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  • Translation

Unfit Gifts by Rabindranath Tagore


At sunrise, I cast my nets into the sea,

dredging up the strangest and most beautiful objects from the depths ...

some radiant like smiles, some glittering like tears, others flushed like brides’ cheeks.

When I returned, staggering under their weight, my love was relaxing in her garden, idly tearing leaves from flowers.

Hesitant, I placed all I had produced at her feet, silently awaiting her verdict.

She glanced down disdainfully, then pouted: "What are these bizarre things? I have no use for them!"

I bowed my head, humiliated, and thought:

"Truly, I did not contend for them; I did not purchase them in the marketplace; they are unfit gifts for her!"

That night I flung them, one by one, into the street, like refuse.

The next morning travelers came, picked them up and carted them off to exotic countries.


loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



3 comentários


martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
13 de jun. de 2022

You have managed to translate this poem in a way where every single word matters; and though you call it a 'loose translation', it is in essence very tight, and creates a vast canvas in the smallest space possible. A beautiful piece of work.

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jm6783685
jm6783685
14 de jan. de 2022

This is very beautiful. The only difficulty I have is in working out what sort of an animal this is. Is it a prose poem? Or a metrical poem translated into prose? Are these paragraphs or lines? Sorry to be so pedantic but I like to know.

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Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch
14 de jan. de 2022

It is always an honor to be published by The Chained Muse and comments are always welcome and very much appreciated.

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