The Child

Original Text: 
The Golden Treasury of Indo-Anglian Poetry 1828-1965, ed. Vinayak Krishna Gokak (New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1970): 57-58. PR 1174 G6 1970 Robarts Library
2The man who reads the sky cries:
3    "Friends, we have come!"
4They stop and look around.
5    On both sides of the road the corn is ripe to the horizon,
6    -- the glad golden answer of the earth to the morning light.
7The current of daily life moves slowly
8    between the village near the hill and the one by the river bank.
9The potter's wheel goes round, the woodcutter brings fuel to the market,
10    the cow-herd takes his cattle to the pasture,
11    and the woman with the pitcher on her head walks to the well.
12But where is the King's castle, the mine of gold,
13    the secret book of magic,
14    the sage who knows love's utter wisdom?
15"The stars cannot be wrong," assures the reader of the sky.
16"Their signal points to that spot."
17And reverently he walks to a wayside spring
18from which wells up a stream of water, a liquid light, like the morning melting into a chorus of tears and laughter
19Near it in a palm grove surrounded by a strange hush stands a leaf-thatched hut
20at whose portal sits the poet of the unknown shore, and sings:
21       "Mother, open the gate!"
22A ray of morning sun strikes aslant at the door.
23The assembled crowd feel in their blood the primaeval chant of creation:
24       "Mother, open the gate!"
25The gate opens.
26The mother is seated on a straw bed with the babe on her lap,
27    Like the dawn with the morning star.
28The sun's ray that was waiting at the door outside falls on the head of the child.
29The poet strikes his lute and sings out:
30    "Victory to Man, the new-born, the ever-living!"
31They kneel down, -- the king and the beggar, the saint and the sinner,
32    the wise and the fool, -- and cry:
33    "Victory to Man, the new-born, the ever-living!"
34The old man from the East murmurs to himself:
35        "I have seen!"

Notes

1] Originally written in English in a single night and later translated into Bengali as Sishutirtha (Iyengar, p. 119). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1931
Publication Notes: 
Rabindranath Tagore, The Child (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1931): 19-21 (stanzas IX-X).
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: