Spring 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 2 Cultures of Creativity: The Centennial Celebration of the Nobel PrizesApril 1, 2001 |

Tagore (Nobel, 1913)

From the sanskrit only jingles if the west would tell it straight, but this is a Bengali poet, 2000 songs to his poem, and in the west nothing sacred;   Shankar is not here; we are missing the dogwhistle in the permanence of the Ganges; my friend, Supreo Bonnerjee, a Brahman of the first order, expert on Calcutta, and loving the African in us, invites me to the family pot in his kitchen; then off to buy four saris for the four women in my life, in the charge of his wife, her royal dot of henna echoing the Kama Sutra of daily bread in daily worship of dynasty, her husband's heart older than the synagogue and breaking at his own funeral pyre, older than Psalm Twenty-three in memorial to the ancients; weaponry in every culture notched by the Nobel is our idiom of forgiveness.   Tiger, alive in the delta, attacking from behind and cunning beyond mangrove, ascends to the great chain of being, and becomes Tagore or is it Yeats, locating his own

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Michael S. Harper was a poet, scholar, and teacher. His many books of poetry earned him multiple awards including the National Institute of Arts and Letters Creative Writing Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

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