Gitanjali Poem 7 Summary and Analysis

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My song has put off her adornments.
She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers.
My poet's vanity dies in shame before thy sight. O master poet, I have sat down at thy feet. Only let me make my life simple and straight, like a flute of reed for thee to fill with music.

My song has put off her adornments. She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornaments would mar our union; they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers.
Gitanjali Poem no. 7

Summary

      This lyric shows certain characteristics of Tagore's poems. His poems or his poetic art is now completely devoid of any kind of decorative or ornamental elements. His song is like a woman who feels no pride in dressing herself up or any ornate decorations. Tagore says that ornaments and decorations would spoil the union between the song and singer or the woman and the lover. The jingling and tinkling sounds of the ornaments would come between and drown the soft whispers of the love.

      Tagore goes on to say that the poet has a pride of his own but his pride dies, vanishes when he comes in the presence of God. And he says, to God, the master of all poets that he is sitting down at his feet to learn, he has given himself to the lord. And he prays God to make his life simple. Like a reed which is straight and simple and from which a flute is designed for God to play and make music.

Critical Analysis

      In this lyric Tagore is speaking about how his poetic style evolved by comparisons and imagery based on the erotic relationship of a woman and her lover. Tagore's style was earlier ornate but it has become simple and more austere as a woman who sheds her ornaments and decorations, leaving aside all her pride and vanity in her decorations because she knows that her elaborate dresses and ornaments would spoil her union with her lover. Such is Tagore's imagery. The implication here is that Tagore's poetry is like a woman, and his songs have discarded its ornate elements in order to come in the presence of God. This is again reminiscent of the concept that one has to give up everything, all worldly attachments in order to surrender oneself to God. He also uses the tutor-discipline image. He lays himself at God's feet, giving up all vanity and pride. Finally, Tagore again uses the flute symbol. Tagore prays to God that let his life be made straight and simple like a reed, which needs to be straight in order to make a flute out of it. And then he calls for divine inspiration in his plea for God to fill the flute with music.

"My song has put off her adornments. She has no pride of dress and decoration. Ornanments would mar our union, they would come between thee and me; their jingling would drown thy whispers."

      There is a plea of simplicity and honesty, as these two virtues win the love of the Almighty. Vanity and pride are like the obstacles in the way of soul's union with the divine. Tagore believes that his words of devotion, his song offerings can attain the love of the Immanent will and he can achieve the communion with Him but for all this his poetry must be sincere, simple and without ornamentation. These lines have an erotic imagery where the woman lover is waiting for her beloved and she thinks that jingling of these ornaments would stand in the way of union with her lover and the gentle and soft whispers of them would be drowned by the irritating sound of the ornament. The union, the ecstasy of communion with God will be marred by the blemishes, ornamentation of words and vanity of the poet like the perfect enjoyment of union of lovers, the peace and calm of their meeting would be disturbed by the harsh sound of her ornaments.

Annotation

      Put off her adornments: song without any ornate or dramatic instruments. Mar: to spoil. Jingling: the clinking and tinkling sounds that accompany songs as music. Drown : to render in audible. My poet's vanity: his pride in being a poet. I have sat down at thy feet : the poet sits at God's feet like a pupil sitting at his tutor's feet to learn.

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