Gitanjali Poem no. 86 || Summary and Analysis

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Death, thy servant, is at my door. He has crossed the unknown sea and brought thy call to my home.

The night is dark and my heart is fearful yet I will take up the lamp, open my gates and bow to him my welcome. It is thy messenger who stands at my door.

I will worship him with folded hands, and with tears. I will worship him placing at his feet the treasure of my heart.

He will go back with his errand done, leaving a dark shadow on my morning; and in my desolate home only my forlorn self will remain as my last offering to thee.

Death, thy servant, is at my door. He has crossed the unknown sea and brought thy call to my home.
Gitanjali Poem no. 86

Summary

      The poem is like a small ode to Death. The poet, here welcomes this errand of God. The poet's mood is different in approaching Death. Before this he was having a fear of this Death but here in this lyric he welcomes it with folded hands. He says that Death is the servant of God who brings an errand from the Supreme power so it should be welcomed whole-heartedly. It comes from the sea of eternity.

      In the darkness of night it comes to his doors and Tagore welcomes it with folded hands. Tagore says that he will offer to him the best that he has. He will offer the treasure of his heart. The Death will go back with his errand done leaving his soul aloof which he himself offer to the Creator of his life, the Almighty. It is the last tribute on earth to be paid to the whole.

Critical Analysis

      The Death whom Tagore calls as "thy servant" is not a thing of fear but a way to fulfilment. Tagore puts his love for God. For him dying is no more than yielding to the lover after a struggle. Once 'dead' the soul loses her identity and gets into sweet touch of the allness of the universe.

      For Tagore, Death is an intimation of immortality. Unlike Donne and Hardy who looked at death with all gloomy and painful aspects, Tagore speaks of it as a mystic: "thy servant."

"The night is dark and my heart is fearfull - yet I will take up the lamp open my gates and bow to him my welcome. It is thy messenger who stands at my door."

      The inevitable death comes as an errand of God to the man. The poet suggests that man should accept this truth of life. The theme here is the way the poet will face the hour of death. It is natural that the arrival of death should arouse some fear in the mind of a human bein but the poet will convince himself that death is not to be feared but welcomed and given a proper reception. The Death, a message of God comes directly from the sea of eternity, so poet will welcome the errand of his life with folded hands. When it will come and knock at the door, he will take up the lantern in the dark and open the gate. He will bow to this messenger, though fearfully but with welcoming hands.

Annotations

      Call: message. Errand: message, work entrusted to a servant. Desolate: deserted, bleak. Forlorn: aloof, lonely.

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