Gitanjali Poem No. 27 - Summary and Analysis

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Light, oh where is the light? Kindle it with the burning fire of desire!

There is the lamp but never a flicker of a flame, - is such thy fate, my heart! Ah, death were better by far for thee!

Misery knocks at thy door, and her message is that thy lord is wakeful, and he calls thee to thy love-tryst through the darkness of night.
The sky is overcast with clouds and the rain is ceaseless. I know not what this is that stirs in me, - I know not its meaning.

A moment's flash of lightning drags down a deeper gloom on my sight, and my heart gropes for the path to where the music of the night calls me.

Light, oh where is the light! Kindle it with the burning fire of desire! It thunders and the wind rushes screaming through the void. The night is black as a black stone. Let not the hours pass by in the dark. Kindle the lamp of love with thy life.

Light, oh where is the light? Kindle it with the burning fire of desire! There is the lamp but never a flicker of a flame, - is such thy fate, my heart! Ah, death were better by far for thee!
Gitanjali Poem no. 27


      The anxiety and worry from the earlier poem is carried on here. The poet is in darkness and appeals for light of God. Tagore question, where light is? Then he says that a light can be lighted by desire which is intense like burning fire. Tagore says that the lamp is there but there is never the slightest light or flicker in that lamp. Then he wails and cries if such would be his fate, that he would never be lighted by God's darshan. From such a fate, death would be a far better option. Then when misery comes, there is a noise, a knock at his door, informing that God knows all and calls out to the poet to come and meet him at the appointed hour and place like a planned lover's meeting. The sky is dark with clouds and it is raining ceaselessly. There is a strange feeling stirring, awakening in the breast of the poet but he doesn't know what it is.

      Lightening flashes for a moment but after it dies away, there seems to be a greater darkness prevailing upon the poet's eyes. He can see and therefore he feels his way in the dark towards the place where the music of the night is playing and calling him. Again, the poet calls and looks for light. Again he, wishes to kindle it with the light of desire. There is thunder and wind rushing and screaming through the empty spaces. The night is thick and dark as a black stone. Then he prays God that he should not allow him to waste away his years in idleness and in the darkness and he should light the lamp with his own life that is only after death that he will see God.

Critical Analysis

      Tagore again takes on the persona of the beloved in this poem waiting for God the lover. The beloved is very disturbed and lost in the intense darkness and he pleads to God to light his path. The night is dark with the rain beating down insistently. In such a night the poet hears God's call and he feels a strange feeling inside him. Tagore makes the representation of this call in two ways, "misery knock at thy door" throws light on how man is drawn towards God and prayer mostly at those times when pain and misery afflict him then this picture is made beautiful by the presentation of God's bountaneous nature, made through the beloved-lover image. God is awake and sees everything, God had sent 'misery' to remind man, that He was waiting at the appointed place for a union between them.

      The picture of a momentary enlightening darkening everything more, so much so that the poet has to feel his way with his hands is beautiful picture of man groping, blindly searching for God. He knows God is there, he can hear God's music calling him and fervently wishes for God to light his path. But it is dark and he wishes that his own intense desire for seeing God would light the path towards God, or else to take his life and light the lamp with his life, thereby imploring God for death. Tagore thus emphasises his longing of death.


      Kindle it: light it. Light: light of love, divine light. Fire of desire: strong worldly attachments. Love tryst: a secret assignment between lovers. Heart gropes: searching in the dark. Void: vacuum, emptiness. Misery knocks at thy door : when man is troubled, afflicted by pain then only he remembers God.

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