‘This love between you and me is simple as a song.
No mystery beyond the present; no striving
for the impossible; no shadow behind the charm;
no groping in the depths of the dark.’
My clearly disintegrating copy of Rabindranath Tagore’s love poems was first published in 1919 and dedicated to WB Yeats. Translated from his native Bengali into english. I brought it two decades ago in India when the southern city of Chennai was still called Madras. As the back cover states;
‘ mango blossoms, the monsoon laden dark clouds and the imprint of Tagore’s genius can be felt in each one of them.’
Tied together with a fragment of sari fabric It is a book I have cherished. For long periods it lies neglected somewhere in the intricate disorder of my possessions yet it is never discarded. A rainy day dawns when I come across it like a shinning jewel, open its now yellowing pages and read.
No one can live without love. Even should we find ourselves alone, these exquisite words exist, echo down through time to pierce my heart and bring tears to my eyes, not in sadness but in an ecstasy of love for their beauty.. ‘No mystery beyond the present; no striving for the impossible..’
I bundle it together with the poems of a long dead chinese poet of the Tang period. Strange yet linked companions both to me and I like to think to one another. Wang Wei drew his inspirations from the landscape around him and his solitude in the Southern Hills where he was banished due to political intrigue. There is a sense of timelessness, of the infinity of space for me as he writes of his lifes journey and one realizes he wrote these poems as an old man, now resigned in some measure to the passing of his years. It would be a good thing to do this as gracefully as he and do so with the same calm heart. These are not love poems it is my love for this old man that makes me cherish this book.
‘ If you say that the spring wind
has no understanding
Why should it come blowing me
these falling flowers?’