Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Duke Altum's Poem of the Week #35

This week, a little prose poem from the great Indian poet, novelist, playwright and mystic Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore was the first non-Westerner ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (1913), and he was widely admired in both East and West for the great beauty and wisdom of his proilific writings. The Irish Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats was a champion of his work in the West, and wrote a famous introduction to his poetry collection called Gitanjali (which means "song offerings"), from whence this short selection comes. Gitanjali is full of these brief but potent spiritual musings, which seem to speak to the hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike... I was stunned at how many of these poems, which usually take the form of prayers to the Divine, seemed to overlap and complement Christian teaching -- for example, this piece reminded me very much, in spirit and in truth, of Jesus' parable of the rich young ruler -- seems to have a very similar message. And what honest Christian cannot relate to that last line???

Another piece of evidence, for me anyway, that all Truth comes from the same source... At any rate, these little poems are quite profound and easy to swallow in one bite. Take a taste for yourself, and see what you think!



Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them.
Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed.
I am certain that priceless wealth is in Thee, and that Thou art my best friend, but I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room.
The shroud that covers me is a shroud of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.
My debts are large, my failures great, my shame secret and heavy; yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear, lest my prayer be granted.

1 comment:

Mutt Ploughman said...

Interesting stuff here. This reveals some of the universal traits that seem to linger in all of us, or at least those who subscribe to the idea that we might be fallible creatures, susceptible to failure and judgment, but also able to be forgiven by something higher than us. It's pretty intriguing that some guy sitting all the way on the other side of the world from us in America, many years ago, would sit down and try to give words to some of the same feelings of inadequacy that plague us all no matter what age we live in, so that these writings can still be relevant in the information age, or whatever age we are living in today.....a wild selection by Duke, as usual. His far-reaching collection of POTWs grows....