Pandora Long submitted this extract from GITANJALI by Rabindranath Tagore. With good wishes from her and the rest of the River Walk team for a year of action to restore our rivers to health.
On the slope of the desolate river among tall grasses I asked her, `Maiden, where do you go shading your lamp with your mantle? My house is all dark and lonesome – lend me your light!’ she raised her dark eyes for a moment and looked at my face through the dusk. `I have come to the river,’ she said, `to float my lamp on the stream when the daylight wanes in the west.’ I stood alone among tall grasses and watched the timid flame of her lamp uselessly drifting in the tide.
In the silence of gathering night I asked her, `Maiden, your lights are all lit – then where do you go with your lamp? My house is all dark and lonesome – lend me your light.’ She raised her dark eyes on my face and stood for a moment doubtful. `I have come,’ she said at last, `to dedicate my lamp to the sky.’ I stood and watched her light uselessly burning in the void.
In the moonless gloom of midnight I ask her, `Maiden, what is your quest, holding the lamp near your heart? My house is all dark and lonesome – lend me your light.’ She stopped for a minute and thought and gazed at my face in the dark. `I have brought my light,’ she said, `to join the carnival of lamps.’ I stood and watched her little lamp uselessly lost among lights.
A collection of prose translations made by Rabindranath Tagore from the original Bengali