Winter 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 1 Translations |

To You, Rabindranath

From the Bengali You too had debts, daughters to give in marriage, grief; you too had fevers, and market prices     were just as rude to you. Hunger, love, critics' gross, imposed pretensions: you had them all, even some small disasters     in the General Accounting Office.1Yet the blue sky was of a proper blue         and the sun, moon, trees and soil wove an eternal blanket of dreams. The northwest sky set the directions;     there were clouds piled up on clouds,2and in the cloud-clusters of your words     there was no bitter smell of sweat or blood—from the heights to the depths, that refuge     free of fear surrounded you. Surrounding us are the century's final days: the trees around us are no more green enough; grass and flowers are lackluster, like the soot-     clogged wicks of kerosene lamps. On a moonless night, a hesitant moon     has risen into the sky without anyone's notice, leaving

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