Gitanjali Poem 40 Summary and Analysis

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The rain has held back for days and days, my God, in my arid heart. The horizon is fiercely naked - not the thinnest cover of a soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a distant cool shower.
Send thy angry storm, dark with death, if it is thy wish, and with lashes of lightning startle the sky from end to end.
But call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still and keen and cruel, burning the heart with dire despair.
Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look of the mother on the day of the father's wrath.

The rain has held back for days and days, my God, in my arid heart. The horizon is fiercely naked - not the thinnest cover of a soft cloud, not the vaguest hint of a distant cool shower.
Gitanjali Poem no. 40

Summary

      The rain and dry desert imagery follows here in this lyric in the poet's prayer for divine inspiration. Tagore addresses God saying that there has been no rain for a long time on his heart which is as dry as a desert. The sky and the horizon is as dry, it is hot and bare because there has not been the slightest sign of clouds neither barest hint of rain.

      He prays to God that He send dark angry clouds and bring fierce storm and if God so wishes then let the sky be surprised into fear with great lashes of lightening. And he pleads God to call away this all prevalent silent and oppressive heat that is so cruel and fills the poet's heart with extreme hopelessness. And instead to send clouds of grace, and charm that bears a countenance resembling that of a sad, fearful mother when an angry father scolds her children.

Critical Appreciation

      The imagery of a desert, dry and parched being showered with blissful rain is continued in this poem. This imagery of the seasons has been used beautifully to convey the poet's spiritual dryness and how God's grace and mercy gives it life saving rain. As the raining season symbolises the growth of new life after the summer heat has dried all the vegetation, so the poet's heart is dry, there is nothing growing in his heart implying that all his love and servitude for God and his religious feelings are drying up, only when God showers his mercy shall his feelings grow lushly again. On the other hand, it can be interpreted as the poet's inspiration, will and inclination for his art and God's bountiful grace showered upon him filling his heart with divine inspiration again.

      There is a comparison of two different images to bring out different aspects of God in this poem. Rain storm brings the startling and frightening thunder and lightening as well as the sweet socculent refreshing rain. This two aspects are brought as a wrathful father thundering ona child and a tearful mother who loves and comforts. The poem is there fore a beautiful example of Tagore's art.

"But call back, my lord, call back this pervading silent heat, still and keen and cruel, burning the heart with dire despair. Let the cloud of grace bend low from above like the tearful look of mother on the day of the father's wrath."

      The poet feels as if his God is indifferent to his true devotee, and is neglecting him. This neglect and indifference of the divine is most painful to the poet. If He, is angry with him He should come with an angry storm and lashes of lightning and fill his sterile heart with spiritual, love. The poet needs the help of God to driye away his carnal thoughts: He can whip him, but he can't bear His indifference. He should remove the all pervasive heat and dryness, the symbols of His indifference.

Annotation

      Arid heart: as dry as a desert. Horizon is fiercely naked: the sky is bare, there are no signs of clouds. Vaguest: slightest Lashes: strong blows. Startle: surprise with fear pervading: all pervasive. Dire: extreme. Wrath: fierce anger.

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