just explode with a "hA re re re re re"

You tell me, all trembling, "khokA, don't go!"
I say, "mA, just watch." and with a "heigh ho",
I spur my horse into the villainous mass
their shields ring out on my cutlass
such a terrible battle, you'd swoon if i say
so many heads cut off, so many run away...
at the end you're weeping, "my khokA is dead!"

Just then i'm back, all sweaty blood-red.
i call out, "mA, it's over, the fight!"
you come out then and hug me tight
you lift me to your lap with a kiss: "khokA dear,
what _would i have done, if you hadn't been here!"

such useless things happen all the time
why can't _this be true at least one time?
oh then it would be a real fairy tale
everyone would rave, though dAdA would rail:
"pah! how can this be? he isn't even that strong!"
but neighbours would say, "lucky khokA went along!"

Chain of Pearls

by Rabindranath Tagore

Mother, I shall weave a chain of pearls for thy neck
with my tears of sorrow.

The stars have wrought their anklets of light to deck thy feet,
but mine will hang upon thy breast.

Wealth and fame come from thee
and it is for thee to give or to withhold them.
But this my sorrow is absolutely mine own,
and when I bring it to thee as my offering
thou rewardest me with thy grace.

My Song

by Rabindranath Tagore

This song of mine will wind its music around you,
my child, like the fond arms of love.

The song of mine will touch your forehead
like a kiss of blessing.

When you are alone it will sit by your side and
whisper in your ear, when you are in the crowd
it will fence you about with aloofness.

My song will be like a pair of wings to your dreams,
it will transport your heart to the verge of the unknown.

It will be like the faithful star overhead
when dark night is over your road.

My song will sit in the pupils of your eyes,
and will carry your sight into the heart of things;

And when my voice is silenced in death,
my song will speak in your living heart.

Hide and Seek

by Rabindranath Tagore

If I play a mischievous trick and blossom as a flower
in the Chanpa tree
and early in the morning roll over the tender leaves
of the branch,
you would then- oh mother - loose out to me
as it is doubtful that you would be able to recognise me.
You will be shouting “Khoka, where are you?”
I will just keep quiet and smile.

When you will be busy doing your chores,
I will keep a watch over it all with my eyes open.
After taking bath - with your hair unkempt -
you will pass the Chanpa tree as you go to the
puja room from where you will be getting smell
of the flowers coming from a distance.
At the time, you will not know that the smell
that was coming was from your Khoka’s body.

In the afternoon after others have finished their meal,
you will sit down with the Mahabharata in your hand
and the shadow of the tree coming through the window
will fall on your back and on your lap.
On my part, I will be swinging my tiny shadow
over the pages of your book.
Even then, you won’t have any idea that it is the
shadow of your Khoka that is floating across you eyes.

In the evening after lighting the lamp
you will proceed to the cow-shed
and at that time, mother - acting like a flower -
I will shed myself and drop to the ground.
Again I will become your Khoka and will come to you
and demand, “Please tell me a story.”
You will ask, “You naughty boy, where have you been?”
I will simply say, “That I won’t tell you.”

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