While laying on my couch today, I remembered the old days of my school when we used to bunk those English classes in fear of reading all those heavy toilsome poems and dramas. As I think of poetries today, I have only one name in my head, that of the greatest poet of all time – Rabindranath Tagore. You might have heard about him, contributing to the Indian Freedom Struggle, literature, Visha-Bharati University, and Bengal Renaissance. But do you know that he was only eight when he wrote his first poem and got it published? I often ruminate on the past era when these greatest poets, novelists, musicians, and artists proudly dedicated their work to none other but India. Those glories of our unsung heroes from literature, poetry, artistry, and freedom struggle always remain in our hearts. Today, this article intends to bring you that nostalgia of old times through the best poems written by Rabindranath Tagore.
Before directly heading to those glorious and beautiful Rabindranath Tagore poems in English, let us go back to his childhood.
Table of Contents
Poet’s Synopsis: Rabindranath Tagore.
He was born on 7th May in Calcutta and has contributed to numerous fields, including poetry, playwriting, composition, philosophy, social reform, and painting. Coming from the roots of Bengali Brahman, he was typically referred to as sobriquets like Gurudev and Kobiguru. His works articulated political and personal topics. Amongst his best works, Gitanjali, Gora, Ghare- Baire are acclaimed and award-winning. Interestingly, his first fresh poetry works in Gitanjali won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, which was also the first non-European achievement.
Taking its cues from 15th and 16th-century Vaishnava poets, Tagore’s poetry ranges from classical formalism to the comic, visionary, and ecstatic. He also linemates his works taking influence from the authors such as Vyasa, authors of Upanishads, Kabir, and Ramprasad Sen. His matured works embody his exposure to Bengali rural folk music. At the time of the freedom struggle, when Bengal fell into a socio-economics crisis and perennial destruction through poverty, he mourned the situation through his unrhymed 100-line poetry. Then came the series of his works that included- Punashcha (1932), Shes Saptak (1935), and Patraput (1936).
In the last five years of his life, his chronic illness emphasized his excellence in poetry. A day before his scheduled operation, A. K. Sen, brother of the first chief election commissioner, received dictation from Tagore, which was his last poem.
Without thinking more, let us finally move on to the Rabindranath Tagore poems in English. These belonged to the original works in Bengali but are translated into English.
Library to Rabindranath Tagore Poems in English.
This Rabindranath Tagore poem beautifully encourages one to not hold back even in the tough times when you spoke correctly and somebody is enraged at you for your words. The poem consoles you at times when you ever felt suspicion about your action of truth. This time is not to look down but raise yourself because you haven’t done anything erroneous.
2. At the Last Watch.
Rabindranath Tagore wrote this poem witnessing the dilemma of someone who stayed behind. Here, using I, he has emphasized the feelings of a person who was keenly waiting for just a goodbye with compassion and love. Despite a sense of hopelessness, the poem describes the cordial thoughts that his mind whispered to him, which ends with a ray of light. This Rabindranath Tagore poem establishes to differentiate between love and pity. In addition, it tells us about feelings behind the things that don’t stay by your side.
The poem Friend holds a special place in my heart. Look how well it displays the actual friend in deed even in the harshest and toughest situations of life. Through the dawning sun and story nights, he has expressed the difficulties of life. A friend who can run from every shore to just reach you must be held strong. Or we can take this in the way that without a friend, nothing feels good at the darkest glooming stages of life.
Rabindranath Tagore Poem- Gitanjali is a series of 103 poems that is basically about the end journey of man to God. Cooked with the flavours of love and sorrow, it is a tribute to the literary sources by him. It has also offerings to God for his protection of his child and creation of the Universe. It is one of the finest sources of old Indian modern poetry written by Rabindranath.
5. Give Me Strength.
Strength is more about resilience to empower oneself. It holds us in our difficult times and allows us to act on those dark nights. Dedicated to this strength, Rabindranath wrote this prayer to God in which he is only on the side of humanity. He communes with his soul taking the side of purity and love over any crisis.
6. Let Me Not Forget.
This Rabindranath Tagore poem emphasises personal loss and that one can never be fully happy. Life has always had numerous things to give you in different scenarios. Even while celebrations, waves of laughter, and happiest moments, one must remember the old times.
7. Lamp Of Love.
The Rabindranath poem series Gitanjali has this part of poem called Lamp of Love. Through this, he wants to convey the simple message that in all those gloomy nights, rather than just hoping for them to pass by, keep a little lamp of love with you.
Among the finest works of Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali is advice to readers. Man usually carries all the problems on his shoulder and eventually gets fed up. But it is unwise to do so when God is here. One must leave everything to God because it is he who can cure.
9. Innermost One.
10. Beggarly Heart.
To counter the overwhelming work of daily life, the speaker pleads for divine gifts such as mercy, like rainwater, to moisten his dry heart, grace, like a song, to lift his spirits, and truce and rest. Upon the spiritually impoverished, he asks God to come as a king, and pour out his riches on us, as if thunder or lightning were to jolt us awake from our sins. The poem contrasts the needs of man and the needs of God.
11. Clouds and Waves.
This poem written by Rabindranath Tagore enforces the innocence of the child who sees the sky and talks to the clouds. It further also resembles the purity of love between a child and mother through an amazing conversation. Engrossing in nature, it depicts that purity and love are in the air.
12. Free Love.
Love is the strongest weapon and it can literally correct everything in this world. Here, with this poem, the richest poet of India wants to convey a message on it by demarcating the possessive love of humans and the selfless love of God.
Azadi (Freedom) is the first thing we hear in the voices of Indians from the 1900s era. When the mother India was in despair with the glooming faces of her kids and there was bloodshed, fight against hunger and poverty, people were bent towards suffering and hard work, this Rabindranath Tagore poem brought courage and power to withstand the circumstances. Instead of being puppets, Indians are free now because of their long resistance and love for the country.
14. The Child.
Originally the poem was written in a single night by our beloved Rabindranath Tagore.“The Child” was originally written in English and later translated into Bengali as Sishutirtha. It represents the original cycle of mankind that is a spiritual journey which first starts with ignorance and later developed into the ultimate reality through self-realization. The feminine presence in the form of Kundalini celebrates this auspicious occasion of self-realization. It portrays the existence of man’s life through ignorance ending in the sprouts of realization, represented as a child. The entire poem is about remuneration and rebirth through the awakening of kundalini to unite one’s soul with the ultimatum. Read the poem and detailed analysis here.
The thoughts of love, the stories of friendship, the cruel times of death, talk of it, and the Bard of Bengal has dedicated his simplicity to it. The rich gravel of India will always hold artists like him near. An inspiration to our generation, this was our attempt to express the gratitude we hold for him by turning the sensational chapters of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems in English.
Ending on a pleasant note, make us aware of your thoughts about these poems, and if you are a poet, how often you write them and what is your inspiration behind them.
Frequently Asked Questions.
What is Rabindranath Tagore’s most famous poem?
Gitanjali is the most famous Rabindranath Tagore poem. The poet originally published it in 1910 in Bengali, and later in 1912, an English translation was made available. It won Tagore the prestigious Nobel Prize in 1913, making him the first non-European to win it.
Presenting the award, Harald Hjärne, Chairman of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy said,
“Even though Tagore may have borrowed one or another note from the orchestral symphonies of his native predecessors, yet he treads upon firmer ground in this age that draws the peoples of the earth closer together along paths of peace, and of strife too, to joint and collective responsibilities, and that spends its own energies in dispatching greetings and good wishes far over land and sea.”
Which was Tagore’s first poem?
One of the first poems of Rabindranath Tagore was Abhilas in the Tattvabodhini Patrika in Agrahayan 1281 (1874). At the time, Tagore was just 12 years old and the poem was published anonymously.
When did Rabindranath Tagore start writing poems?
Rabindranath Tagore wrote his first poem when he was eight years old. By the age of 16, he published his first poetry collection Bhānusiṃha and wrote his first story and drama.
Did Tagore write poems in English?
The Child is the only Rabindranath Tagore poem that was originally written in English. Tagore wrote the piece in July 1930, on his visit to the village of Oberammergau in Munich, Germany, to watch the traditional passion play. Later in 1931, it was first published by Allen and Unwin, London.
What are the main features of Tagore’s poems?
The poems of Rabindranath Tagore have descriptive phrases, romanticism, and use of dialogue and dramatic monologue without rhymings. However, they use classical Indian and Bengali folk music.
What is the main theme of Gitanjali?
The central theme of Gitanjali is devotion to god. It is a series of 103 poems by Rabindranath Tagore that follow various other emotional characteristics, which are said to be inspired by the poet’s life.
In which year did Tagore receive Nobel Prize for Gitanjali?
In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore was honoured with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature.
Why is Gitanjali important in Indian literature?
Gitanjali is important because it represents the beginning of Indian literature outside the country, with global acceptance and a Nobel Prize in 1913.
Who converted Gitanjali into English?
Gitanjali was translated by Rabindranath Tagore from Bengali to English in 1912. The poet dedicated it to William Butler Yeats as he wrote the introduction for the English version. Besides this, a sketch of Rabindranath drawn by Rothenstain was also in the book.
What is the moral of Gitanjali?
Through Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore expressed that suffering can never end, and one may only seek god’s help to get the strength to bear it.
You might have seen ads on SimplyKalaa, a way that supports most online publications economically. It is only when you learn that these ads perform poorly for many reasons, including the economy, you start looking for more ways to sustain consistency and informative stories without propaganda.
This is a call to seek your support through donations and an announcement of a subscription model starting next year. While the latter will allow us to grow in many ways, we have no plans to make our reads paid.