My Writer’s Almanac

I slept and dreamed that life was joy.  I awoke and found life was service.  I acted and discovered service was joy.

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Hindu philosopher, poet, and artist, wrote more than a thousand poems, eight volumes of short stories, eight novels, and more than two dozen plays.  Among his audience were Ezra Pound and William Butler Yeats, who discovered Tagore’s talent in 1912.  A year later, he was the first non-westerner awarded the Nobel Prize.  He was knighted by George V in 1915, but later renounced his knighthood when the British massacred five hundred unarmed Indian men, women, and children at Amritsar in 1919.  His musical compositions include the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. 

Here is one of his shorter poems, “When Day Is Done:”

If the day is done, if birds sing no more, if the wind has flagged tired, then draw the veil of darkness thick upon me, even as thou hast wrapped the earth with the coverlet of sleep and tenderly closed the petals of the drooping lotus at dusk.  From the traveler, whose sack of provisions is empty before the voyage is ended, whose garment is torn and dust-laden, whose strength is exhausted, remove shame and poverty, and renew his life like a flower under the cover of thy kindly night.


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