Gitanjali Poem No. 23 - Summary and Analysis

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Art thou abroad on this stormy night on the journey of love, my friend? The sky groans like one in despair.

I have no sleep to-night. Ever and again I open my door and look out on the darkness, my friend!

I can see nothing before me. I wonder where lies thy path!

By what dim shore of the ink-black river, by what far edge of the frowning forest, through what mazy depth of gloom art thou threading thy course to come to me, my friend?

Rabindranath Tagore Gitanjali Poem no. 23 Summary and Analysis
Gitanjali Poem no. 23


      There is a continuation of thought from the earlier poem. Again the poet casts himself in the role of beloved waiting for the lover to come. He asks God, his friend, if on that stormy night, he was wandering on the streets, and coming toward His beloved, who is waiting for Him? The poet says that the sky was groaning with thunder, making sad and gloomy sounds. The poet is unable to sleep. He keeps opening his eyes and looking out of the door into the darkness, to see if God is coming, whom he calls his friend. But in the darkness the poet cannot see anything and he wonders where the path is that God is following in this dark night.

      The last line speaks of his knowledge that God is coming towards him but he doesn't know from which side of the river of eternity or which edge of the angry looking forest God is moving towards him. He questions through his confusing path: are you O' God, coming to bless me with your presence.

Critical Analysis

      In this poem, the poet expresses the same thought as in the previous poem only. Here the beloved who is waiting is confident that her lover will surely come to her. Though her hope is not very bright or intense, still she knows that her lover must be making his way towards her. As the woman knows that her lover is on the way, so the poet knows that God is coming towards his direction. Again, like in the previous lyrics, the atmosphere is dark and gloomy with the rain beating down, the thunder groaning, making sounds of despair. The poet cannot wait for His arrival and this picture is presented in very sensual terms of a woman who cannot sleep because she knows that her lover is coming and who keeps opening her eyes to look out of her lover. But the poet cannot immediately see God making His way towards him. But he expresses his belief that He is coming. And also paints a personified picture of Nature, through which God, the poet's best and most beloved friend is walking through in order to reach the poet.


      Abroad: out of doors. The sky groans: thunder in the sky which sounds like somebody making sad sounds. My friend: God. Of ink-black river: sea of eternity, which is dark as black ink. Frowning forest: forest is here personified, it is waving to and fro, because of the wind and the rain and looks like a man making an angry face. Mazy depth of gloom: the deep, dark and gloomy path which are confusing or puzzling like a maze. Threading: making a slow difficult way, through a crowded or a narrow passage.

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