Thought translation of আমি by Rabindranath Tagore, written on 29 May 1936 at Santiniketan
By the power of my concsiousness, emerald got its green and coral red.
The force of my vision illumined every corner
of the vast spread, that is the sky!
In my love for the rose, I uttered “Pretty” – and oh, how handsome it came to be…
Now, to you it might sound more of a conjecture than words of a poet!
However, I will refute you, for this truth is what transforms itself into my poetry.
This truth makes me proud of myself and my entire kind;
for it is this pride that conceives the canvas for the creator’s genius!
Yet, the dogmatist would deny my truth as imaginations of a poet’s mind…
No emerald or coral or skies or rose … neither ‘you’ nor ‘me’!
And amidst all this, the infinite creator of all the universe
reveals his power within the confines of man’s finite being.
That power of the infinite is what makes the “I”!
In the abyss of that “I” as darkness and light unite,
out springs beauty and intensity of raw emotions…
Every “nay” comes to become “aye” almost as if by magic…
as if to etch more magical lines with colours of joy and sorrow…
Oh, do not label it as speculation…
For my mind has risen – elated, standing ready
on the creative platform for the eternal universal “I”
all set with my colours and brush.
The learned predict how unbeknown to man,
the ancient moon, flaunting its ruthless sly smile,
silently creeps closer and closer towards the heart of the mortal world
like a harbinger of death.
Patiently it waits to cast its ultimate tug
at the core of the oceans and mountains!
Dying men, with their still eyes and a draining heart
would, with them, snatch away all the colour
and life from the beauty that is the earth!
And then, in the eternal book of creations, there will descend
a gaping hole in the page that was the mortal world;
messing up all regular calculations of days and nights;
ripping off the façade of unforgettable achievements of men!
With a flash, the whole of human history will be engulfed
by the dense black ink of the unending night! The tremendous powers of a stellar deconstruction will send
constant tremors through the length of the lightless, lifeless canvas of the sky.
Amidst all this, in a court devoid of music, the artist’s fingers
will dance on invisible strings of an instrument long destroyed!
That day, devoid of his poetry, the Absolute creator will sit alone
on his throne in the blank, dull skies
in a futile attempt to calculate the strength of
an existence devoid of all personality.
That day, nowhere in the farthest corners of the whole wide world of men
will there be a single sound that says –
“You are beautiful”
That day, will the Almighty sit through his long prayers all over again
and toil endlessly to create finite beings to validate his infinity?
Will he again chant incantations begging humans to speak all over again?
Will he again ask me to call out what is beautiful?
Will he again ask me to say that I love?
In case you are interested, here is a recorded recitation of the poem.