Rabindranath Tagore

Death Wedding

Maran milan

Why do you speak so softly, Death, Death, Creep upon me, watch me so stealthily? This is not how a lover should behave. When evening flowers droop upon their tired Stems, when cattle are brought in from the fields After a whole day-s grazing, you, Death, Death, approach me with such gentle steps, Settle yourself immovably by my side. I cannot understand the things you say. Alas, will this be how you will take me, Death, Death? Like a thief, laying heavy sleep On my eyes as you descend to my heart? Will you thus let your tread be a slow beat In my sleep-numbed blood, your jingling ankle-bells A drowsy rumble in my ear? Will you, Death, Death, wrap me, finally, in your cold Arms and carry me away while I dream? I do not know why you thus come and go. Tell me, is this the way you wed, Death, Death? Unceremonially, with no Weight of sacrament or blessing or prayer? Will you come with your massy tawny hair Unkempt, unbound into a bright coil-crown? Will no one bear your victory-flag before Or after, will no torches glow like red Eyes along the river, Death, Death? Will earth not quake in terror at your step? When fierce-eyed Siva came to take his bride, Remember all the pomp and trappings, Death, Death: the flapping tiger-skins he wore; His roaring bull; the serpents hissing round His hair; the bom-bom sound as he slapped his cheeks; The necklace of skulls swinging round his neck; The sudden raucous music as he blew His horn to announce his coming - was this not A better way of wedding, Death, Death? And as that deathly wedding-party-s din Grew nearer, Death, Death, tears of joy Filled Gauri-s eyes and the garments at her breast Quivered; her left eye fluttered and her heart Pounded; her body quailed with thrilled delight And her mind ran away with itself, Death, Death; Her mother wailed and smote her head at the thought Of receiving so wild a groom; and in his mind Her father agreed calamity had struck. Why must you always come like a thief, Death, Death, always silently, at night-s end, Leaving only tears? Come to me festively, Make the whole night ring with your triumph, blow Your victory-conch, dress me in blood-red robes, Grasp me by the hand and sweep me away! Pay no heed to what others may think, Death, Death, for I shall of my own free will Resort to you if you but take me gloriously. If I am immersed in work in my room When you arrive, Death, Death, then break My work, thrust my unreadiness aside. If I am sleeping, sinking all desires In the dreamy pleasure of my bed, or I lie With apathy gripping my heart and my eyes Flickering between sleep and waking, fill Your conch with your destructive breath and blow, Death, Death, and I shall run to you. I shall go to where your boat is moored, Death, Death, to the sea where the wind rolls Darkness towards me from infinity. I may see black clouds massing in the far North-east corner of the sky; fiery snakes Of lightning may rear up with their hoods raised, But I shall not flinch in unfounded fear - I shall pass silently, unswervingly Across that red storm-sea, Death, Death.