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The Flower-School -- Rabindranath Tagore

(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.
-- Rabindranath Tagore
(This poem is from the book 'The Crescent Moon', published in 1913)


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

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

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


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

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.


Other poems from "The Crescent Moon" (with illustrations) can be found at
A few more pieces, some from Tagore's acclaimed "Gitanjali" & "The
Gardener", at

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