14 Heartwarming Rabindranath Tagore Poems In English

The Indian land witnessed growth of numerous great artists. And remembering of it we covered 1 Rabindranath Tagore Poems In English.

Rabindranath Tagore poems in English

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.

Rabindranath Tagore 1925
Rabindranath Tagore, 1925; Photograph | State Archive, via Wikimedia Commons

Before directly heading to those glorious and beautiful Rabindranath Tagore poems in English, let us go back to his childhood.

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.

Rabindranath Tagore in Germany, 1931
Rabindranath Tagore in Germany, 1931; Photograph | Source: Bundesarchiv, Via Wikimedia Commons

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.

I’m lost in the middle of my birthday. I want my friends, their touch, with the earth’s last love. I will take life’s final offering, I will take the human’s last blessing. Today my sack is empty. I have given completely whatever I had to give. In return, if I receive anything—some love, some forgiveness—then I will take it with me when I step on the boat that crosses to the festival of the wordless end.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

1. Defamation.

Whey are those tears in your eyes, my child?
How horrid of them to be always scolding you for nothing!
You have stained your fingers and face with ink while writing-
is that why they call you dirty?
O, fie! Would they dare to call the full moon dirty because
it has smudged its face with ink?
For every little trifle they blame you, my child. They are
ready to find fault for nothing.
You tore your clothes while playing-is that why they call you
O, fie! What would they call an autumn morning that smiles
through its ragged clouds?
Take no heed of what they say to you, my child.
They make a long list of your misdeeds.
Everybody knows how you love sweet things-is that why they
call you greedy?
O, fie! What then would they call us who love you?

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

Pity, in place of love,
That pettiest of gifts,
Is but a sugar-coating over neglect.
Any passerby can make a gift of it
To a street beggar,
Only to forget the moment the first corner is turned.
I had not hoped for anything more that day.
You left during the last watch of night.
I had hoped you would say goodbye,
Just say ‘Adieu’ before going away,
What you had said another day,
What I shall never hear again.
In their place, just that one word,
Bound by the thin fabric of a little compassion
Would even that have been too much for you to bear?
When I first awoke from sleep
My heart fluttered with fear
Lest the time had been over.
I rushed out of bed.
The distant church clock chimed half past twelve
I sat waiting near the door of my room
Resting my head against it,
Facing the porch through which you would come out.
Even that tiniest of chances
Was snatched away by fate from hapless me;
I fell asleep
Shortly before you left.
Perhaps you cast a sidelong glance
At my reclining body
Like a broken boat left high and dry.
Perhaps you walked away with care
Lest you wake me up.
Awaking with a start I knew at once
That my vigil had been wasted
I realised, what was to go went away in a moment,
What was to stay behind stayed on
For all time.
Silence everywhere
Like that of a birds’ nest bereft of birds
On the bough of a songless tree.
With the lifeless light of the waning moon was now blended
The pallor of dawn
Spreading itself over the greyness of my empty life.
I walked towards your bedroom
For no reason.
Outside the door
Burnt a smoky lantern covered with soot,
The porch smelt of the smouldering wick.
Over the abandoned bed the flaps of the rolled-up mosquito-net
Fluttered a little in the breeze.
Seen in the sky outside through the window
Was the morning star,
Witness of all sleepless people
Bereft of hope.
Suddenly I found you had left behind by mistake
Your gold-mounted ivory walking stick.
If there were time, I thought,
You might come back from the station to look for it,
But not because
You had not seen me before going away.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

3. Friend.

Art thou abroad on this stormy night
on thy journey of love, my friend?
The sky groans like one in despair.
I have no sleep tonight.
Ever and again I open my door and look out on
the darkness, my friend!
I can see nothing before me.
I wonder where lies thy path!
By what dim shore of the ink-black river,
by what far edge of the frowning forest,
through what mazy depth of gloom art thou threading
thy course to come to me, my friend?

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

4. Gitanjali.

Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life.
This little flute of a reed thou hast carried over hills and dales, and hast breathed through it melodies eternally new.
At the immortal touch of thy hands my little heart loses its limits in joy and gives birth to utterance ineffable.
Thy infinite gifts come to me only on these very small hands of mine. Ages pass, and still thou pourest, and still there is room to fill.
When thou commandest me to sing it seems that my heart would break with pride; and I look to thy face, and tears come to my eyes.
All that is harsh and dissonant in my life melts into one sweet harmony – and my adoration spreads wings like a glad bird on its flight across the sea.
I know thou takest pleasure in my singing. I know that only as a singer I come before thy presence.
I touch by the edge of the far-spreading wing of my song thy feet which I could never aspire to reach.
Drunk with the joy of singing I forget myself and call thee friend who art my lord.
I know not how thou singest, my master! I ever listen in silent amazement.
The light of thy music illumines the world. The life breath of thy music runs from sky to sky. The holy stream of thy music breaks through all stony obstacles and rushes on.
My heart longs to join in thy song, but vainly struggles for a voice. I would speak, but speech breaks not into song, and I cry out baffled. Ah, thou hast made my heart captive in the endless meshes of thy music, my master!
Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.
I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.
I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.
And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.
I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.
Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it droop and drop into the dust.
I may not find a place in thy garland, but honour it with a touch of pain from thy hand and pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I am aware, and the time of offering go by.
Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, use this flower in thy service and pluck it while there is time.
My song has put off her adornments. She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers.
My poet’s vanity dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet. Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.
The child who is decked with prince’s robes and who has jewelled chains round his neck loses all pleasure in his play; his dress hampers him at every step.
In fear that it may be frayed, or stained with dust he keeps himself from the world, and is afraid even to move.
Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery, if it keeps one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth, if it rob one of the right of entrance to the great fair of common human life.
O Fool, try to carry thyself upon thy own shoulders! O beggar, to come beg at thy own door!
Leave all thy burdens on his hands who can bear all, and never look behind in regret.
Thy desire at once puts out the light from the lamp it touches with its breath. It is unholy – take not thy gifts through its unclean hands. Accept only what is offered by sacred love.
Here is thy footstool and there rest thy feet where live the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
When I try to bow to thee, my obeisance cannot reach down to the depth where thy feet rest among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
Pride can never approach to where thou walkest in the clothes of the humble among the poorest, and lowliest, and lost.
My heart can never find its way to where thou keepest company with the companionle

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

This is my prayer to thee, my lord—strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart. Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows. Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service. Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might. Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

If it is not my portion to meet thee in this life
then let me ever feel that I have missed thy sight
—let me not forget for a moment,
let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams
and in my wakeful hours.
As my days pass in the crowded market of this world
and my hands grow full with the daily profits,
let me ever feel that I have gained nothing
—let me not forget for a moment,
let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams
and in my wakeful hours.
When I sit by the roadside, tired and panting,
when I spread my bed low in the dust,
let me ever feel that the long journey is still before me
—let me not forget a moment,
let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams
and in my wakeful hours.
When my rooms have been decked out and the flutes sound
and the laughter there is loud,
let me ever feel that I have not invited thee to my house
—let me not forget for a moment,
let me carry the pangs of this sorrow in my dreams
and in my wakeful hours

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

Light, oh where is the light?
Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!
There is the lamp but never a flicker of a flame–is such thy fate, my heart?
Ah, death were better by far for thee!
Misery knocks at thy door,
and her message is that thy lord is wakeful,
and he calls thee to the love-tryst through the darkness of night.
The sky is overcast with clouds and the rain is ceaseless.
I know not what this is that stirs in me–I know not its meaning.
A moment’s flash of lightning drags down a deeper gloom on my sight,
and my heart gropes for the path to where the music of the night calls me.
Light, oh where is the light!
Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!
It thunders and the wind rushes screaming through the void.
The night is black as a black stone.
Let not the hours pass by in the dark.
Kindle the lamp of love with thy life.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

8. Fool.

O Fool, try to carry thyself upon thy own shoulders!
O beggar, to come beg at thy own door!
Leave all thy burdens on his hands who can bear all,
and never look behind in regret.
Thy desire at once puts out the light from the lamp it touches with its breath.
It is unholy—take not thy gifts through its unclean hands.
Accept only what is offered by sacred love.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

He it is, the innermost one,
who awakens my being with his deep hidden touches.
He it is who puts his enchantment upon these eyes
and joyfully plays on the chords of my heart
in varied cadence of pleasure and pain.
He it is who weaves the web of this maya
in evanescent hues of gold and silver, blue and green,
and lets peep out through the folds his feet,
at whose touch I forget myself.
Days come and ages pass,
and it is ever he who moves my heart in many a name,
in many a guise, in many a rapture of joy and of sorrow.

-Rabindranath Tagore

10. Beggarly Heart.

When the heart is hard and parched up,
come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is lost from life,
come with a burst of song.
When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from
beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.
When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner,
break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one,
thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

Mother, the folk who live up in the clouds call out to me-
“We play from the time we wake till the day ends.
We play with the golden dawn, we play with the silver moon.”
I ask, “But how am I to get up to you ?”
They answer, “Come to the edge of the earth, lift up your
hands to the sky, and you will be taken up into the clouds.”
“My mother is waiting for me at home, “I say, “How can I leave
her and come?”
Then they smile and float away.
But I know a nicer game than that, mother.
I shall be the cloud and you the moon.
I shall cover you with both my hands, and our house-top will
be the blue sky.
The folk who live in the waves call out to me-
“We sing from morning till night; on and on we travel and know
not where we pass.”
I ask, “But how am I to join you?”
They tell me, “Come to the edge of the shore and stand with
your eyes tight shut, and you will be carried out upon the waves.”
I say, “My mother always wants me at home in the everything-
how can I leave her and go?”
They smile, dance and pass by.
But I know a better game than that.
I will be the waves and you will be a strange shore.
I shall roll on and on and on, and break upon your lap with
And no one in the world will know where we both are.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

By all means they try to hold me secure who love me in this world.
But it is otherwise with thy love which is greater than theirs,
and thou keepest me free.
Lest I forget them they never venture to leave me alone.
But day passes by after day and thou art not seen.
If I call not thee in my prayers, if I keep not thee in my heart,
thy love for me still waits for my love.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.

13. Freedom.

Freedom from fear is the freedom
I claim for you my motherland!
Freedom from the burden of the ages, bending your head,
breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning
call of the future;
Freedom from the shackles of slumber wherewith
you fasten yourself in night’s stillness,
mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous paths;
freedom from the anarchy of destiny
whole sails are weakly yielded to the blind uncertain winds,
and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as death.
Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world,
where movements are started through brainless wires,
repeated through mindless habits,
where figures wait with patience and obedience for the
master of show,
to be stirred into a mimicry of life.

-Rabindranath Tagore

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.


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