Lover's Gifts XLII: Are You a Mere Picture
by Rabindranath Tagore
Are you a mere picture, and not as true as those stars, true as
this dust? They throb with the pulse of things, but you are
immensely aloof in your stillness, painted form.
The day was when you walked with me, your breath warm, your
limbs singing of life. My world found its speech in your voice, and
touched my heart with your face. You suddenly stopped in your walk,
in the shadow-side of the Forever, and I went on alone.
Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it
runs; it beckons me on, I follow the unseen; but you stand there,
where you stopped behind that dust and those stars; and you are a
No, it cannot be. Had the life-flood utterly stopped in you,
it would stop the river in its flow, and the foot-fall of dawn in
her cadence of colours. Had the glimmering dusk of your hair
vanished in the hopeless dark, the woodland shade of summer would
die with its dreams.
Can it be true that I forgot you? We haste on without heed,
forgetting the flowers on the roadside hedge. Yet they breathe
unaware into our forgetfulness, filling it with music. You have
moved from my world, to take seat at the root of my life, and
therefore is this forgetting-remembrance lost in its own depth.
You are no longer before my songs, but one with them. You came
to me with the first ray of dawn. I lost you with the last gold of
evening. Ever since I am always finding you through the dark. No,
you are no mere picture.