Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed

Obstinate are the trammels, but my heart aches when I try to break them.
Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed.
I am certain that priceless wealth is in thee, and that thou art my best friend,
but I have not the heart to sweep away the tinsel that fills my room
The shroud that covers me is of dust and death; I hate it, yet hug it in love.
My debts are large, my failures great, my sham secret and heavy;
Yet when I come to ask for my good, I quake in fear lest my prayer be granted.

– Rabindranath Tagore

The thumb rule to approach Tagore’s poems is to admire their simple beauty. But for all the simplicity of the language, this is also an extremely difficult poem, because the mental state it describes. A sort of shrinking away from hope and expectation. This poem is a fundamentally complex. Instead of expressing simple devotion, childish wonder or muttering high sounding platitudes, Gurudev gives us a portrait of a real state of mind.

This is one poem that haunts me, a poem whose very words have become almost a habit of thought. Part of why I like it is because of its abruptness. The lines are short, the rhythm is brisk point-counterpoint. Tagore doesn’t go on and on. He deals instead in a desperate precision that pierces straight to the heart. As a result, this becomes an intensely honest and heartfelt poem!

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One response to “Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it I feel ashamed

  1. Pingback: Sourav Roy

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