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The Wednesday Poetry Corner with Gopali Chakraborty Ghosh

Gopali does beautiful translations of some of my favourite classical Indian poets. She is a wonderful poet in her own right. In this week’s poetry corner, we light the stage with love!

Unending Love By Rabindranath Tagore ( ANANTA PREM) Translated by William Radice By Gopali Chakraborty Ghosh 

Rabindranath Thakur (anglicised as "Tagore")1915, the year he was knighted by George V. Tagore repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

Rabindranath Thakur
(anglicised as “Tagore”)1915, the year he was knighted by George V. Tagore repudiated his knighthood, in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it is age-old pain,
It is ancient tales of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount,
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes, that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –
And the songs of every poet, past and forever.

__________xx____________

This poem by Rabindranath Tagore appears first in the collection called Manasi and is titled Ananta Prem in the original Bengali. Tagore was enamoured with the idea of Love being eternal just as is the soul; the poem expounds on those ideas.

He himself seems spellbound in his own discovery of the eternality of love throughout the first stanza. There is delight in the voice of the “spellbound heart” that makes and remakes the garland of songs, which is an offering to the beloved.

And Love despite its pain, is the Pole Star- divine in its light, to both Tagore and Shakespeare. Sonnet 116’s “ It is the star to every wandering bark” is echoed in “Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time – You become an image of what is remembered forever.” In many of Tagore’s songs and poems the Pole star or Dhruva Tara remains always a symbol for steadfastness and the unchanging nature of Love.

Tagore’s language is richly steeped in the romantic fervour that imbues his entire Self-the third stanza is strewn with images of [sic. the] reincarnation of lovers “at the heart of time.” Amazingly, that vast, eternal love “merges into this one love of ours” for now and for all, for all time to come; it “bears it out even to the edge of doom”, Sonnet 116 again echoing for me.

This poem was said to be Audrey Hepburn’s favourite; for me it epitomizes what I have always believed in. That Love transcends everything in this world, in this life. The completion of one’s self in the other, as the two halves of a perfect whole, replete with the memories of times past and times to come are within each life of the cycle of reincarnation, sung in the “song of every poet, past and forever.”

Tagore’s Muse, we might say was Love itself. Finding form in the guises of Kadambari, Victoria O’Campo, and others, he writes in one of his essays, “Love is the perfection of consciousness. We do not love because we do not comprehend, or rather we do not comprehend because we do not love. For Love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us. It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation.”

Eternal love. Unending Love.

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamh.co.uk

16 comments on “The Wednesday Poetry Corner with Gopali Chakraborty Ghosh

  1. the secret keeper
    June 12, 2013

    “For Love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us. It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at the root of all creation.”

    Eternal love. Unending Love.”

    This is such a beautiful post of which I so believe. Love is the power and energy of the universe and the power of the heart and soul. Thank you for such a beautiful poem. All of what you wrote fills me with warmth and joy. Thank you Niamh for bringing this to us. It is so meaningful and inspiring. It fills my heart with love. Jk Jennifer

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      many thanks jennifer ~ as always, you are a generous, lovely soul!

      Like

  2. BUTTERFLIES OF TIME
    June 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on BUTTERFLIES OF TIME and commented:
    A beautiful poem and a lovely post- A pleasure to read this post from Gopali Chakraborty Ghosh. Thanks Niamh Clune.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      Many thanks Reena! Gopali writes beautifully and has such a sensitive appreciation of the poetry of her land.

      Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      Many thanks for the reblog, Reena!

      Like

  3. Shawn MacKENZIE
    June 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on MacKENZIE's Dragonsnest and commented:
    Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it……
    Tagore

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      It is a quote that has become cliched. In its original form, how beautiful it is!

      Like

      • Shawn MacKENZIE
        June 13, 2013

        So very true. Sometimes it takes going back to the source…..

        Like

  4. toad (chris jensen)
    June 12, 2013

    Thank for showing this very new poet an old-time poet to learn from as I have not yet understand what it is I’m writing. I just wing it…

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      You are most welcome, Chris! Thank you for stopping by to comment.

      Like

  5. thiskidreviewsbooks
    June 12, 2013

    What a great poem. 🙂

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 12, 2013

      Yes it is a classic! The Indian poets have given us a rich culture of poetry to dip into.

      Like

  6. Patricia Tilton
    June 12, 2013

    Beautiful post! Like Tagore. Learned a lot.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      June 13, 2013

      Yes Tagore encapsulates classical Indian poetry fro me. Many thanks Patricia.

      Like

      • Patricia Tilton
        June 13, 2013

        I learned a lot about Tagore in the 80s when I was adopting a son from India. Love his wisdom. The organization I worked with quoted him in all of their material. So I began reading.

        Like

  7. Ampat Koshy
    June 13, 2013

    Lovely post – wonderful analysis

    Like

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