This week on Thursdays with Tagore is a poem I've known by heart and have sung ever since I was a child. It was one of our daily prayer songs in school. I used to just recite the words those days, focusing more on coming to the end of the poem and opening my eyes, than savouring the words. Today though, when I read through the words, nostalgia strikes me alongside pleasure at understanding the simple and compassionate meaning of the poem.
This is my prayer to thee, my lord — strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might.
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.
And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.
What a beautiful message to teach everyone, especially children!
Thanks to Mel U at The Reading Life for sharing this link which has the English version of Tagore's Nobel Prize winning Gitanjali along with a wonderful introduction by William Butler Yeats. Do check it out!
From this week onwards, I will be posting a couple of end-of-year lists including my pick for Book of the Year (Fiction and Non-Fiction). Do look out for that!
Next Thursday, I will not be posting a new poem, but I'll be re-posting a couple of poems featured in Thursdays with Tagore and will be asking you to vote for your favourite Tagore poem among those. I know that is an awfully tough task, but I'd love to find out your pick among the several poems I've shared with you this year. I'm excited and I hope you'll enjoy voting :)