From the Archive: Rabindranath Tagore
"These lyrics . . . display in their thought a world I have dreamed of all my life long. . . . Lovers, while they await one another, shall find, in murmuring them, . . . a magic gulf wherein their own more bitter passion may bathe and renew its youth."
—W.B. Yeats, from the introduction to Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali
In the third issue of Poetry, Harriet Monroe presented Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore to an American audience for the first time. Ezra Pound pronounced this "an event in the history of English poetry." Already a towering figure in the East, he soon became popular with an American audience who enthusiastically read his poetry, novels, short stories, and essays. Today, Tagore is still widely read in India and Bangladesh where his songs resound in their national anthems. He is counted with Mahatma Gandhi as one of the leading Indian thinkers of the last century. It was Tagore, in fact, who began calling Gandhi "Mahatma," or "great soul."
The 14 love poems featured here first appeared in the June 1913 issue of Poetry.
("I found a few old letters...")
("We both live in the same village...")
("Sing the song of the moment...")
("O you mad, you superbly drunk!...")
("With a glance of your eyes...")
("I asked of Destiny...")
("Tell me if this is all true...")
("Amidst the rush and roar of life...")
("Lest I should know you...")
("Come as you are...")
("Leave off your works, bride...")
("My soul is alight...")
("Keep me fully glad...")
("Over the green and yellow...")