In song 25, Rabindranath emphasizes the cyclical nature of existence. Death is seen as a natural state that brings about renewal. There is a remarkable ease in the speaker’s tone as he talks about death. It can be embraced as naturally as one going to sleep every night. After much ‘weariness,’ the thread of human life is ready to snap. Reposing faith in the divine, the speaker intends to give up all struggle. He sees the coming of death as natural as the coming of night, which is the handiwork of the divine. Death renews and rejuvenates, just like night sleep. The way a fresh day follows a restful night, a new life awaits after death.
In the night of weariness let me give myself up to sleep without struggle, resting my trust upon thee.
Let me not force my flagging spirit into a poor preparation for thy worship.
It is thou who drawest the veil of night upon the tired eyes of the day to renew its sight in a fresher gladness of awakening.
You can listen to my recitation here.
Death and life are often likened to dawn and night in poetry. The day then, is a prevalent metaphor for the course of human life. It’s amazing to discover parallels between poetic thoughts across cultures. Just like Tagore, William Wordsworth’s poetry is a deep meditation on human life and the divine. His muse is nature. One can see in his poetry that, as a child, he responds to nature with carefree abandon. During some rare moments, the same nature that nurtures him becomes overwhelming, almost mysterious, and mystical.
For the adult Wordsworth, nature is a refuge for contemplation. In metaphors of brooks, streams, mountains, waterfalls, daffodils, shepherds, children, and the songs of farm girls, he unearths the mysteries of life. While reading Tagore’s poem, I was reminded of a few lines from Wordsworth’s ‘Ode on Intimations of Immortality.’ In his lines, though, Wordsworth talks about a new life being a new wakefulness. It seems as if he’s beginning from where Tagore left off. When a new life dawns, we forget our real home.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home: