Gitanjali Poem 6 Summary and Analysis

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Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it droop and drop into the dust.
It may not find a place in thy garland, but honour it with a touch of pain from thy hand and pluck it. I fear lest the day end before I am aware, and the time of offering go by.
Though its colour be not deep and its smell be faint, use this flower in thy service and pluck it while there is time.

Pluck this little flower and take it, delay not! I fear lest it droop and drop into the dust.
Gitanjali Poem no. 6

Summary

      In this lyric, the poet makes an urgent plea to God, that He should take the poet and His love unto him, without any delay because the poet is filled with fear that his love may diminish or he may become old and withered and die, mingling with the dust. The poet prays that though he may not find a place on the very bosom of God by being in a garland, he shall at least be honoured that God has summoned him to his presence. The pain of death would be an honour if it comes from God's hand. The poet is worried that he may die or his love may lessen before he knew it and thus pass the time of loving and praying to God, without having prayed and offered his love to Him. He makes an earnest plea that he may not be worthy of being in God's presence, but nevertheless to summon him to His presence while there is still time in which the poet could serve God.

Critical Analysis

      This lyric is one of the more devotional in tune where the flower imagery is used to a very large extent. Here, Tagore expresses his boundless love and devotion for God. He offers himself to God, his love, his poetry, his self and prays God to take him into His presence. He compares himself to a blooming flower, which may be unworthy of colour nor smells strong and beautiful. But he prays let God pluck this flower before it is withered and fell to the ground and thus become unworthier. It may hurt to be plucked but to be plucked by God's hands would be an honour. The implication being that it would be an honour to bear the pain of death if he is to serve God. He prays to God to call him, pluck him quickly, before the time to serve God passes away, and while there is still time to love and serve him. The flower symbolism is beautiful and touching. The flower symbolises the beauty of human life yet its short transitoriness on other hand symbolises blooming of love and devotion on the poet. Such symbolism and imagery make for the beauty of Gitanjali.

Annotations

      This is the flower: the frail human body. Droop and drop: wither into old age and die. A touch of pain: the pain of death. I fear list.... offering go by: call me (the poet) to your service God, before I die forgetting to pray to you. Pluck it while there is time: take my love O'God while it is still blooming and before my love and my body withers.

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