(Poem #673) The Flower-School
When storm-clouds rumble in the sky and June showers come down, The moist east wind comes marching over the heath to blow its bagpipes amongst the bamboos. The crowds of flowers come out of a sudden, from nobody knows where, and dance upon the grass in wild glee. Mother, I really think the flowers go to school underground. They do their lessons with doors shut, and if they want to come out to play before it is time, their master makes them stand in a corner. When the rains come they have their holidays. Branches clash together in the forest, and the leaves rustle in the wild wind, the thunder-clouds clap their giant hands and the flower children rush out i dresses of pink and yellow and white. Do you know, mother, their home is in the sky, where the stars are. Haven't you seen how eager they are to get there? Don't you know why they are in such a hurry? Of course, I can guess to whom they raise their arms, they have their mother as I have my own.
(This poem is from the book 'The Crescent Moon', published in 1913) [Comments] This poem is from a book of children's poetry. I think we also had another poem called "Paperboats" from the same collection in the Indian CBSE syllabus. It is a fairly simple and charming piece. It also has that lyrical quality I find in most Tagore poems, and in most (old) poetry translated from Indian languages. The whole premise of the poem made me smile. I think it sounds just like the kind of poem a child would write, all his thoughts centred on school-life while still marvelling at beauty in a curious sort of way. I also like the way the poem progresses from the child "thinking" to him "knowing". <grin> This poem also reminds me of my own school days, particularly the "stand in a corner" part! - Suchitra [Bio] Rabindranath Tagore , the Bengali writer, was born in Calcutta and later traveled over the world. He grew up in a large house where there was much writing and artistic activity, and he wrote prolifically throughout his life, producing more than 3,000 songs as well as volumes of novels, short stories, plays, and poems. In later life he delivered lectures and painted many paintings. He wrote what are now the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh. Tagore (who perhaps should be referred to as "Rabindranath" as Bengalis do with other famous writers) became famous in the West when he traveled to England and met W. B. Yeats and others, and translated his works into English. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. He was knighted in 1915, but gave up his knighthood after the massacre of demonstrators in India in 1919. Although he did not agree with all the political activities and nationalistic principles of the movements for independence, he did participate in them along with Gandhi. After a short spell of fame in the West, and after he gave up his knighthood, Tagore's English writings lapsed into a sort of obscurity. However, of late, editors and translators have acknowledged that Tagore is very much a modernist writer in spite of the previous criticism that placed him in the sentimentalist or mystical Edwardian camp. [Links] Other poems from "The Crescent Moon" (with illustrations) can be found at http://www.eldritchpress.org/rt/cmoon.htm A few more pieces, some from Tagore's acclaimed "Gitanjali" & "The Gardener", at http://www.indolink.com/Poetry/tgorIndx.html