The Fugitive
Rabindranath Tagore
Verse
2:21 h
Level 9
Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath—poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer and painter. He reshaped Bengali literature and music as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Fugitive and other poems was published in 1916. Tagore's poetic style, which proceeds from a lineage established by 15th- and 16th-century Vaishnava poets, ranges from classical formalism to the comic, visionary, and ecstatic. He was influenced by the atavistic mysticism of Vyasa and other rishi-authors of the Upanishads, the Bhakti-Sufi mystic Kabir, and Ramprasad Sen.

The Fugitive

by
Rabindranath Tagore


I

1

Darkly you sweep on, Eternal Fugitive, round whose bodiless rush stagnantspace frets into eddying bubbles of light.

Is your heart lost to the Lover calling you across his immeasurableloneliness?

Is the aching urgency of your haste the sole reason why your tangledtresses break into stormy riot and pearls of fire roll along your path asfrom a broken necklace?

Your fleeting steps kiss the dust of this world into sweetness, sweepingaside all waste; the storm centred with your dancing limbs shakes thesacred shower of death over life and freshens her growth.

Should you in sudden weariness stop for a moment, the world would rumbleinto a heap, an encumbrance, barring its own progress, and even the leastspeck of dust would pierce the sky throughout its infinity with anunbearable pressure.

My thoughts are quickened by this rhythm of unseen feet round which theanklets of light are shaken.

They echo in the pulse of my heart, and through my blood surges the psalmof the ancient sea.

I hear the thundering flood tumbling my life from world to world and formto form, scattering my being in an endless spray of gifts, in sorrowingsand songs.

The tide runs high, the wind blows, the boat dances like thine own desire,my heart!

Leave the hoard on the shore and sail over the unfathomed dark towardslimitless light.

2

We came hither together, friend, and now at the cross-roads I stop to bidyou farewell.

Your path is wide and straight before you, but my call comes up by waysfrom the unknown.

I shall follow wind and cloud; I shall follow the stars to where day breaksbehind the hills; I shall follow lovers who, as they walk, twine their daysinto a wreath on a single thread of song, “I love.”