Rabindranath Tagore

The Gardener 8: When the lamp went out

When the lamp went out by my bed I woke up with the early birds. I sat at my open window with a fresh wreath on my loose hair. The young traveller came along the road in the rosy mist of the morning. A pearl chain was on his neck, and the sun's rays fell on his crown. He stopped before my door and asked me with an eager cry, "Where is she?" For very shame I could not say, "She is I, young traveller, she is I." It was dusk and the lamp was not lit. I was listlessly braiding my hair. The young traveller came on his chariot in the glow of the setting sun. His horses were foaming at the mouth, and there was dust on his garment. He alighted at my door and asked in a tired voice, "Where is she?" For very shame I could not say, "She is I, weary traveller, she is I." It is an April night. The lamp is burning in my room. The breeze of the south comes gently. The noisy parrot sleeps in its cage. My bodice is of the colour of the peacock's throat, and my mantle is green as young grass. I sit upon the floor at the window watching the deserted street. Through the dark night I keep humming, "She is I, despairing traveller, she is I."