Cover image for Rabindranath Tagore : final poems
Rabindranath Tagore : final poems
Tagore, Rabindranath, 1861-1941.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : George Braziller, [2001]

Physical Description:
xlv, 71 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PK1722.A2 B37 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A selection from the four volumes of poetry this Nobel Prize winner wrote as he faced the approach of his death.

Author Notes

Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 in Calcutta, India. He attended University College, at London for one year before being called back to India by his father in 1880. During the first 51 years of his life, he achieved some success in the Calcutta area of India with his many stories, songs, and plays. His short stories were published monthly in a friend's magazine and he played the lead role in a few of the public performances of his plays.

While returning to England in 1912, he began translating his latest selections of poems, Gitanjali, into English. It was published in September 1912 in a limited edition by the India Society in London. In 1913, he received the Nobel Prize for literature. He was the first non-westerner to receive the honor. In 1915, he was knighted by King George V, but Tagore renounced his knighthood in 1919 following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops.

He primarily worked in Bengali, but after his success with Gitanjali, he translated many of his other works into English. He wrote over one thousand poems; eight volumes of short stories; almost two dozen plays and play-lets; eight novels; and many books and essays on philosophy, religion, education and social topics. He also composed more than two thousand songs, both the music and lyrics. Two of them became the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. He died on August 7, 1941 at the age of 80.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The great Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Tagore (1861-1941) was a versatile and unceasingly creative man who wrote in every literary form, composed songs, painted, and achieved renown as an educational reformer. In his introduction to the first English translation of selections from Tagore's last four books, Saranindranath Tagore, the poet's great-grandson and translator, celebrates the poet's life and, along with cotranslator Barker, discusses the difficulties involved in translating Tagore's brilliantly nuanced Bengali into English. But such concerns fall away in the presence of these exquisite poems. Written while Tagore was in extreme pain and moving slowly but inexorably toward death, they are compact, elegant, contemplative, and riveting lyrics that pierce the quiet realm of planets and stars, then dive back to the flowery, noisome Earth, where beauty and ugliness, life and death entwine. Tagore, poignant and wise, ponders love, fear, time, memory, and the porousness of the self in poems of wonder, sorrow, and solace. Hopefully, these precious final works will inspire renewed interest in Tagore's entire oeuvre. Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Rabindranath Tagore's poetry is notoriously difficult to transport intact from Bengali to English, even when the poet himself was doing the translating. Yet in a new selection of Tagore's Final Poems, written as the poet anticipated death (which came in 1941), Wendy Barker (Way of Whiteness) and Saranindranath Tagore, a great-nephew of Rabindranath and professor of philosophy at the National University of Singapore, have succeeded wonderfully. The collection is padded with the translators' long preface and introduction, but the 50-odd pages of poems are rife with hard clarity: "Sorrow's dark night over and over/ has come to my door./ Its only visible weapons / pain's deformed poses, fear's monstrous forms / play out their deceptions in darkness." (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Wendy BarkerSaranindranath TagoreSaranindranath Tagore
Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xix
From Sickbed
5, Under this vast universep. 5
7, Deep night-interiorp. 7
9, Ancient dark-swept nightp. 8
13, If the long painful nightp. 10
17, I dozed offp. 11
21, Waking in the morningp. 12
23, Recovering, welcomedp. 13
26, I have no faith in my worksp. 14
27, Open the doorp. 15
35, As after a wind stormp. 16
37, One day, I saw, in an ashen moment of duskp. 17
39, When I don't see you, pain weavesp. 18
From Recovery
3, Empty patient's roomp. 21
4, A bell rings in the distancep. 23
6, Distant, fragile, pale blue of skyp. 26
7, Cruel night sneaks in, breaksp. 27
8, Alone by sorrow's last windowp. 28
9, In the space of vast creationp. 29
14, Daily, in the morning, this faithful dogp. 30
22, Distant Himalayas' orange groves'p. 31
24, This lazy bed, languorous lifep. 32
25, In vast consciousnessp. 33
30, Dusk drops down slowly--bindings loosed one by onep. 34
31, From time to time I feel the moment for travel has comep. 35
From On My Birthday
5, As I enter my eightieth yearp. 39
7, In the afternoon, invited to the birthdayp. 41
8, Ripping the breast off my birthdayp. 42
11, Like clusters of foamp. 43
14, In the mountain's blue and the horizon's bluep. 44
21, Brutal war's blood-stained teethp. 45
24, Run-down house, deserted courtyardp. 47
26, From the vase one by onep. 49
27, This world's vast nestp. 50
28, This river-tended lifep. 51
From Last Poems
2, Death-eclipse, that demonp. 55
4, Sun-heat dronesp. 56
10, I'm lost in the middle of my birthdayp. 57
13, The first day's sunp. 58
14, Sorrow's dark night over and overp. 59
Notes on the Poemsp. 61