Here’s something a bit different.
For reasons quite unrelated to this post I stumbled upon a strange and slightly haunting artefact today. I refer to the picture above. It was given to me long, long ago, in a gesture, I believe, of sincere love. I should point out that we are talking about teen love here – the purest of love, but not always the best thought out. I failed to appreciate it properly, as such, at the time, and am suddenly harbouring feelings of guilt.
Not that there’s any shortage of things to feel guilty about in my past.
I’ve had to snip the bottom off it a bit for publication, as it gets a bit personal, lower down (no pun intended). The poem is by a fellow named Rabindranath Tagore,who sounds like a character from a Kurt Vonnegut novel but was, in fact, a Bengali poet and painter who won the Nobel prise for literature in 1913. So what I uncovered today turns out to be part of a very long story, I suppose.
The poem itself is here.
Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depths of truth;
Where tireless striving
stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward
by thee into ever widening
thought and action-
into that heaven of freedom,
let my country awake.
It’s difficult to know what possible association the poem has to the drawing and the (very brief) relationship that gave rise to it. It was a fairly cosmic period of my life. A lot of strange things happened.
I don’t know if the drawing actually means anything to anyone anywhere. I’d certainly be interested to hear if it did.
But I bring it into the light again as a way of saying, to somebody, both thank you and sorry. I’m sure that, in some language, there’s a word that means both.