Gitanjali Poem no. 54 || Summary and Analysis

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I asked nothing from thee; I uttered not my name to thine ear. When thou took'st thy leave I stood silent. I was alone by the well where the shadow of the tree fell aslant, and the women had gone home with their brown earthen pitchers full to the brim. They called me and shouted, "Come with us, the morning is wearing on to noon." But I languidly lingered awhile lost in the midst of vague musings.

I heard not thy steps as thou camest. Thine eyes were sad when they fell on me; thy voice was tired as thou spokest low - "Ah, I am a thirsty traveller." I started up from my day-dreams and poured water from my jar on thy joined palms. The leaves rustled overhead; the cuckoo sang from the unseen dark, and perfume of babla flowers came from the bend of the road.

I stood speechless with shame when my name thou didst ask. Indeed, what had I done for thee to keep me in remembrance? But the memory that I could give water to thee to allay thy thirst will cling to my heart and enfold it in sweetness. The morning hour is late, the bird sings in weary notes, neem leaves rustle overhead and I sit and think and think.

I asked nothing from thee; I uttered not my name to thine ear. When thou took'st thy leave I stood silent. I was alone by the well where the shadow of the tree fell aslant, and the women had gone home with their brown earthen pitchers full to the brim. They called me and shouted, "Come with us, the morning is wearing on to noon." But I languidly lingered awhile lost in the midst of vague musings.
Gitanjali Poem no. 54

Summary

      The poet here celebrates the selfless devoted love for God. There are many who love God but He comes to them only who are true, pure and unselfish in their love for Him. Like other songs here too the poet had painted a scene where he was a woman lover and God came too her as her beloved. When He comes to him he stood speechless. When God took his leave, the poet stood silent. He was alone by the side of the well where the shadow of the tree fell sideways, while other women folk had gone home, filling their pitchers with water to the brim. The poet-woman lover was so lost in her beloved that she wasn't even aware of the delay.

      God came to the poet while the poet is unaware of His steps. With sad look, tired voice He said in a low tone that He was a thirsty traveller. The poet-woman lover came out of her day dreaming and poured water into the joined palms of God. When He drank the leaves rustled, the cuckoo sang and there was the smell of perfumed babla flowers.

      The divine visitor asked her name but the poet was speechless. The poet thought that the act of giving water to God isn't worthy of His remembrance, but for poet it would always cling to his heart with sweetness. The traveller had left and with Him wearied the songs of birds and the woman lover-poet was lost in thoughts. The act of love would leave permanent sweet memories behind in the mind of the poet.

Critical Analysis

      The lyric has an Indian atmosphere. The love for visitor, charity meekness and scenic beauty all smell the Indian touch. The self-sufficient, unselfish, pure love and devotions compelled God to come to His lover and when He came down the lover is lost in Him. The divine visitation changed the whole atmosphere. Cuckoo, babla flowers, leaves all celebrated His visit. Nature besides human was elevated by His presence.

"I stood speechless with shame when my name thou didn't ask. Indeed what had I done for thee to keep me in remembrance? But the memory that I could give water to thee to allay thy thirst will cling to my heart and enfold it in sweetness."

      The tone is again humanistic. The best way to please God is to serve your fellow beings. The poet imagines himself to be one of a group of women who go to the well in the morning to fetch water. Even after the other women have gone back, the poet stays there, lost in vague musings. A sad and thirsty traveller comes there and asks for water. The poet gives him water without asking anything. The poet was surprised when the traveller, disguised God, asked for the poet's name. He thinks he had done nothing for which he should be remembered. However, the memory of having given water to slake the thirst of this weary traveller will always remain clear to him as a sweet thought. Even after the traveller has gone away, the poet remains there, lost in thoughts.

Annotations

      Aslant: slopping. Languidly: lazily. Allay: soothe. Cling: stick. Enfold: surround.

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