for Rabindranath Tagore
on his birthday May 7th
in the centenary year of the award of the Nobel Prize, 1913
A hundred years after the boys at your school
marched and marched around in delighted circles
at a stroke of news from the gods – I sit in the cool
shade of a tea-stall, where in Gordon Square Gardens
a light summer crowd drifts and gossips and mingles
at a birthday event. A statue is garlanded.
But a hundred years or a year, Rabindranath:
your celebration on Earth is never ended.
The Nobel Prize – what is that? Your birthday today?
No more than a May leaf’s light. There is a river
that touches the Earth – the Earth does not know it yet –
but you discovered the source of the deepening play
of life and the mind. And of the heart’s endeavour
for truth, you knew. And we will never forget.